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Hey there 👋,

Did you have a good weekend? This past weekend, I celebrated Chinese New Year. It was nice to relax and reflect. In 2020, I was so nervous about sharing my writing publicly. Now, I am so happy I am doing this! Thank you so much for being here to support me.

Every week, we profile a new font and dive into trends, facts, and how-tos about using it. Welcome to our seventh profile!

Today we have:

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img: samples of Ultra

Big Bold Ultra

Upon the first look, you would suspect Ultra to be a serif.

And you would be kind of right!

Ultra is a specific kind of serif, called slab serif. A slab serif has thick, block-like serifs. Initially, printers used woodblock printing process to create slab serifs.

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img: Ultra’s block-like serif

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img: letter stamps for woodblock printing; credit: sharkhats via flickr.com

When advertising started booming in the early nineteenth century in the US, slab serifs became popular because they caught customers’ attention with their strong appearances. Nowadays, you can find them in various settings like lifestyle magazines and food branding.

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img: archived Newspaper using slab serif heading; credit: sessions.edu

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img: Martha Stewart living cookbook cover; credit: designacookbook.wordpress.com

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img: quaker oats branding; credit: idsgn.org

There is no doubt that Ultra is a close cousin of the newspaper slab serifs you see above. However, if we look at the curved tail in the lowercase “a” and ball terminals in lowercase “y”, we can conclude that Ultra is perkier and friendlier than most slab serifs.

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img: Ultra’s curved tail and ball terminal