To serif or to sans serif? That is the question!

Clients ask me what fonts are correct for on-screen presentations and/or printed documents.  They also ask me the different between serif and sans serif fonts.  The tip I share is one I got from an old colleague at McKinsey:  Replace serif with feet.  San serif means that the font has no feet (like Arial)  and serif means that it does have feet (like Times New Roman).

There are the guidelines I give them:

  • For on-screen presentations, only use sans serif for body text.  If you really need to have a serif font on the page for branding reasons, use it for page title, section headers and maybe titles on pages.
  • For long printed documents, especially in Word, flip the guidelines if you can.  Either use serif for the body and sans serif for the titles or sans serif for all.  But for printed documents you have more flexibility.  All sans serif is acceptable now, too.

Hopefully these quick tips are useful!

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