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Why Sans Serif is Usually Better

Sans serif is easier for people to read so more of the brain's resources are spent on your message. Less visual complexity to process means the human brain has an easier time translating symbols into ideas. This means the brain focuses more on the message than on deciphering symbol meaning. Books produced for children are often printed with sans serif text as teachers claim that the simplicity of the letter shapes makes them more recognisable ( Coghill, 1980) , Walker, 2001).
Sans serif are better on the web. When typefaces are digitised for use on computers, the letter forms have to fit within a relatively small pixel grid, often leading to what are called the "jaggies” ( Rubinstein, 1988 ). Many web professionals such as graphic designers claim that this relatively low resolution cannot render effectively enough the fine finishing strokes of serif typefaces, and that sans serif typefaces lend themselves more naturally to being digitised, and come out cleaner and thus more legible.
Sans serif is better at small sizes. Sans serif fonts survive reproduction and smearing because of their simple forms. Some research has shown that serifs may actually become visual noise at very small sizes, detracting from the main body shape of the letter form ( Morris, et al., 2001 ). Other factors such as stroke thickness, counter size and x-height are likely to have a far greater effect in preserving the overall identity of a letter form whether it be through smearing or size reduction ( Poulton, 1972 ; Reynolds, 1979 ).

Serifs are just an historical artifact. Many researchers attribute the origin of serifs to the Romans, some claiming that "Roman masons … terminated each stroke in a slab of stone with a serif to correct the uneven appearance made by their tools”. ( Craig, 1980; in Bix, 2002 ). Others state that "design by brush before execution in stone gave rise to … tapering serifs at the terminals of many strokes”. ( Bigelow, 1981; in Rubinstein, 1988, p10 ). What ever their origin, serifs have been around for so long that perceived legibility is very likely to have been affected by familiarity ( Tinker, 1963 ; Zachrisson, 1965 ).

That all said, if you wish to convey a certain kind of formality or "newsy" look, sometimes serifs can come in quite handy.

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