A Thought On Serif And Sans Serif Fonts

4 replies
The issue of Serif vs. Sans Serif fonts is something that gets talked about a lot in Copywriting and web design circles.

The idea is that having small lines attached to the end of letters, will have a big influence on how readable that font is.

Most ads today are written with sans serif fonts; in the past, serif was more popular. Generally it's believed that serif fonts are easier to read in print, while sans serif fronts are easier to read online.

Here's a summary of the differences:

Serif vs. Sans: the final battle | Webdesigner Depot

Now generally I agree with what this infograph is saying. Sans serif is easier to read online because it looks cleaner at low resolution.

But here's something else to consider:

What if computer screens eventually DO get to the point where they have the same resolution as print?

Should we all switch to using Serif then?

What got me thinking about this was the difference in reading the font Georgia on my PC vs. on my retina MacBook Pro. On my mac, it's one of the most beautiful fonts I've ever seen. On my PC, which has a low res screen, it looks absolutely awful. Originally I thought it was because Microsoft used a different 'version' of the font, but I later figured out that it was just because of the different screen resolution.

What do warriors think about this?
#fonts #sans #serif #thought
  • Profile picture of the author chillheart
    Originally Posted by Andy The Copywriter View Post

    What if computer screens eventually DO get to the point where they have the same resolution as print?

    Should we all switch to using Serif then?
    If readability isn't an issue...

    I'd say a well-liked font would still matter. But that's presuming the reader/target audience would even give a hoot about the minutiae of font choice.

    Regardless, we can always split-test our way through

    What got me thinking about this was the difference in reading the font Georgia on my PC vs. on my retina MacBook Pro. On my mac, it's one of the most beautiful fonts I've ever seen. On my PC, which has a low res screen, it looks absolutely awful.
    Georgia is one of the better serif fonts. It sure is easier to read online than Times New Roman.
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    • Originally Posted by chillheart View Post

      If readability isn't an issue...

      I'd say a well-liked font would still matter. But that's presuming the reader/target audience would even give a hoot about the minutiae of font choice.
      Do readers even notice? It's a subtle difference.

      While I agree that simpler is best on screen, I think the message matters more than the font (just like what the infographic said).
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      • Profile picture of the author perryny
        I'm curious as to what font size you think is the bottom limit.

        Granted, my eyesight isn't what it was, but more and more often I'm coming across text on my phone screen (which I find myself using more and more often), where I'm simply making my best guess at what I'm reading.

        Is there a preferred font and minimum size you'd use for mobile screens?

        And speaking of fonts...

        Joe Mobley posted this very cool list in the Off Topic forum: 14 Free Things On The Internet Everyone Should Be Taking Advantage Of - Supercompressor.com

        I thought you'd find #10 interesting: 10. All the fonts you could ever want

        -Rob Perry
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  • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
    This is an easy one:

    Sans Serif for online.

    Serif for offline... that's all you need to know.
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