Typography Serif vs. Sans serif
Whether designers should use serif or sans-serif fonts for body copy is one of the most discussed and unresolved questions about typesetting on the web. Some designers prefer to give their headlines serifs (which are short,
decorative lines at the end of letter strokes) to give them more appeal. The main reason to choose a serif font for your headlines is that, at a large size, serif fonts are easy to read and look great. The contrast between a serif font
for headlines and a sans-serif font for body copy can be interesting, too.
Some designers prefer serif fonts for body copy because they believe the lines at the end of letter strokes help guide readers from one letter to the next, making scanning and reading more comfortable. Typography.
According to our study, sans-serif fonts are still more popular than serif fonts for headlines, although they seem to have dropped in popularity in recent years.
60% of Web sites use sans-serif typefaces for headlines, mostly Arial, Verdana, Lucida Grande, and Helvetica. Among them: CNN, ArsTechnica, Slate, BBC, and NewScientist.
Only 34% of Web sites use a serif typeface for body copy. Among them:
• New York Times,
Most popular typefaces for …
- The most popular serif typefaces for headlines are Georgia (28%) and Baskerville (4%).
- The most popular serif typefaces for body copy are Georgia (32%) and Times New Roman (4%).
- The most popular sans-serif typefaces for headlines are Arial (28%), Helvetica (20%) and Verdana (8%).
- The most popular sans-serif typefaces for body copy are Arial (28%), Verdana (20%) and Lucida Grande (10%).
Two-thirds of the Web sites we surveyed used sans-serif fonts for body copy. The main reason is probably that despite the growing popularity of advanced font replacement techniques, such as Cufón, most designers
stick to the core Web fonts, which essentially give them only two viable options: Georgia and Times New Roman.
And because of the stigma attached to Times New Roman (that it often makes a modern Web site look outdated), they՚re left with only Georgia. Sans-serif fonts used to offer a wider variety of options for the web.
This limitation in choice, however, will soon be overcome by the use of the @font-face rule and web font embedding services.
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