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Sans Serif vs Serif: Which one should I use for my logo?

posted on Friday 20th March, 2020


A key part of a brand or a logo can be fonts. The fonts you choose to incorporate into your brand can change the way it is communicated to your audience.

Different fonts can represent different values. It is just as important to consider the way you say something rather than just what you are saying. A font could potentially completely contradict what you are actually saying.

This is because fonts tell a story by bringing personality to your brand. The fonts are already communicating something even before they have read the message.

Different types of fonts attract different types of customers, so it is important to understand who your target market are.

There are 2 main types of fonts;

  • Serif
  • Sans Serif

Serif fonts

The name of serif fonts comes from the ‘serif’ which is added to the vertical and horizontal endings of letters. A serif is a small stroke, and can be either distinctive or subtle. This makes the text look a little more *fancy*

They appear on upper case, lower case, numerals and other characters.

Serif fonts, generally are seen (literally) to be more readable. A good example is Times New Roman. This font is widely used in literature, with many universities demanding this font be used for submissions.

This is because serif fonts are good to use for large blocks of writing. The added serif almost creates text that looks like lined paper, and the eye travels easily over the text.

Serif fonts are classical. They originate from Roman carved inscriptions, so it is no surprise that they are associated with classy and high end connotations.

Some of the most well-known serif typefaces include Times New Roman, Rockwell, Georgia, and Baskerville.

If you’re looking to convey that your brand is timeless and sophisticated, using serif fonts could be an easy and effective way to communicate this, without anyone really realising!

A lot of luxury brands, especially clothing use serif fonts in their logo designs. It’s also important to ensure fonts are cohesive across all your branding channels.

Serif fonts are usually best to use for logos that will get printed, such as on stationery or posters. For logos that will be used on apps, online and so on, it’s better to choose crisper fonts that adapt well to different screen sizes.

Sans Serif fonts

Sans Serif fonts are without (sans=fancy word for without) the serif… fairly straight forward. They can be a variety of shapes and widths. They are a more modern type of font and therefore have a similar effect on branding.

These fonts are seen to be more “simple” as they do not have the added detail on characters. For some users, they are easier on the eye, as these fonts are seen to be a bit more precise and ‘cut edge’.

Sans Serif fonts usually evoke feelings on modernity, minimalistic and slick. Some of the most well-known sans serif typefaces include Helvetica, Arial, Futura and Franklin Gothic.

Take for example LDS Locksmiths:

Screen Shot 2020-03-20 at 09.32.26

The Sans Serif font used in this logo makes the branding modern, stylish and easy to recognise for numerous market segments. They are universal fonts which is digestible for all kinds of users.

There are many connotations around numerous fonts – “sans serifs are informal”, “serif can only be used for print”, “sans serif should only be used digitally”

Of course, there is truth behind that serif fonts can sometimes not be as high res in digital print compared to physical print. But with the level of technology now, this shouldn’t come into consideration when choosing a logo.

The most important thing is to create a logo or branding strategy which reflects what your business is all about, and that this is communicated correctly with your audience.

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