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Font Confusion: Serif vs. Sans Serif

Type tells you a lot about what you’re viewing, such as in a logo, it can tell you about a company’s history and attitude. Type in ads can indicate the kind of audience the ad is trying to reach, and type on posters can indicate genre.

 

What is a serif??

Serifs are the small lines attached to letters. This evolved from small marks left from brushes or quills.


Serif fonts look important, professional, and suggest history or experience. Serifs aren’t just aesthetic, they also have value as body copy. When reading a small type in a book, serifs help distinguish the letterforms and create flow as you’re reading.



Sans serif fonts are associated with modern typefaces such as Helvetica.

 

Sans serif type became associated with cutting-edge design, commerce, and modernism. Sans serif type is missing the extra strokes that are in serif fonts. Sans serif fonts work well where there’s little room for copy. Websites, menus, and maps tend to be sans serif. There are exceptions, some sans serif fonts, like Arial, are meant to work as body copy.


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