When To Use Serif vs. Sans Serif Fonts

A font is just the typeface that you simply use in your document. Just about every part you create in your computer permits you to choose the font, or typeface to make use of. A whole dialogue on typography is nicely beyond what we need to sort out right here, there are loads of books written on the topic in case you‘re. What we’ll do with our dialogue (as we do with most issues), is boil it all the way down to a gross over-simplification of the information.

Serifs are the small traces on the ends of the characters on the letters of the typeface. A serif font has these small traces, a sans-serif font doesn’t.

Typical serif fonts are:

  • Times, Times New Roman
  • Courier, Courier New
  • Georgia
  • MS Serif

Typical sans-serif fonts are:

  • Arial
  • Helvetica
  • Tahoma
  • Verdana
  • MS Sans Serif

Historical knowledge tells us that we should always use sans-serif fonts for titles, headers, and different brief blocks of textual content, and serif fonts for the principle physique of the document. The reasoning behind this has to do with the aim of the serifs. The serifs on the letters are designed to tug the textual content collectively, making it simpler to your eye to transition from one letter to the subsequent, then from one phrase to the subsequent. In impact, the serifs ‘pull’ you thru the document, and in doing so make the textual content simpler to learn. Subsequently, lengthy blocks of text will likely be simpler to learn if they’re written with a serif font. Sans-serif fonts work nicely in short blocks of bigger textual content, what you’ll usually discover in titles and headings.

Now, earlier than you go creating your subsequent eBook about your pet rock you need to know that studying text on a computer display is considerably totally different than studying text on paper. The first cause for this has to do with one thing known as a decision. Whereas making an in-depth comparability of the relative decision of paper and the common computer monitor would little question bore you to tears, for the aim of our dialogue we are able to say it’s the variety of ink ‘dots’ you may match into each square inch of floor materials. The smaller the dot the more you may match into each sq. inch of, for instance, paper or pc display. The extra dots you may match into each square inch the upper the resolution. The upper the decision the better it’s to read. You possibly can create smaller dots, thereby becoming extra dots, onto each square inch of paper than you may on each square of your computer screen. Subsequently, the paper has a better relative resolution than your computer screen. The logical conclusion then is that one thing printed on paper is less complicated to read than something ‘printed’ on your computer display.

You should not necessarily automatically use a serif font for lengthy blocks of text, particularly if the first goal of your document is reading electronically. The small serifs can typically blur once you view them in your computer monitor, which can truly make your text more difficult to read, as a substitute of creating it simpler. That is why the overwhelming majority of internet sites (together with this one) use a sans-serif font, as a substitute of a serif font, for the entire text, whatever the size of the document.

So what does this imply to you? Well, it all the time appears to come back again to the first goal of the document. If you’re creating one thing whose main goal is to be printed on paper, then the everyday sans-serif for titles and headers, serif for the physique of the textual content might be best. Nonetheless, in case you‘re creating one thing that can primarily be considered on the computer, you might be most likely higher off sticking with a sans-serif font for everything.