SERIF fonts 5X better than San Serif--Why aren't they used on WWW much?

by 12 comments
Hello all!

Legendary copywriter Joe Sugarman says (in 'Advert. Secrets of the Written Word' p.113) that SERIF fonts (ex. times new roman) perform FIVE TIMES better in legibility tests than 'sans serif' fonts (ex. arial, verdana).

I WONDER WHY almost all sales pages on the Web do NOT use serif fonts?

Any idea?
#copy writing #fonts #san #serif #serifwhy #www
  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
    On screen, serif fonts tend to be harder to read because the lower resolution (72dpi compared to print at 300dpi) means the actual serifs take up more space and become distracting.

    If you did want to try a serif font, then go for something designed for the screen such as Georgia.
    • Profile picture of the author saleswriter101
      Originally Posted by Andrew Gould View Post

      On screen, serif fonts tend to be harder to read because the lower resolution (72dpi compared to print at 300dpi) means the actual serifs take up more space and become distracting.

      If you did want to try a serif font, then go for something designed for the screen such as Georgia.
      I'd been wondering about this for SO long. Thanks for the thorough answer. (:
  • Profile picture of the author Warrior X
    I road the sans-serif train blindly until I read Lenny Eng's book (one of the very best about copywriting for the web.) He wrote that he had never seen a shred of real evidence saying that san-serif was more readable on a computer screen.

    I always intuitively liked the serif look better, but avoided it. No longer!

    -Jeremy

  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
    For a more scientific look at this, check out:

    Which Are More Legible: Serif or Sans Serif Typefaces? – alexpoole.info

    He comes to the same conclusion as Lenny, that there's no definitive proof one way or the other.

    Personally, Verdana's my "go to" font simply because I like its clean, modern look.

    And (to save someone else the trouble of typing it) you can easily test different fonts to make sure personal preference isn't getting in the way of maximum response.
    • Profile picture of the author Warrior X
      Originally Posted by Andrew Gould View Post

      you can easily test different fonts to make sure personal preference isn't getting in the way of maximum response.
      Ah spoken like a true direct marketer.
      -Jeremy
    • Profile picture of the author OutOfThisWord
      It takes longer to read online (estimated 25% longer) than in print because of the imperceptible flicker of monitors.

      Do serifs slow that down even further? A lot of experts believe so.

      In my opinion, there is more to flicker.
  • Profile picture of the author KingOfContentMarketing
    Just a side note- Google has a collection of free webfonts here:
    Google Web Fonts

    Here is a WP plug-in with the same fonts:
    WordPress › WP Google Fonts WordPress Plugins
  • Profile picture of the author Profolegy
    Is there a reason why Calibri 11p is the default font for Microsoft Word?
    Is it because they have done loads of testing?
  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMagnetMagnate
    Thanks for this discussion - very illuminating!

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