The Best Typefaces to Use Online

January 2nd, 2010 by Bob Bly

You always read the old rule ?use serif type which is easier to read than sans serif.?

That may be true in print but it?s not online.

Reason: the lower resolution of the screen vs. print renders the serif imperfectly, making it less attractive and more difficult than sans serif to read.

With that in mind, here are the best typefaces for online marketing:

>> For e-mail marketing messages, use either 12-point Arial or Verdana.

>> Do not use Times Roman for web pages ? it?s a serif type and difficult to read online.

>> Recommended typefaces for web sites include Helvetica, Arial, Verdana, and other popular san serif fonts.

>> If your web pages are too light to read on screen or when printed, use a boldface font like Helvetica Bold Condensed.

>> The most common error in web page design is using too small a type size. Use at least 12-point type. Even 16-point won?t look awkward, and larger is easier to read than smaller.

>> For web page headlines, use Impact or Arial Bold in 2 or more point sizes larger than the body copy.

>> Avoid gray or colors other than black for headlines, except if you want to emphasize a word or short phrase within the headline, put it in red.

>> Georgia is a good font for subheads. Bold Times Roman can work for copy subheads in a pinch. As can bold Arial.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 at 11:03 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

27 responses about “The Best Typefaces to Use Online”

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  3. David said:

    I think the serif vs. sans issue is not quite so simple. Serifs can be helpful in longer lines of text as a guide to the eye–so if the margins are wide ones, it can still be helpful.

    However, a slab serif or “Egyptian” serif is easy to render even on screens. The typestyles with large variations between thick and thin line widths are the most difficult to render on screen. Note that the sans serif designs you suggest are all essentially of uniform line thicknesses.

    Of course, the entire arena of font selection for online use is a very difficult one still, and many otherwise perfectly great choices are not practical to use on a Web-delivered medium simply because most target systems will substitute fonts they have installed rather than the font originally specified.

  4. S.P. Gass said:

    Bob, thanks for this post. I tried switching headlines to Arial and the rest of the text to Verdana and think it is a big improvement over what I had before.

  5. Jerry Bernhart said:

    I’ve always used Times Roman for text and I think it looks good and reads well, but Arial makes better headlines, in my opinion.

  6. William Reynolds said:

    I’m an Arial man myself. Except for video or radio scripts, where I’m still using Courier since it’s the industry standard for those formats.

  7. Bob Bly said:

    William: Of course these recommendations are for online type. Offline I use Arial Bold or Impact for headlines and New Courier or Times Roman for body copy.

  8. Mark@School Grants said:

    I usually use Verdana at normal size. It’s much more appealing and give freshing look to your site. Moreover, it’s proven even to all my offline activities, like for my term papers.

  9. Arun Pal Singh said:

    I just love Verdana. On some websites I use Trebuchet MS for Headlines.

    Nice tips.

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  11. rain boots said:

    Personally, I really don’t like times new roman. It’s too formal for me. Would prefer something like tahoma or verdana as a font. It’s more readable now.

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  18. Ka??thane Arçelik Servisi said:

    Thank you Bob. I usually like to use Tahoma in writing. Arial honestly do not appeal to me. Maybe I do not think is for professional.

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    I would like to use Tahoma or Comic Sans if possible. These two look more better than any other typefaces. Overall, I like to use something that is readable and is not a pain in your eyes.

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