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Serif vs. Sans Serif fonts: When To Use

by Alice Jackson Tweet - in Font

serif vs sans serif fonts

Last updated on September 5th, 2023

Serif vs. sans serif font — both may sound similar, but for a designer, each holds significant differences. As a designer, you have hundreds of fonts such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, Futura Bodoni, and more to choose from. But before you pick one that suits your brand or design, it’s essential to understand different font families, categories, and their use cases. 

Serif and sans serif are two of the most important font categories. You need to understand them better for an impactful design.

So to help you out, we have listed down all the differences between serif and sans serif fonts in this blog. 

What Is Serif vs. Sans Serif?

When you first hear the phrase “serif vs. sans serif, “what’s the most eminent difference that comes to your mind? You may say that the absence of serif in one, and presence in another.  

Serif fonts have a taper or attractive stroke added to the letter artfully. Sans serifs, on the other hand, don’t have such strokes. With no strokes and tails, sans-serif fonts look clean and simple.

Serif vs. Sans Serif Fonts

Importance Of Serif Fonts In Branding? 

Serif fonts exude traditional and classic vibes. This typeface dates back to the 18th century, highlighting the old style. Brands that have existed for decades, still use it. Its high readability score makes it ideal for books, magazines, newspapers, and related companies. Even traditional businesses like insurance companies, law firms, and financial institutions use this font preferably to evoke old-style. Brands that want to convey the idea of being reliable, established, and dependable can choose serif fonts. It’s great for showcasing the company’s legacy and heritage.

Importance of serif fonts design in branding

Examples of serif fonts 

Some of the best examples of serif typefaces include — Georgia, Times New Roman, Garamond, Palatino, and more.

serif fonts design examples

Examples Of Brands Using Serif Font In Their Logos

Serif makes the most popular choice as logo font for well-established brands. Brands that use this font in their logo designs include, Vogue, Honda, Sony, Coach, Rolex, Tiffany & Co., Time, and more.

serif font logos ideas in brand

Importance Of Sans Serif Fonts In Branding

While serif fonts are all about evoking the past era, sans serif typefaces are about exuding modernism and sophistication. Their minimalistic and simple look makes them more modern. If your target audience is the younger generation, sans serif fonts are the fonts to choose.

Tech companies and startups use sans serif fonts to convey approachability and modernity.

Importance of sans serif fonts in branding

Examples Of Sans Serif Fonts

Some of the most popular sans serif font examples are — Arial, Helvetica, Poppins, Tahoma, Roboto, and more.

Sans-serif typeface makes a good choice in font pairing to make headlines, infographic text, titles, and more.

sans serif fonts example

Examples Of Brands Using Sans Serif Font In Their Logos

As said earlier, sans serif fonts are preferred by startups, tech companies, and recent businesses to design their logos. Its minimalist look makes it ideal for all modern logos.

Examples of brands using serif font in their logos

Branding Evolution From Serif To Sans Serif

Serif font vs. sans serif plays a pivotal role in branding. As far as the design sector is concerned, brands are shifting from one font to another for a refreshed look.

Branding Evolution from Serif to Sans Serif

Even graphic design trends showcase a shift towards a more simple and minimalistic look. This has led to the popularity of sans serif fonts as they are simple, readable, and easy to scale up and scale down. Many famous brands have jumped on this trend. They have gone from serif to sans serif for a branding overhaul.

Google’s logo design is a perfect example of transitioning from serif to sans serif font. 

Here’s a list of brands that went from serif to sans serif.

Brands That Redesigned Their Logos From Serif To Sans Serif

How to Brands that redesigned their logos from serif to sans serif

How To Choose Between Serif And Sans Serif Font?

Well, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this question. But there are some doable guidelines that you can consider to find the right font for your purpose.

Consider The Medium:

serifs vs. sans serifs

Before you choose between serifs vs. sans serifs, find out where people are going to see it. Also, consider the size at which it will be visible to them. Do you want to use it on the Web or in print media? Is the font for a logo design, social media post, or text? Don’t forget to consider the age group — whether it’s for younger audiences or adults. Children’s publications often use sans serif fonts due to its readability factor. 

Analyze The Examples:

Serif vs Sans Serif

Once you’ve finalized the medium, find out what you need it for. Consider whether you want to choose between the serif and sans serif fonts for logo design, website design, brochure, newspaper, magazine, or something else. Once finalized, look around and check out the examples of the same. Find the font in each work to narrow down your choices. Scale up and scale down a particular font to see its legibility. A font at 12-pt. size may not look the same when scaled up or scaled down. Compare each font and then make a final decision.

Analyze The Typographic Hierarchy: 

Serif vs Sans Serif

Typographic hierarchy makes your text more legible. It’s a way of arranging text in a way that highlights the core information and catches the eye. If you’re designing a project, you can choose a few fonts and see how these typefaces look together. You can use font pairing techniques to combine a serif font for heading and a sans-serif typeface for subheading. This will help you get the perfect font combination for your project. 


While serif and sans serif fonts have their own characteristics, you can choose any typeface you like. Having an understanding of what’s the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts will work in your favor. It will help you perfectly mix and match fonts for visual clarity. You need to find a balance while using it for the body, delivering the right message, and rendering the user experience. Both serif and sans serif have a perfect use case scenario, and if you’re aware of when to make the right call, bravo, you grow as a designer! You can even custom create your own fonts as personalized fonts speed up the reading and boost comprehensions.

Last but not least, be creative and try different pairing ideas to make your design impactful.

Alice Jackson is a business consultant, blogger, social media enthusiast, online market analyst, amateur designer and an avid author at Designhill. She has written on several topics including social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, startup strategies and e-commerce. When she’s not writing, she loves spending her time reading romantic novels, Connect with her on Twitter: @jackson_alice1



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