Monthly Archives: July 2010

To Serif or to san serif that is the question–that we’re going to answer right now

Once upon a time most typeface was serif and it was good. Then came along the internet. Serif typeface was hard to read on screen because screens could not reproduce the nuances of the serifs very well and that was bad. San serif was used for electronic media and it was good. And the thought became, if san serif was good for electronic media it must be good for print, yes? Well, no. More like yes and no. Ever try to read skinny tiny san serif print on paper? It’s not easy. The reason most printed copy, at least before the internet, was serif is because those little feet at the top and bottom of letters helps our eyes and brains recognize letters and words. Print and screen, two different media two different approaches. If you have a printed document that has a lot of copy (words) a serif typeface will make the copy easier to read. Narrow or thin san serif typefaces will be harder to read. Save san serif typefaces for headings, pull quotes, short large, bold text. These days with improved computer screens serif typeface can be easily read on screen. And everyone lived happily ever after. The end.

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My computer has 189 typefaces–can I use them all? No!

Don’t even think of getting cute with typefaces. I will find you. We will talk, you will learn. Look, all our computers have a zillion typefaces, most of them should never be used. Think of typeface like you would yourself. Your typeface is important in delivering your message. Consider the following:

Curly pink type does not evoke the Age of Reason. Get it? Good.

Serif, san serif, how’s that go again?

It’s pretty easy, let’s start with san serif. San means without, remember that and you’ll be golden. A san serif letter, that’s what we’re talking about here–letters (typeface), does NOT have the little foot at the top and bottom of the letter. This typeface is a serif it HAS little feet at the top and bottom of the letter. See? Serif hath, san serif hath not.