Serif versus sans serif
There are two basic types of font faces -serif versus sans serif. But which is better? In fact, which is which? Let’s start there. Serif is the kind with finishing curly cues or finishing strokes on the ends like Times New Roman. Sans serif is the straight lined counterparts, like Arial. “Sans” is French for “without” so I guess sans serif means “without serif”.
Generally speaking, serif faces are thought of as more formal. It’s used in literature while sans serif holds court with technical and mathematical works. So in other words, techno geeks go for sans serif while literary snobs like serif.
So it makes sense that online there has been a trend to using sans serif such as Arial or Verdana (my favorite of late because the letters are almost squared, wide and easy on the eyes). Our eyes get tired much faster when reading online (we read 25% slower online than off). Maybe it’s the glow of the computer screen. Or maybe it’s being in an uncomfortable chair instead of curled up on the couch with a book. Whatever the reason, Internet surfers have billions of pages to get through. We don’t have time to get hung up on extra motion in the letters.
Font size is another big consideration. While I’m personally fond of 10 point font, I understand for some people it’s harder on the eyes. Using a 12 point for text is pretty common. And of course a larger size for headlines and subheads (depending on your design). I lean toward 18 point for headlines and 14 point for subheads – on the small side for some readers. Since it doesn’t matter how good your copy is if it isn’t read, take your target market’s needs into consideration.
Something to remember when using obscure fonts is that everyone doesn’t have the same fonts you may. That means the time you spend experimenting with wild fonts is all for naught. The person on the other end will get a standard font like Courier New (yuck!).
Author Resource -> Copywriting guru Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero has been helping entrepreneurs and copywriters get their marketing messages razor sharp since 1999.