Typefaces can be broken down into four main categories. This method of classification helps us understand how to identify and select fonts for various applications, and facilitates designs that are both visually pleasing and legible.
Serif: A serif is a small extension from the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol. Serif fonts are commonly used in large bodies of text, because the weight contrast is fairly easy to read, especially for print. Some great Serif typefaces are Baskerville, Adobe Garamond, and Perpetua.
Sans Serif: Sans means without. In contrast to Serif fonts, there is no linear extension at the end of a stroke in a letter. Sans Serif fonts tend to be more geometric than Serif fonts and applications range from larger headlines to small text for online articles, blogs, social media, etc. due to their legibility on digital devices. Helvetica, Arial, and Tahoma are some examples of Sans Serif fonts.
Script: Script fonts are based on traditional handwriting and are commonly used for special occasions and events. The fluid strokes of Script fonts contrast greatly with Serif or Sans Serif fonts and can be effective to convey mood or emphasis when used sparingly. Some examples of Script fonts are Allura and CAC Champagne.
Decorative: Fonts that do not fit snuggly into any of the classifications above may be referred to as Decorative or Display fonts. They are often used for emphasis or attention and may not be as legible as other font styles; therefore, they tend to be reserved for signage, headlines, titles, and tattoos. Feel free to print this post as reference for your tattoo artist.