Serif and Sans Serif: What’s the difference? Which is better for your project?

Working in the design field requires good knowledge and understanding of how to use and combine different fonts. There are thousands of fonts available for use, the most famous of which fall into two main families of fonts Serif and Sans Serif. Often it will be difficult to choose only one line if you are a designer you will understand it completely, but for those who did not study or work in this area will be very confusing.

The families of the main lines Serif and Sans Serif mentioned above include the most common lines, and comparing and choosing between their lines is very difficult. But do not worry, in this article we will learn about the two families, the basic differences between them, and how to choose the best lines for your project, to leave your design imprint and get the shape you want.

What are the Serif and Sans Serif fonts and what are the differences between them?


The lines that contain decorative ink strokes (tails) that expand the ends of the letters, which appear on all these letters in different cases (Upper and Lower case), and on the numbers, symbols and various characters within this line family, it is believed that the origin of these tails (Serifs) due to the inscription Latin characters on stones in Roman monuments.

Serif fonts are commonly used with long texts, such as books, newspapers and most magazines. Most modern website designs use these fonts in URLs, and in general, their use depends on the feeling to be communicated to the reader. The feelings associated with these fonts vary from classic, elegance, confidence, and official.

Sans Serif

The literal meaning of the word Sans is without or without. They are also simpler than previous fonts. They first appeared in 1805 in print media and gained great fame for their clarity and readability.

Sans Serif fonts are used in web designs and small text blocks. The simplicity of these fonts makes them easier to read, especially in small screens such as smartphones, and for this reason, they are used frequently in web pages, and the feelings associated with these fonts are clarity, modernity, direct and friendly.

The most popular families are Serif and Sans Serif

Serif family is divided into 4 subfamilies:

  • Old style family
  • It is the oldest sub-family of the Serif families, with fonts such as Adobe Jenson dating back to the 14th century.
  • Transitional family
  • Its appearance is newer than the previous family and includes fonts such as Times New Roman and Baskerville.
  • Modern Family
  • It is the most modern family and includes fonts like Didot, the font used in the cover of the famous Vogue magazine.
  • Family Slab-Serif
  • A family that has thinner tails than its predecessors, and includes fonts like American Typewriter.

The Sans serif family is also divided into 4 subfamilies:

  • The Grotesque family
  • It is the oldest family and includes fonts such as News Gothic.
  • The Neo-Grotesque family
  • It is more modern than its predecessor, including fonts such as Helvetica.
  • Family Humanist
  • Newer family, including fonts like Gill Sans.
  • Geometric family
  • It is a family built on geometric shapes and includes lines like Futura.

Some common errors about Serif and Sans Serif fonts

• Serif fonts are intended for printing

Serif fonts were used for printing only, while Sans Serif fonts were used to write content to be displayed on screens since the resolution of the screens at that time was not good enough compared to the print material, so it was difficult to read the Serif fonts clearly on them. With the advances in the screen industry, which have become high-resolution, this problem is a thing of the past, and Serif and Sans Serif fonts can be used without any problems.

• Serif fonts are more readable

There was a common belief that Serif fonts were more readable, due to the tails in them, as the idea was that the eye was following a line of text, and the tails of the Serif lines help it, making it easier to read, but this idea is completely wrong. The eye moves with a number of jumps, and the movement between these jumps is so fast that it is impossible to receive any information during this movement.

• Sans Serif fonts are unofficial

In fact, the use of Sans Serif fonts in your message will not make them unofficial.

• Serif fonts and the space between characters

Serif fonts are thought to increase the distance between characters, but this is not true.

• Sans Serif fonts are the best fonts for titles

Sans Serif fonts are very suitable for headlines, but there are other factors to consider when it comes to eye-catching fonts. Serif fonts can also attract attention if used appropriately.

Some tips on using Serif and Sans Serif fonts

• Use ready-made forms

You don’t have to be a professional designer to work well with Serif and Sans serif fonts. Instead, you can use some ready-made templates designed by professionals, as there are plenty of websites that offer you lots of free, even paid models.

• Don’t use too many fonts

Keep your design limited to two lines if possible, so that you maintain a balanced ratio between Serif and Sans serif, one in each family will be enough for most designs.

• Select the appropriate font depending on your project

How to choose a suitable font depends primarily on the type of project, in addition to the feelings to convey from the project and the colors used and the style of images that you designed, you should always take into account the difference between Serif and Sans Serif fonts.

In conclusion

Serif and Sans Serif fonts work great together and give a good impression to your design. Serif or Sans Serif? Share your opinion in the comments.