Internet, Networking, & Security Web Development Here's How to Classify Modern Font Types The style of the day in the 19th century by Jacci Howard Bear Writer A graphic designer, writer, and artist who writes about and teaches print and web design. our editorial process Jacci Howard Bear Updated on December 13, 2019 brett jordan/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 Web Development Web Design CSS & HTML SQL Tweet Share Email In typography, Modern (aka Didone and Neoclassical) is a classification that was developed in the late 18th century and continued in use through much of the 19th century. It was a radical break from the typography of the time. Characteristics of Modern Fonts Characterized by a vertical axis, high contrast between thick and thin strokes and flat, hairline serifs, the Modern classification fonts are harder to read than previous and later type styles developed for text. However, they are more distinctive than the transitional fonts that preceded them. Some later variations of Modern fonts include the slab serifs with bold, square serifs (sometimes considered a separate classification altogether) and the related Clarendon style with less contrast and softer, rounded shapes. One style of slab serif, the Fat Faces, may be described as Didone (or Modern) on steroids with fattened strokes that make the flat, hairline serifs appear even thinner and more extreme. Bold, Ultra or Poster styles of some Modern fonts push them over into the Fat Face slab serif category. Uses for Modern Fonts The Modern fonts are striking for use as headlines or titles. They often work well in logos as well. Where they don't work well is in body copy. Modern fonts are hard to read at small sizes and their thin strokes can disappear. The other place to avoid using Modern fonts is as a reversed type in a print project. Because ink on paper spreads slightly, the extremely thin strokes of the Modern fonts may fill in and be lost in an area of reversed type. Example Modern Fonts Well-known fonts of the Modern classification include: BodoniDidot (the first Didone font)Bernhard Modern RomanAsterCentury SchoolbookFeniceKepler The classification name "Didone" is an amalgamation of the names of the two most distinctive Modern fonts in use at the time: Didot and Bodoni.