Serifs Vs. San Serifs


When deciding on the perfect typeface for a project there is a lot of things to consider, but one of the main decisions a designer needs to make is whether the typeface will be serif or san serif? There are some helpful factors that can help you decide which one suits your design/ client best. Some of these tips are:

Research should always be done first – Brand values & personalities, audience, and more will effect what typeface suits any project. The application of the design will also be considered when making this choice because some typefaces are better for the web than for print. Colour and type treatment will also affect legibility and readability; certain typefaces handle more weight and size changes better. Audience is an important factor, especially when designing for children or someone with visual impairments.

Serifs are known for being more decorative and have little decorative strokes that extend at the end of letters – They can be in the forms of a tail, sharp or blunt. Because of these decorative strokes the typeface will guide the natural “flow” of the eyes when reading. Serifs are normally used for large body of text to make it easier to read, but legibility can be affected by weight and size.

Some More Facts:
– Used in books, magazines, and news papers
– Most commonly used
– Classic, elegant, formal, confident, and established
– Most well known typefaces are Georgia, Rockwell, Baskerville, and Times Roman

Showing a serif & san serif in a heavier weight and what the difference is

San Serifs are known for being simplified and more modern; they don’t have decorative strokes extending from the ends of the letters. Depending on the typeface, the edges can be either sharp or round. Even though san serifs are not recommended for larger amounts of text, the readability can increase at smaller sizes. When designing for children or the visually impaired it’s good to use a san serif typeface because it will be easier for them to read. San serifs are also recommended to use for web design.

Some More Facts:
– Used for annual reports and brochures
– Modern, friendly, direct, clean, minimal
– Captions, heading, credits, chart, and graphs
– Most well known helvetica, Arial, Future, Franklin Gothic

San serif is more appealing when designing for children who are learning how to read and write. 


Next time you’re deciding on a typeface I hope this blog post has made it easier. Remember to always decide on whether the typeface should be serif or san serif and to always do research. The one key thing to remember the difference between the two is that serifs have little decorative strokes on the ends and san serifs don’t.

Serif Vs. Sans Serif 

So what are you using, Serif or San Serif?

Want to learn more? Check out The Final Battle – A cute infographic about serifs VS. san serifs.





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