Online or In Print: Choosing the Right Font

There are are certain font styles which are more appropriate for online writing. Sans Serif fonts do not have the small tails at the ends of letters.

When presenting a piece of writing to the audience, there are a number of important factors for the author to consider. The grammar and syntax of the writing should be checked to ensure that the content of the piece is explained clearly and succinctly. The organization of the content should be logical and explained well enough for the target audience to understand the author’s point. It is also important that the formatting of the piece doesn’t detract from the overall cohesion of the components. For example, a piece of writing with multiple points should have multiple paragraphs to explain each unique thought. In addition, the author should consider whether the audience will be reading this piece of writing from a printed source or a computer screen. The type of font the author chooses should be specific to the type of media the writing will be presented to the audience in.

There is a specific family of fonts which were developed for writing that appears in print. Serif fonts like Times New Roman, Georgia, Bookman and Garamond are designed to make printed text easier to read. These fonts have small lines and tails at the end of many of the letters. Use serif fonts for any kind of printed text including books, pamphlets and resumes.

Sans Serif fonts such as Arial, Veranda, Trebuchet, Tahoma and Century Gothic do not have small lines or tails at the ends of the letters. Fonts in this family were not designed for use in printed material. Instead, these fonts were created to appear blockier than serif fonts and are ideal for presenting writing on a computer screen. For posting online articles, online resumes or ebooks, use sans serif fonts. This will ensure that the audience will not struggle to read the online content because of the style of the font.

While it is acceptable to use both serif and sans serif fonts within a single piece of writing, the main text should always be in the style of font which best corresponds to the media the audience is using to view it. The majority of the content should be legible to the audience or else the audience may get frustrated and stop reading. However, it can be acceptable to use sans serif fonts for the headings or titles of books. Conversely, it is sometimes appropriate to use serif fonts for small blocks of text from online sources.

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Sharla Smith
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Posted on Jul 30, 2010