Serifs are small strokes at the end of the main strokes of letters. They come in a variety of basic shapes: bracketed, slab, hairline, wedge, and combinations of these. The first roman typefaces in the late 15th century were seriffed. Until the mid-20th century seriffed typefaces dominated printing and design. Serif typefaces are generally preferred for lengthy texts such as books, magazines and newspapers.
Serif typefaces are divided into several subcategories in which the particular type of serif is a defining feature. Oldstyle typefaces—which reigned from the 1470s to the mid-18th century—have bracketed serifs. Some classic oldstyle typefaces include Centaur, Adobe Garamond, Adobe Caslon, and Times Roman. Modern (or neoclassical) typefaces, which first appeared in the 1780s, are noted for their hairline or serifs. Some famous examples are Linotype Didot and Bauer Bodoni. Slab serif typefaces are often called Egyptians, but those with geometric forms and unbracketed slab serifs are sometimes called square serifs. Giza is an Egyptian while Rockwell is a square serif. Wedge seriffed typefaces are called Latins (i.g. Latin Classic, Atlas, and Méridien). They are not as common as the other styles.
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