Reading Type Online and in Print

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Are some fonts easier to read online or in print than others?

Reading Type Online and in Print

What does that say? Text design is extremely important when deciding where you will publish your book. Be sure to choose a text design that is easy for your readers to read. Text fonts are characterized largely as "serif" and “sans-serif."

  • Serif is a font such as Times New Roman, which has small "serifs" or tags on many of the letters
  • Sans-serif type fonts are fonts such as "Arial" that do not have these tags on any of the letters

Studies have shown that Arial (or sans-serif type fonts) are easier for people to read online, while Times New Roman (or serif-type fonts) are easier for people to read in print. So, when choosing a text design, know where you will sell your book and make it easier on your readers' eyes by choosing the right font.



8/30/2006 5:22:06 PM
John H said:

What has been said here about serif versus sans serif fonts is generally true and should be taken seriously. However, there are a few sans serif fonts that are quite readable in printed form. There are many variables that determine whether a font will work in a given context. For example, if someone is used to reading text with serifed fonts to the point where they become excessively conscious of the sans serif font they're reading, then the font intereferes. The most readable font ever created, in my opinion, is a sans serif font called Chianti. It comes in about 21 different font families. One of the reasons the font is so readable is that there is significant variance of the strokes from one character to the next. Also, there are slight bends at the end of the font strokes which probably serve a similar purpose to serifs. It is an attractive and slightly playful looking font suitable for some books. Another highly readable (somewhat less playful looking) font is Meta. It was commissioned and then declined by the German postal system, so is available for general use. It also comes in many font families so is a desirable font for publishing books. It was designed to be highly readable when printed in small sizes under poor printing conditions - with that smears for example. Reminiscent of the Officina font, Meta has slight bends at the ends of some strokes.


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