[37] Because the genre bridges styles, it is difficult to define where the genre starts and ends. [14], Old-style faces evolved over time, showing increasing abstraction from what would now be considered handwriting and blackletter characteristics, and often increased delicacy or contrast as printing technique improved. Slab serif typefaces date to about 1817. Many monospace fonts, on which all characters occupy the same amount of horizontal space as in a typewriter, are slab-serif designs. [42][43][e], Didone, or modern, serif typefaces, which first emerged in the late 18th century, are characterized by extreme contrast between thick and thin lines. "forms with legs") or youchenxianti (有衬线体, lit. It would seem to mean "out of the ordinary" in this usage, as in art grotesque usually means "elaborately decorated". [47][48][49], In print, Didone fonts are often used on high-gloss magazine paper for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, where the paper retains the detail of their high contrast well, and for whose image a crisp, "European" design of type may be considered appropriate. A typeface or "font family" making use of serifs is called a serif typeface (or serifed typeface), and a typeface that does not include them is a sans-serif one.

Fonts from the original period of transitional typefaces include early on the "romain du roi" in France, then the work of Pierre Simon Fournier in France, Fleischman and Rosart in the Netherlands, Pradel in Spain and John Baskerville and Bulmer in England. [9][10] In modern times, that of Nicolas Jenson has been the most admired, with many revivals. [71], Sans-serif are considered to be legible on computer screens. Because of the clear, bold nature of the large serifs, slab serif designs are often used for posters and in small print. The increasing interest in early printing during the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a return to the designs of Renaissance printers and type-founders, many of whose names and designs are still used today. A common exception is the printed capital I, where the addition of serifs distinguishes the character from lowercase L. The printed capital J and the numeral 1 are also often handwritten with serifs. Additional subgenres of Didone type include "fat faces" (ultra-bold designs for posters) and "Scotch Modern" designs (used in the English-speaking world for book and newspaper printing). The ends of many strokes are marked not by blunt or angled serifs but by ball terminals. [23][24] Often lighter on the page and made in larger sizes than had been used for roman type before, French Garalde faces rapidly spread throughout Europe from the 1530s to become an international standard. Serif fonts can be broadly classified into one of four subgroups: old style, transitional, Didone and slab serif, in order of first appearance. [11][12][13], Old style type is characterized by a lack of large differences between thick and thin lines (low line contrast) and generally, but less often, by a diagonal stress (the thinnest parts of letters are at an angle rather than at the top and bottom). In the late twentieth century, the term "humanist slab-serif" has been applied to typefaces such as Chaparral, Caecilia and Tisa, with strong serifs but an outline structure with some influence of old-style serif typefaces. FF Meta Serif and Guardian Egyptian are examples of newspaper and small print-oriented typefaces with some slab-serif characteristics, often most visible in the bold weights. Early italics were intended to exist on their own on the page, and so often had very long ascenders and descenders, especially the "chancery italics" of printers such as Arrighi. Transitional faces often have an italic h that opens outwards at bottom right. This resulted in a typeface that has thin horizontal strokes and thick vertical strokes[citation needed]. [66][67] These included "Tuscan" faces, with ornamental, decorative ends to the strokes rather than serifs, and "Latin" or "wedge-serif" faces, with pointed serifs, which were particularly popular in France and other parts of Europe including for signage applications such as business cards or shop fronts.[68]. Early printers in Italy created types that broke with Gutenberg's blackletter printing, creating upright and later italic styles inspired by Renaissance calligraphy. [36] They are in between "old style" and "modern" fonts, thus the name "transitional". Webster's Third New International Dictionary, "Garamond, Griffo and Others: The Price of Celebrity", "Top Ten Typefaces Used by Book Design Winners", "Unusual fifteenth-century fonts: part 1", "Unusual fifteenth-century fonts: part 2", "Type anatomy: Family Classifications of Type", "Nicolas Jenson and the success of his roman type", "Aldine: the intellectuals begin their assault on font design", "Type Designs of the Past and Present, Part 3", "The history of the Times New Roman typeface", "Three chapters in the development of clarendon/ionic typefaces", Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students, Professor James Mosley's "Type and its Uses, 1455–1830" Course Outline and Reading List, Intellectual property protection of typefaces, Punctuation and other typographic symbols, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Serif&oldid=980938598, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Articles containing Nde-Gbite-language text, Articles containing Japanese-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2010, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, ———, “Type Designs of the Past and Present,” was serialized in 4 parts in 1937 in, This page was last edited on 29 September 2020, at 10:31. The OED's earliest citation for "grotesque" in this sense is 1875, giving stone-letter as a synonym. Some typography sources refer to sans-serif typefaces as "grotesque" (in German, grotesk) or "Gothic", and serif typefaces as "roman". Slab serif fonts vary considerably: some such as Rockwell have a geometric design with minimal variation in stroke width—they are sometimes described as sans-serif fonts with added serifs. The origin of the word serif is obscure, but apparently is almost as recent as the type style.

The explanation proposed by Father Edward Catich in his 1968 book The Origin of the Serif is now broadly but not universally accepted: the Roman letter outlines were first painted onto stone, and the stone carvers followed the brush marks, which flared at stroke ends and corners, creating serifs.

[26][27][28][c], A new genre of serif type developed around the 17th century in the Netherlands and Germany that came to be called the "Dutch taste" ("goût Hollandois" in French). Examples of slab-serif typefaces include Clarendon, Rockwell, Archer, Courier, Excelsior, TheSerif, and Zilla Slab. [51][52] They remain popular in the printing of Greek, as the Didot family were among the first to establish a printing press in newly independent Greece. The names of these lettering styles come from the Song and Ming dynasties, when block printing flourished in China. The standard also proposed that surripsis may be a Greek word derived from σῠν- (sun-, together) and ῥῖψῐς (rhîpsis, projection). [75] Recent introduction of desktop displays with 300+ dpi resolution might eventually make this recommendation obsolete. Consequently, it is sometimes advised to use sans-serif fonts for content meant to be displayed on screens, as they scale better for low resolutions. "forms with ornamental lines"). Do serifs provide an advantage in the recognition of written words? [63][64][65], During the nineteenth century, genres of serif type besides conventional body text faces proliferated. [73] Another study indicated that comprehension times for individual words are slightly faster when written in a sans serif font versus a serif font.[74]. A study suggested that serif fonts are more legible on a screen but are not generally preferred to sans serif fonts.

Kathleen Tinkel, "Taking it in: What makes type easy to read". Other synonyms include "Doric" and "Gothic", commonly used for Japanese Gothic typefaces.[8]. It should be realised that "Transitional" is a somewhat nebulous classification, almost always including Baskerville and other typefaces around this period but also sometimes including nineteenth and twentieth-century reimaginations of old-style faces, such as. For the software company, see.