When to Use Sans Serif Fonts

Rajiv Gupta

Whether you’re promoting a brand, creating something for viewers, or want to share your thoughts through text, choosing the right font is essential.

You may think a font is just that, a font. What’s the big deal? But the font you select can evoke its message and mood just by how it looks, so it’s a good idea to put some thought into the one you choose.

There are two main font types: serif and sans serif. Their differences are subtle initially, but they can convey entirely different tones.

What are serif and sans serif fonts? How are they different? When should you use sans serif instead of serif?

Please keep reading for an overview of sans serif and the best ways to put it to use.

You Want a Modern Look

If serif is the traditional and old-school font, sans serif is its modern, minimalist brother. 

Believe it or not, sans serif was originally controversial due to its edgy and contemporary look.

While sans serif is generally considered modern, thousands of different sans serif fonts can give you the futuristic, clean look you’re going for. If you are still looking for the perfect modern one, you can even use font editing software to customize a sans-serif font to your specifications.

Sans serif is a perfect choice if you’re promoting a new brand or idea and want a forward-thinking tone that emanates youth. 

Your Text Space Is Limited

A Sans serif is ideal if you have limited space for your text.

This could include instances where you only need a few words, like logos or labels on maps. Sans serif also works well with limited space but must fit in the critical text, such as on a business card or in-app wording.

Because the font doesn’t have serif decorative strokes, it fits together more compactly and takes up less space. Even if the text is super close together, it doesn’t look squished or illegible due to its orderly, unembellished characteristics.

Your Audience Is in a Hurry

Sans serif is known for being very legible due to its clean appearance.

You may address readers with your font choice and need something they can skim quickly and easily. For example, you’re planning the font for a website or brochure and prioritizing readability and aesthetics.

There’s a reason why so many apps and websites use sans serif for their text. Even the default font for an email is a sans serif font. Why is this? It’s easy and quick to read, making it perfect for when you’re crunched for time.

You Need Text That’s Legible from Far Away

Ever notice the font used on highway exits or stop signs? That’s right; it’s sans serif. 

While the tails and feet of serif fonts give off a traditional and authoritative tone, they can make letters hard to discern when looking at them from far away.

The simplicity of sans serif is its strong suit. The clean and unembellished letters are more legible than serif fonts, making it easy to read the text from a distance.

Your Focus Is on Digital Spaces

Sans serif is dominating the digital world.

This isn’t a coincidence. Many reasons have already been mentioned, like the ease of readability and a desire for a modern look.

Another advantage of sans serif is its adaptability, a unique feature of digital spaces. Sans serif can move between being made larger or smaller without the quality diminishing, or it becomes harder to read. 

Since sans serif is the “modern” font, it’s no surprise that it’s primarily used in digital spaces like websites, apps, and even text messages. While sans serif is used in print formats, it blends in smoothly with its environment when used online.

You can use sans serif for social media graphic design, blog post, or UX design.

What’s the Difference Between Serif and Sans Serif? 

Serif is a font that started in the 18th century and described text with extra decorative strokes, often called “tails” and “feet.” These different strokes are said to have evolved from calligraphers’ brushstrokes, mimicking their wrist flicks.

The popular serif fonts include Times New Roman, Georgia, Palatino, and Baskerville. 

On the other hand, Sans serif is a font that eliminates the extra strokes on letters. “Sans” literally means “without,” meaning the font is without serifs.

Sans serif appeared in the 1900s during the era of modernism. The font fits well with the period due to its modern and sleek look.

Well-known and commonly used sans serif fonts include Arial, Futura, Helvetica, Calibri, and many more.

Decide if Sans Serif Is Right for Your Specific Project

Many adjectives could describe sans serif, including playful, relatable, and straightforward. When deciding whether you should use sans serif, the main questions you need to ask are, “What do I want my font to say to readers? What is its purpose?”

Don’t just choose sans serif because you think you should; make sure it’s the right fit. Sans serif is excellent for a startup, tech website, or contemporary art gallery, but there might be better choices for a historic newspaper or law firm.

Once you have a good idea of how sans serif can benefit your project, choose the one that speaks to you. 

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Read more: 6 Useful Tips How To Get Instagram Free Followers.

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