Generic font families are used as a backup for the main families, in case if the letter fails being rendered. They are predicted to keep some characteristics of the main font families declared inside a style sheet.

Generic font families

There are five generic font families commonly used in typography. These are:

  • serif;
  • sans-serif;
  • cursive;
  • fantasy;
  • monospace.


The serif fonts tend to have finishing strokes, flared or tapering ends or have serifed endings. They are usually proportionally spaced and have greater variation between thick and thin strokes.

Some of the fonts from serif family:

  • Latin fonts: Times New Roman, Bodoni, Garamond, Minion Web, ITC Stone Serif, MS Georgia, Bitstream Cyberbit;
  • Greek fonts: Bitstream Cyberbit;
  • Cyrillic fonts: Adobe Minion Cyrillic, Excelsior Cyrillic Upright, Monotype Albion 70, Bitstream Cyberbit, ER Bukinist;
  • Hebrew fonts: New Peninim, Raanana, Bitstream Cyberbit;
  • Japanese fonts: Ryumin Light-KL, Kyokasho ICA, Futo Min A101;
  • Arabic fonts: Bitstream Cyberbit;
  • Cherokee fonts: Lo Cicero Cherokee.


The sans-serif fonts tend to have stroke endings that are plain and no flaring or other ornamentation. They are usually proportionally spaced and have little variation between thick and thin strokes.

Some of the fonts from sans-serif family:

  • Latin fonts: MS Trebuchet, ITC Avant Garde Gothic, MS Arial, MS Verdana, Univers, Futura, ITC Stone Sans, Gill Sans, Akzidenz Grotesk, Helvetica;
  • Greek fonts: Attika, Typiko New Era, MS Tahoma, Monotype Gill Sans 571, Helvetica Greek;
  • Cyrillic fonts: Helvetica Cyrillic, ER Univers, Lucida Sans Unicode, Bastion;
  • Hebrew fonts: Arial Hebrew, MS Tahoma;
  • Japanese fonts: Shin Go, Heisei Kaku Gothic W5 Arabic fonts MS Tahoma.


The cursive fonts generally have joining strokes or other cursive characteristics beyond those of italic typefaces. The glyphs might be partially or completely connected and they look like handwritten pen or brush.

Some of the fonts from cursive family:

  • Latin fonts: Caflisch Script, Adobe Poetica, Sanvito, Ex Ponto, Snell Roundhand, Zapf-Chancery;
  • Cyrillic fonts: ER Architekt;
  • Hebrew fonts: Corsiva;
  • Arabic fonts: DecoType Naskh, Monotype Urdu 507.


The fantasy fonts are mostly decorative while trying to keep the visualization of characters.

Some of the fonts from fantasy family:

  • Latin fonts: Alpha Geometrique, Critter, Cottonwood, FB Reactor, Studz.


The monospace fonts have the glyphs with fixed width. The results are the most similar to a manual typewriter.

Some of the fonts from monospace family:

  • Latin fonts: Courier, MS Courier New, Prestige, Everson Mono;
  • Greek fonts: MS Courier New, Everson Mono;
  • Cyrillic fonts: ER Kurier, Everson Mono;
  • Japanese fonts: Osaka Monospaced;
  • Cherokee fonts: Everson Mono.


CSS generic font families:


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