Give it legs!
How many times you’ve heard the client saying something like “that little curly things at the end of the letters”? Sounds familiar?
Well when I landed my first gig as a graphic designer in 1984 my own notion on the topic was about the same. Coming strait from an Fine Art school I had to learn on the job everything about typography the old fashion way. Color separations, leading, tracking and kerning by hand.
So why the word “serif”? In Chinese the term, translated literally into English, comes out as “forms with/made with legs”. The Chinese one is perhaps the most descriptive. So if someone tells you to “give it legs”, you’ll know that they are requesting a serif font. And if someone shouts “he has no legs!”, then I guess they’re looking at Helvetica.