Difference Between Serif and Sans Serif

Main Difference – Serif vs. Sans Serif

Serif and Sans Serif are two general categories of typefaces or fonts, and almost all the fonts we use in typing can be classified into these two categories. Though many of us are familiar with these two terms, what most of us really don’t know is the definite difference between serif and sans serif. The main difference between serif and sans serif is apparent is in their names itself. Serif is a little decorative stroke that extends from the letters. Therefore, serif can be described as fonts that contain small finishing strokes at the end of a character. Sans is the French word for without. Thus, sans serif fonts can be described as the fonts that do not have decorative strokes at the end of the characters.Serif vs Sans Serif

What is Serif

Serifs are small curvy, decorative strokes that can be seen at the end of a character. Thus, the serif fonts refer to fonts that contain a little decorative stroke at the end of the characters. This stroke can be in the form of a tail, sharp or blunt, plain or decorative. However, each different font has some distinct characteristics that make them identifiable from the other serif fonts. Some common examples of serif fonts include Times New Roman, Georgia, Rockwell, and Cambria. Serif fonts are often described to be elegant, classic and formal.

It is believed that serif wants help increase the readability as well as a reading of a text. When we are reading a long passage written in small fonts, serif fonts are said to be more useful. Therefore, serif fonts are widely seen in printed works such as newspapers, magazines, and books.Difference Between Serif and Sans Serif

What is Sans Serif

Sans is a French preposition meaning without. Therefore, sans serif refers to fonts without a little decorative stroke at the end. These types of fonts are thought to reflect simplicity, and they look direct and precise. In addition, they include a variety of widths and shapes. Some common examples of Sans serif texts include Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, and Tahoma.

Sans serif fonts are believed to more suited to the web than printed works. This is because, it is easier to read on a screen. In addition, sans serif is more suitable for small texts.  When selecting a font for young children, sans serif is preferable, as the simple fonts are easy to recognize.Main Difference - Serif vs Sans Serif

Difference Between Serif and Sans Serif


Serif is a category of fonts that is characterized by a little decorative stroke at the end of the characters.

Sans serif is a category of fonts that does not contain decorative stroke at the end of the characters.

Attributed Qualities

Serif is considered to be classic, formal, elegant, and confident.

Sans serif is considered to be modern, direct, clean and minimal.


Serif is widely used in printed works such as newspapers, magazines and books.

Sans serif is widely used in the web.

Size of the text

Serif is used for large texts.

Sans serif is used for small texts.


Some common examples for Serif include Times New Roman, Georgia, Rockwell, and Cambria.

Some common examples for Sans Serif include Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, and Tahoma.

Image Courtesy:

“Times New Roman” by GearedBull at English Wikipedia  via


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