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Author Topic: Does serif matter in web fonts?  (Read 3429 times)

Paul Keith

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Does serif matter in web fonts?
« on: July 09, 2010, 12:54:55 AM »
=Asking this here because I fear this might be too basic a question for typographic forums (if there are any, I didn't check) and because I read some old topics here where people seem to understand fonts=

Just found out that serif is for long texts in books and since I'm working on a style lay-out change for my blog articles following some people's advises, I was wondering if serif for blogs really make that big of an impact.

Unfortunately I don't know anything about typography and personally I never found either to bother me much but since I get enough people saying my posts don't make sense/aren't direct/long/etc. I wanted to maximize my odds this time of communicating my articles.

40hz

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2010, 07:09:03 AM »
San-serif for webtext is a convention, not a design rule. Polls seem to indicate a small majority prefer it. But that may be more due to conditioning rather than true preference. The jury is still out on that one.

Serif fonts can work well in webtext provided you use a large enough fontsize, and you generally avoid blandishments like italicized type. Italicize type generally looks like hell on a Windows browser so it's best to avoid it anyway. (I'll be the first to admit guilt when it comes to ignoring that rule BTW :-[)

Georgia is the safest serif font to stick with for web use. It was designed for the web - and it's on just about every machine out there.

This is what your question looks like in Georgia:

---------------

=Asking this here because I fear this might be too basic a question for typographic forums (if there are any, I didn't check) and because I read some old topics here where people seem to understand fonts=

Just found out that serif is for long texts in books and since I'm working on a style lay-out change for my blog articles following some people's advises, I was wondering if serif for blogs really make that big of an impact.

Unfortunately I don't know anything about typography and personally I never found either to bother me much but since I get enough people saying my posts don't make sense/aren't direct/long/etc. I wanted to maximize my odds this time of communicating my articles.


----------------

Boosting it up a size to 12pt improves readability quite a bit:

----------------

=Asking this here because I fear this might be too basic a question for typographic forums (if there are any, I didn't check) and because I read some old topics here where people seem to understand fonts=

Just found out that serif is for long texts in books and since I'm working on a style lay-out change for my blog articles following some people's advises, I was wondering if serif for blogs really make that big of an impact.

Unfortunately I don't know anything about typography and personally I never found either to bother me much but since I get enough people saying my posts don't make sense/aren't direct/long/etc. I wanted to maximize my odds this time of communicating my articles.


---------------

To my eyes, the only potential problem is the width. Many people find serif fonts are harder to read when the column gets too wide. On your own webpage, you can control the column widths and keep them narrow enough. (There's a whole raft of typographic theory about how to calculate optimal line lengths based on font size to facilitate easy reading.) But on a forum like DC, the layout is fluid so it may become too wide for some people to read comfortably.

See how shortening the line length improves readability even at the smaller font size:

------------
Just found out that serif is for long texts in books
and since I'm working on a style lay-out change for
my blog articles following some people's advises,
I was wondering if serif for blogs really make that big
of an impact.

Unfortunately I don't know anything about typography
and personally I never found either to bother me much
but since I get enough people saying my posts don't
make sense/aren't direct/long/etc. I wanted to maximize
my odds this time of communicating my articles.


---------

In the end it all comes down to what looks best to you and your readers.

If in doubt, you could always take a poll.  :)

 :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 07:18:25 AM by 40hz »

Renegade

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2010, 09:31:10 AM »
Serif fonts in print are easier to read. The purpose of the serif is to guide your eye along the text for easier reading. This doesn't work properly on the web so much though, which is why 40Hz had recommended Georgia.

Sans Serif in print is often used to give things a bolder, more modern look. Look inside the covers of any books you have. You'll see Serif fonts used almost exclusively.

Comic Sans is used very commonly to demonstrate that the designer is a complete moron. :P

I believe that the core reason for Serifs being easier in print and Sans Serif being easier onscreen is due to the low resolution on monitors/screens. While you'll hear about the human eye only being able to detect differences down to a certain level, I think that's really about "NOTICE", and not "PERCEIVE". The same happens with audio -- "the minimum audible tone is 20 Hz" -- and I know that to be only partially true as humans can detect down to 3 Hz, e.g. A tiger roars in the distance, and your hair stands on end as you 'perceive' the low end of the roar, but don't "hear" the higher frequencies. I believe that the same analog applies to vision. My $0.02 anyways.



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tomos

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 09:39:29 AM »
I think sans serif too (not recommending Arial in particular)

Screenshot 014.png

looking at that, you could probably even go a point size bigger with the Arial and fit the same amount of text
Tom

Deozaan

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 01:57:40 PM »
I prefer sans-serif on the PC. All those little serifs just blend the letters together and make it harder to read.


Paul Keith

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 09:26:07 PM »
Thanks guys.

I guess size is another problem I hadn't considered.

I'm also using some italicized fonts to convey thought.

Hmm...

Deozaan

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2010, 01:14:45 AM »
Then again, you are asking on DonationCoder, and coders really like their sans-serif* fonts. ;)

*Coding fonts are usually monospace.


Paul Keith

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2010, 01:23:15 AM »
Lol.

Well to be honest, I prefer sans serif too. Although preferably I like Verdana but it can be confusing at times.

Especially with blogs - I feel you need to sort of understand your blog's theme in order to understand what fonts to use but then normally you don't because a post can be short or you don't have problems communicating a long post.

It's tough too because for example...italicized was the one thing that I felt wouldn't hurt...but then it turns out it does especially for sans serif.

I guess with this blog post I'm going to try something subtly experimental as I was thinking of mixing sans-serif with serif anyway. Again, thanks for all the help.

Edit:

Oh nevermind, it turns out Posterous doesn't import the formatting when you e-mail it.

Hmm...or rather it does but you have to go to the web editor before it does and then it re-reformats it and takes away the color, retains the size and...I guess this is a bug or a quirk on their side so formatting is out.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 01:36:57 AM by Paul Keith »

Paul Keith

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2010, 02:55:53 AM »


Just to save this thread, here's something one of Guy Kawasaki's writers recently tweeted:

http://holykaw.allto...-of-comic-sans-video

Renegade

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2010, 07:56:45 AM »
Seogue UI is a very nice Sans Serif font. I've started to use it in development as it's readability is very good.

Mentioned above, yes -- serif fonts are more difficult to read onscreen (this is a widely known thing among designers). I mentioned my reasons as to why (resolution).
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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Deozaan

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2010, 03:39:48 PM »
http://holykaw.allto...-of-comic-sans-video



Comic Sans came from Watchmen? I knew it looked so familiar when I was reading it!

Also, that video put Ww in there twice and left out Yy. Somebody needs to go back and learn their ABCs. ;)

« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 03:43:48 PM by Deozaan »

40hz

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2010, 02:06:47 PM »
Also, that video put Ww in there twice and left out Yy. Somebody needs to go back and learn their ABCs. ;)

Well... Alan Moore has hinted that Watchmen takes place in a parallel universe much like our own.

Sooooo... maybe they do double up on Ww and lack a Yy in their alphabet.  ;D 8)

« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 02:09:22 PM by 40hz »

tomos

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Re: Does serif matter in web fonts?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2011, 02:03:02 PM »


I missed this when it was posted - it's great!! - I'm no expert on type but there were a few gems in there :)
Tom