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Which Fonts Are Easiest to Read in Print?


All fonts fall into one of two camps: serif, which are good for blocks of printed text, and sans-serif, which are easier to read online. Serif fonts have decorative "feet" at the end of letter strokes, while sans-serif fonts do not. With the explosion of online content, the balance of power between the two font families has shifted. While serif fonts used to be more popular, the proliferation of onscreen reading material has made sans-serif typefaces (such as Arial and Helvetica) all the rage with designers. However, if you're designing a webpage with long blocks of text that a user might want to print out or if you're putting together printed materials, consider using a serif font to make reading a little easier on the eyes.

Times New Roman

Stanley Morison, Starling Burgess and Victor Lardent designed this popular font for a British newspaper called The Times, according to Prepressure.com. First used in 1932, Times New Roman is still a favorite for modern book and newspaper printing. Consider Times New Roman if you want your publication to look down-to-earth, practical and trustworthy. If you're bored of this tried and true font but want to achieve a similar look, Prepressure.com recommends Plantin and Musee.

Garamond

Garamond is a popular font family with a long history and many variations. According to Prepressure.com, early French printer and font designer Claude Garamond (1480-1561) designed the typeface that acts as the basis for the modern Garamond fonts used today. Tony Stan designed ITC Garamond in 1975 for the International Typeface Corporation, and Robert Slimbach introduced the Adobe version in 1989. Use Garamond if you want to convey elegance without sacrificing readability.

Georgia

This font was designed by Matthew Carter in 1996 for Microsoft, according to Urbanfonts. Georgia looks a lot like Times New Roman, but its design makes Georgia the more readable of the two. Urbanfonts explains that Georgia has a large x height, which means that it has relatively large lower-case letters to improve readability. Actually designed for use as a serif onscreen font, Georgia works well online or in print.

About the Author

A professional writer since 2006, Colleen Reinhart has held positions in technical writing and marketing. She also writes lifestyle, health and business articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Business degree from the University of Waterloo, and a Master's degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Toronto.

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