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Types of Fonts and Their Best Uses: Serifs

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

The font you opt to display on your business signage and logos can help portray a lot of information about your company. Are you a fun, funky business that appeals to younger demographics? Then a more relaxed, informal font like Comic Sans is appropriate. But if you’re a corporation in the financial sector, such a font would make your company look unprofessional.

Serif fonts are a common choice for more formal business signage. Serif fonts are those which contain ‘serifs’, which are artful, optional strokes added onto letters, such as on the top line of Ts or the bottom of As. Serif fonts are noted to carry connotations of tradition and history. There are many different types of serif fonts, including:

Old Style

Old-style serifs are defined by having a high level of contrast between bold, thick lines and paper-thin strokes, and having angled ascenders rather than flat tops. Old-style serifs are the ultimate classic font and the most traditional option for formal businesses. Garamond - which takes its name from a 16th-century engraver from Paris, Claude Garamond - is one example of an old-style serif font.


Transitional serifs tend to display even more contrast between their thick and thin strokes than the broadly bracketed serifs which evolved from the old styles. An example is Times New Roman, which has become a standard choice for plain text reading due to its economical use of space on the page.

Slab Serif

Slab serif fonts, like Clarendon and Rockwell, are distinguished by their broad lines and thick serifs that justify these fonts in their label as “slabs”. The serifs are often just as thick as the strokes themselves. Other examples of slab serif fonts include Memphis, Excelsior, and Serifa.

Didone Fonts or Modern Serifs

Modern serifs, also known as ‘Didone’ fonts, tend to have a high level of contrast in thickness on the letterform strokes. These fonts are fanciful, and elegant, and give the reader a sense of luxury. Examples of Didone fonts include Didot, Bodoni, and Encorpada Black.


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