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Serif vs. Sans-Serif: The Final Battle

| Design, Things We Love Today

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If you’ve ever been around a graphic designer talking about his/her craft, you’ve probably heard the word “typography” thrown around a lot. They might (erroneously) correct you that fonts should be referred to as typefaces, or they might be laughing at / hating on some sign for using Comic Sans. It’s a blessing and curse of detail that permeates our profession. I’ll concede that we can be incredibly annoying about something that others might view as pedantic. But as a counterpoint, when we read or write anything, its meaning is at least partially filtered through the lens of typography—which font did you use, and what does that say about the written word? That’s what we really like thinking about.

Selecting a typeface is often one of a designer’s first major choices in a project. And although there are many variables to weigh when it comes to that, the biggest first choice is whether to use a serif or a sans-serif typeface. Serifs are the little lines that protrude from some edges of characters in fonts like Times New Roman or Georgia. Typefaces with serifs have traditionally been referred to as easier to read in long sections of text, but there are always other considerations to be made.

And that’s where our friends at urbanfonts.com come in. They’ve just now produced an infographic outlining recommended guidelines for selecting a serif or sans-serif typeface. Even less design-inclined folk can make use of this chart in their next written document!

Especially pertinent is the very last message: many designer greats have always felt that the best typography should not stand out or clash with the written words’ message.

We’re happy to handle any questions you may have about fonts or design at all. Reply here or contact me personally at david@thinkaor.com!

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