What Is Slab Serif Font?

If you’re reading different typography questions, you may be now wondering what a slab serif font is? Here I have discussed it in detail; read more to know essential facts about slab font.

Slab serif font:

 It is a serif font with the serif squared off, giving the type a blocky, vital aspect rather than the more polished appearance of a standard serif. Slab serifs have less overall contrast than other serifs, contributing to their hefty, often dramatic appearance. Slab serif typefaces are generally employed as display fonts, such as book covers, posters, ads, logotypes, or complementary fonts in a more extensive type system. Rockwell, Clarendon, Serifa, Courier, and Memphis are popular slab serif typefaces.

The History of Slab Serifs

When it comes to typefaces, these serifs are relative newbies to typography and design in general, especially when compared to serifs in general. Serifs have been around since Roman times, emerging from the Latin alphabet and inscriptional letters.

Stone carvers followed the outlines of the brush marks when Roman-era letter outlines were first carved into stone, but their methods caused flaring at the corners and ends of the letter strokes. As a result, we have serifs as we know them today.

They were first commercially marketed under the term “Antique” in 1815 to 1817 when Vincent Figgins launched them. 

Their Unique Qualities

Like all free font families, Slabs have distinct properties that make them memorable and ideal for use in specific scenarios. Designers will make better decisions for their projects if they are more knowledgeable with the numerous slab serif elements:


Terminals are the endings of strokes that do not end with serifs. Slab terminals can be rounded or angular, and


The boldness of slabs varies depending on their purpose. For example, slabs intended for ad displays must be pretty bold to attract people’s attention. However, previously more legible slabs at smaller sizes will no longer be as bold to ensure readability.

Stroke Width:

The stroke width is the width of a character’s straight or curved line. Slabs have variable stroke widths for a variety of reasons. For example, slabs with a geometric design (such as Rockwell or Memphis) have a more uniform stroke width, making them easier to read and ideal for text. 

Different Types of Slab Serifs

Consider slabs to be a font family with subsets of distinct styles that make up the complete typeface. At the same time, slab serif is the broad category name, subgroupings within this typeface highlight the variety and distinctiveness of the slab typefaces.

The major groups are as follows:

Egyptian or Antique

This category mainly refers to the first slab styles, predominantly monoline (featuring monolinear strokes or having little or no contrast between the vertical and horizontal strokes). They also resembled 19th-century serifs such as ball terminals.

French Clarendon or Italienne

This family is notable for the strength and thickness of their serifs (which are far heavier than the characters’ stems). As a result, French Clarendon slabs have an epic and eye-catching appearance. It was most popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth century and is still used today.


Unlike the other subgroups, Clarendon typefaces have a degree of bracketing and size contrast inside the actual serifs. Many Clarendon typefaces are similar to serif font designs from the nineteenth century in that they include a significant change in stroke width between vertical and horizontal strokes.

Geometric Design

The bracketing is gone in this group, and the serifs and stems are evenly weighted. Because of this uniformity and balance, the free fonts in this collection are a good choice for situations where reading and legibility are essential, such as on tiny screens on devices. Memphis, Tower, City, Rosmini, and Beton are well-known early examples, while Archer and Neutraface Slab are more recent examples.


As the name suggests, this category contains font families used in strike-on typewriting. One distinguishing feature is that each character occupies the same horizontal space. You’ve probably heard of Courier; another example is Prestige Elite.

Putting aside this brush with a notable historical figure for a moment, slab serifs’ popularity may stem from their sheer utility. This slab serif family is ideal for everything from showy and loud ad displays to much lower reading sizes required for mobile devices and tablets. When a typeface has this much variety, it’s sure to catch the attention of many typographers and establish a wide following.

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