• bethderbidge

The Design Blog: Fonts / Typefaces

In our first instalment of The Design Blog, Nifty's creative executive Beth Derbidge offers her opinions on typefaces.

Serif or Sans Serif?

Every font has a unique personality and purpose. As a graphic designer, it

is vital you know which font matches the intended tone of communication.


Serif fonts represent tradition, class and sets a formal tone. A serif is the small extra stroke found at the end of the main vertical and horizontal strokes of some letters.

Serif fonts have always been used for printed materials as it’s easier for

the eye to travel over text, with this traditional font dating back to the 1400s

and the invention of the printing press.

However, this font in particular does not work well on web designs as the resolution of the font can be fuzzy and hard to read. Examples of the font that have been used since the mid 18th century are ‘Baskerville’ and ‘Times New Roman’. Serif fonts are a great choice for businesses that want to be seen as trustworthy, established and reliable.

Sans Serif

If serif fonts are all about embracing tradition, sans serif fonts move away

from tradition in favour of modernisation. Serif fonts are where the small strokes are removed, hence the name ‘sans’ (French for ‘without’).

Many major companies rebranded from serif to sans serif - one of which being Google, who launched their sans serif-based logo in 2015. Many brands enjoy using Sans Serif because they are used to indicate something clean, minimal, friendly and modern. Popular examples of the font are ‘Helvetica’, ‘Gill Sans’ and ‘Futura’.

While Sans Serif is heavily used on websites for large groups of text, it is also used in many logos. Did you know that Sans Serif fonts are generally easier for children to read because they're simpler?

Slab Serif

Another Serif type, ‘Slab serif’ is characterised by thick, bold-like serifs. If

you want your brand to stand out from others, this could be a choice for


Slab serif represents a trendy, contemporary and friendly personality.

Slab serif was used mainly for display purposes, the bold characteristics

intended to grab the reader’s attention on posters. Slab serif fonts were

also often used in typewriters, with probably the most common font being ‘Courier’.

Getting Your Font Right

Is your brand elegant, formal or sophisticated? These are traits often associated with Script. They're intended to look like they were handwritten or

like calligraphy.

If you need to combine script with other typefaces, try serif or sans serif. Script fonts are mainly used in logos, titles or invitations because, due to their lack of readability, they are not a great choice for body copy. They were commonly used in advertising in Europe and North America in the 1970s. Coca-Cola and Ford, on the other hand, are two companies that used a calligraphy font called 'Spencerian’. Other examples of casual script types are 'Brush Script', 'Kaufmann' and 'Mistral'.

Want Some Help?

We can help define which typefaces best fit your brand, messaging, objectives and audience. So, if you're struggling to find the right font for your business, get in touch with a member of the Nifty team today.

If you'd like to know more about our PR and marketing services, get in touch with one of the Nifty team today. Don't forget to stay up-to-date on all our latest news, opinion and offers by joining the Nifty family on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.