Should your blog use Serif or Sans-Serif Fonts?

Fonts. The one thing every sees but no one seems to notice.


When I started in writing, it was generally accepted that Times New Roman was THE font to use for printed manuals.

No ifs, buts, or maybe. Times New Roman size 11.

I wonder if things have changed. Do we now prefer serif fonts for writing online? What’s the best font for web writing?

Is Verdana the Best Font for Web Writing?

If you look at the fonts used on CNN, Yahoo and Guardian sites, you’ll see that some use serif, while others favor sansserif.

Serif are fonts with ‘feet’ like Times Roman, while those without (i.e. sans) serif include Verdana, Arial and the like.

Cross Platform Fonts

Fonts that work on Windows and Mac OS include:

  • Verdana
  • Georgia
  • Comic Sans
  • MS Trebuchet


This is the most popular of serif fonts, while Times New Roman is more common on recent operating systems.Times ABCDE abcde 012345

Times (also called Times Roman) is available on Macintosh and Unix computers.

Times was originally designed for newspapers.

Times New Roman

Times New Roman is Microsoft’s version of Times. It comes pre-installed on both Windows and most Macintosh computers.

Monospace fonts

These mimic typewritten output and are often used when writing code.

Courier is the popular monospace font. It is available on Macintosh and Unix computers, and is a core PostScript font.

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Verdana has large lowercase letters which makes text easy to read on the web.

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Font Guidelines for Web Writing

Jakob Nielsen makes the folowing suggestions:

  • Do not use absolute font sizes in your style sheets. Code font sizes in relative terms, typically using percentages such as 120% for big text and 90% for small text.
  • Make your default font size reasonably big (at least 10 point) so that very few users have to resort to manual overrides.
  • If your site targets senior citizens, use bigger default font sizes (at least 12 point).

I tend to prefer Verdana on, which I think is very readable. But ‘experts’ have told me that this is dated and not ‘user-friendly’. They suggested Garamond.

What do you think?