Can’t decide between serif and sans serif fonts? (Not even sure what that means?)
You’re in the right place — this article shares examples of serif and sans serif fonts — plus a whole lot more.
Your font choice tells a lot about your business and what it stands for. Marketing guru Seth Godin talks about it here.
Before you decide what you want the font to say, let’s review the two main font categories.
Serif fonts: Classic, timeless, easy-to-read
Serif fonts have little “feet” at the bottoms of the letters.
You probably have Georgia and Times Roman on your computer, and those are both serif fonts. They are classic, timeless and make your business look established.
Serif fonts are good for long blocks of text, too, which is why most books and magazines are set in them.
Sans serif fonts: Streamlined, modern, contemporary
Sans means “without,” so sans serif fonts are “without” the little feet that serif fonts have.
You probably have Arial and Verdana on your computer, and they are both sans serif fonts.
Sans serif fonts are streamlined, modern and contemporary and make your business look cutting-edge and modern. They’re good for instructions, or any time clarity is important. Sans serif fonts look great on the web, and many sites use them as text fonts.
To make your job easier, I recommend you use no more than two fonts. Pick full “families,” with regular, italic, semi-bold and bold weights. That will give you lots of options for headlines, subheads and captions.
For maximum versatility, pick a serif and a sans serif font that work well together.
This can be tricky to get just right (combining serif and sans serif fonts stumps professional graphic designers all the time).
Read on for one way to make serif and sans serif fonts look great together.
Use Your “AGE”
To combine a serif and sans serif font, look for similar letter forms. The best letters to try to match up are lower case “a,” “g,” and “e.” Let’s take a look:
See the font sample to the left? Notice the shape of the letter “a.” Now look at the “g” and “e.”
Which of the following sans serif fonts will combine well with the example above?
The lower case “a,” “g,” and “e” in Example A are the best match. The letter forms are similar. These two fonts will combine well without clashing.
Found your serif or sans serif font? Here’s how to use it:
In search of typography resources
It’s easy to find fonts on the web at low or no cost. Be careful, though: many are low quality, and will make your business look unprofessional.
A quality, full-family font that represents your business is a great investment.
What’s a “full-family font?”
A full-family font simply means that the font includes many weights — from light to bold. Including lots of font weights means you’ll have more styles to choose from.
Whether you decide to use a serif or a sans serif font, look for full-family fonts.
Since font technology doesn’t evolve as quickly as software, your font should still be as usable in 20 years as it is today, so don’t be afraid to invest if you find the perfect serif or sans serif font for your brand.
For no-cost fonts, try the links below.
Warning: Looking at a huge gallery of font choices can feel overwhelming!
Remember, aim for quality, readability, and a full family of weights:
BONUS: Font resources you can find on this site
This site is chock-full of font resources! Explore these articles:
Related: Type Styles of the Rich and Famous
Pick a font joke
And just for fun, a few font jokes — pick your favorite!