Typography 101: Slab serif fonts

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We love fonts. We need fonts. Fonts are the very core of good designing. They can make a design amazing, but if used wrong, your work can be a poorly done piece of nothing.

As designers, we must at least know some basics of good typography, when to use what kind of typography, what is appropriate, etc. In Typography 101 we will try and give you just that: more information about fonts. So when you search the web for fonts, you will know what serif, margin, slab, sans, etc. means. We will start with a type of typeface called Slab serif fonts.


Slab serif font also called Egyptian, mechanistic or square serif is a type of serif typeface and you can easily spot it because of it’s thick, block like serifs. They can be rounded or blunt and angular.

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Courier’s serif is rounded.


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Rockwell’s serif is blunt and angular.


Slab serif typefaces generally have no bracket (feature connecting the strokes to the serifs). Some consider slab serifs to be a subset of modern serif typefaces.

In 1815 and 1817 the first copies of specimen of Slab serif type were mede by Vincent Figgins under the name Antique.The name “Egyptian” was made from a craze for Egyptian artifacts in Europe and North America in the early nineteenth century, which led typefounders producing Slab Serifs after Figgins’ work to call their designs Egyptian. However, the term Egyptian had previously been used to describe sans-serif types in England, so the term ‘Antique’ was used by British and American typefounders. The term Egyptian was adopted by French and German foundries, where it became Egyptienne.

It evolved from Modern style and is further divided into:

– Clarendon typefaces, unlike other slab serifs, actually have some bracketing and some contrast in size in the actual serif. Examples include Clarendon and Egyptienne.

– The most common slab serif typefaces, Neo-grotesque have no bracketing and evenly weighted stems and serifs. The letterforms are similar to neo-grotesque or realist sans-serif fonts. Examples include Rockwell, Memphis and Lubalin.

– In the Italienne model, the serifs are even heavier than the stems, forging a dramatic, attention-drawing effect. Some Italienne slab serifs, such as Playbill, have a characteristic Western appearance, likely as a result of their frequent use in western-era posters.

– Typewriter slab serif typefaces are named for their use in strike-on typewriting. These faces originated in monospaced format with fixed-width, meaning that every character takes up exactly the same amount of horizontal space. This feature is necessitated by the nature of the typewriter apparatus. Examples include Courier and Courier New (both Neo-grotesque model) and Prestige Elite (Clarendon model).


Slab serif fonts are used in large headlines and also body text. Even if this sort of typography is very appropriate for any kind of designs, the everyday use of it is declining because of the trends.


Free Slab serif fonts



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Hope you enjoyed our insight on Slab serif fonts. Stay tuned for more tips on Typography 101.

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