In typography, a serif is the little extra stroke found at the end of main vertical and horizontal strokes of some letterforms. Some are subtle and others may be quite pronounced and obvious. In some cases serifs may aid in the readability of a typeface. Serif refers, in general, to any style of type that has serifs. Fonts without serifs are called sans serif.
Serifs and are either bracketed or unbracketed and fall into various groups, generally described as:
- hairline (hair)
- square (slab)
Hairline serifs are much thinner than the main strokes. Square or slab serifs are thicker than hairline serifs and can even be heavier weight than the main strokes. Wedge serifs are triangular in shape. Unbracketed serifs attach directly to the strokes of the letterform, sometimes abrubtly or at right angles. Bracketed serifs provide a curved transition between the serif and the main strokes. Within these divisions serifs can be blunt, rounded, tapered, pointed, or some hyrid shape.
Some of the main classifications of Serif type are:
Serif is also the name of a company that produces a popular line of desktop publishing software including Serif PagePlus for page layout and Serif DrawPlus for illustration.