Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Serif and Sans Serif

Serif vs Sans Serif

Considering how many types of font are available in a regular document, it’s not surprising if most individuals opt to type with a different one each time. However, what most people aren’t aware of is that no matter how many fonts there are, there are just two general categories that they could belong to: serif and sans serif.

Now, this might be the first time you’ve heard of the term, and to be perfectly honest, individuals who don’t pay much attention to their fonts will find it hard to identity a serif from a sans serif. This is because the difference is so little that is it often overlooked in favor of more obvious font characteristics.

To put it simply, serif fonts are those that have “little feet” while a sans serif doesn’t have any. The word “sans” is derived from the French which means “without.” Examples of serif-font types include Times New Roman and Garamond. If you look closely, you’ll find that there is a small perpendicular line that is situated at the bottom points of the letter which are referred to as the “feet.” Sans serif-font types include Tahoma, Verdana and Arial.

So what exactly is the significance of using a sans serif or a serif? Usually, newspaper utilizes a sans serif font for the title of their headlines and then makes use of a serif for the body of the article. The reasoning is pretty simple: the “feet” help readers stay on track when reading the article. Reportedly, the feet act as a guide that would ensure that the reader would not be skipping any line when reading a newspaper. For this reason, most books with small prints utilize a serif font within their pages.

However, proof behind these ideals is ambiguous with some individuals claiming that although serif fonts are easier to read and comprehend, careful setting of the letters can actually solve the problem. In some cases, editors choose to utilize a sans serif font in the body of their articles regardless of the impact in readability. This is because they are of the opinion that the style looks cleaner and more orderly compared to the “little feet” fonts.

Considering their main purpose, it isn’t surprising that serif is not practiced in handwriting. However, there are cases when putting “little feet” on a letter would be able to distinguish it as in the case of the letter “l” and “L.”

Even the Internet is making use of the difference between serif and sans serif. Considering how hard it is to read articles on the screen, most domains make use of serif fonts to ensure that their readers do not suffer from eyestrain.

Hence, individuals who are thinking about what type of font to use should consider what type of reader they will have. If it is for a blog, then a serif font would be ideal. But for advertisements or eye-catching titles, a sans serif is the perfect choice.

The origin of serif fonts is still in question although most believe that it was started by the Romans. The widely accepted reasoning behind the serif writing style is that the brush marks naturally flare at the end of a stroke thereby creating the “little feet” effect. Serif fonts are further divided into several categories which are: old style, slab serif, transitional, and modern.


1.Serif fonts have “little feet” while a sans serif doesn’t have any.

2.Serif fonts include Times New Roman.

3.Sans Serif fonts are Verdana, Tahoma, and others.

4.Serif is mostly used for newspaper article bodies or books with small prints.

5.Sans serif is utilized for large prints like newspaper headlines.

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