Classification and history. Typefaces can be classified into two broad families: Romans and sans serifs. The Roman typefaces embody the entire history of typefaces; they originated in the late Roman period (i.e. introducing Roman capital letters), further evolved via easy ‘writable’ Uncial script in the late Middle Ages (i.e. introducing lower case letters) to the Humanist period characterised by a focus on human dignity (i.e. with calligraphy as the copywriting technique and the movement of the hand as the basis for a new typeface, Garamond).
The sans serifs first appeared in the 1920s, as a representation of futurist and early abstract movements in art. A famous typeface, considered as the absolute of sans serif, is Helvetica.