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My preference on serifs:

by Petruchio (Vicar)
on Apr 25, 2008 at 09:36 UTC ( #682771=poll: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Vote on this poll

[bar] 67/36%
[bar] 118/64%
185 total votes
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Re: My preference on serifs:
by zentara (Archbishop) on Apr 25, 2008 at 12:41 UTC


      I shot the serif, but I did not shoot the deputy.

      • another intruder with the mooring in the heart of the Perl

Re: My preference on serifs:
by Tux (Canon) on Apr 25, 2008 at 12:38 UTC

    ooooh, a sensible subject. For me this goes deeeep. I hate serif-fonts (esp Courier and Times) so much that I:

    • Do not have a newspaper
    • Do not read customer letters and/or docs before converting to sans-serif
    • Risk windows boxes to be unbootable by removing Courier and Times New Roman
    • Fix all browser CSS files to be ignorant about these two most ugly fonts
    • Dig in registries and config files to replace courier with Letter-Gothic, Lucida Console, Liberation mono or any other acceptable available font
    • Uninstall software that won't allow me to disable courier

    So this poll didn't make me doubt what to pick

    Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

      Wow, have you thought about maybe having some share-time with someone? Tell me, how was your relationship with your father? And your mother, did she tell you she loved you as a child?


Re: My preference on serifs:
by ciderpunx (Vicar) on Apr 25, 2008 at 10:49 UTC
    Surely MS Comic Sans is the finest font? That makes your publications look really professional and slick. Just like clip-art. AND WRITING IN ALL CAPS WITH A PROFUSION OF EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!
    Linux, perl, punk rock, cider:
      It may be odd, but I program in comic sans. I find it the most readable font. I get a lot of weird looks when people see me doing this, but I prefer it.

      I like Comic Sans MS in the right place it can be very suitable for personal letters and emails, more like a handwritten note or letter.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by jhourcle (Prior) on Apr 25, 2008 at 14:24 UTC

    I refuse to vote without context. I prefer serifs on large amounts of text (books, newspapers, content portion of websites, etc.), but I prefer san-serif on headings and the like where where's only a small amount of text (I'd count ClearviewHwy in this, but the lower case 'l' clearly has a serif).

    And speaking of 'l', for passwords and commands to be typed in -- I prefer serifs because I can better differentiate between 1/l/I ... but I need to use something like ProFont so I can better differentiate between 0/O.

      Yes, that last exactly. I voted "serif", because I think serif fonts are more likely to have clearly distinguishable l-I-1, but that sort of thing is the real factor (0-O and {}/() depend less on serifs, but influence my font choice, too). If a sans serif font managed to differentiate them, great.
Re: My preference on serifs:
by kyle (Abbot) on Apr 25, 2008 at 11:54 UTC

    It depends on where I'm writing! Readability is more important than any style consideration (exceptions apply, of course), so that will drive my choice. Some fonts are easier to read on paper than they are on the (relatively low resolution) screen. Google "serif usability" to read all about it.

    As an aside, I think it's hilarious that we're still using fonts whose designs were influenced by the fact that they were originally rendered by chisels.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by apl (Monsignor) on Apr 25, 2008 at 11:56 UTC
    My attitude is "Que serif sera", whatever serif will be...
Re: My preference on serifs:
by rhesa (Vicar) on Apr 25, 2008 at 13:25 UTC
    Since I'm Dutch, I prefer not to “cross the line” („over de schreef gaan”).

    From Wikipedia's entry on Serif: “Webster's Third New International Dictionary traces "serif" to the Dutch noun schreef, meaning line, stroke of the pen, related to the verb schrappen: to delete, strike through. Schreef now also means "serif" in Dutch.”

    I'd suggest that schrappen would be more aptly translated as to scratch (although to scrape is probably even more closely related).

Re: My preference on serifs:
by educated_foo (Vicar) on Apr 25, 2008 at 13:55 UTC
    I'm more of a Cherub fan, because the Seraphs' continual singing kinda gets to me. Oh, wait...
Re: My preference on serifs:
by Joost (Canon) on Apr 25, 2008 at 23:37 UTC

      Thanks Joost

      I have found as my years advance and my eyesight becomes not so sharp as it once was great difficulty in differentiating between the round and curly brackets in some fonts and also zero and the lowercase letter o.

      Inconsolata seems to fit the bill for me and it can be downloaded with an Open Font Licence.

      That's sans-serif? I look at your screen-shot and I see serifs at the top and bottom of the lower-case I's and L's. and the numeral 1. Also, if I follow the link I can see serifs on capital I and upper/lower J's, as well. Maybe it would be more fair to call it a "partial-serif" font?

      Does look nice, though, as it has serifs where they're most useful (and love the slashed-zero).

      ------------ :Wq Not an editor command: Wq
      The monospaced (sans-)serif font looks nice indeed.

      Serifs are ok if not too pronounced. I'm mainly concerned about differentiating ambiguous characters.

      Once I got so fed up with fonts that I took a generic courier, found a truetype editor and modified the font till I was reasonably happy. Actually it could use quite a bit more work, but its what I use for coding. Just looked at Inconsolata and think I'll give it a try.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by etcshadow (Priest) on Apr 25, 2008 at 21:10 UTC
    I much prefer serifs, particularly in the context of code and the like, wherein the ability to quickly and easily discern the difference between the numeral one (1), the lowercase L (l), and the pipe (|) is of particular importance. In most prose text, the pipe character isn't even present, and there is almost always sufficient context to quickly discern a numeral from a letter, but in code, these concerns are EXTREMELY relevant.

    Also, for what it's worth, more serif fonts than sans-serif fonts contain a numeral 0 which is easy to discern from a capital letter O. That, and any font I use for code has got to be monospaced, which is a limitation that yields a higher portion of serif fonts, as well.

    Of course, the need to display code well covers almost every general purpose text application I use, since, being a programmer, almost any general purpose text application is likely to end up containing code (email, IM, text editing, terminal consoles, etc).

    ------------ :Wq Not an editor command: Wq
Re: My preference on serifs:
by ambrus (Abbot) on Apr 25, 2008 at 13:12 UTC

    Serif. Always. It's much better.

      I personally believe that sans-serif is more readable, but not for long running texts. Thus it is reasonable to apply a sans-serif fontface to sectioning headers, captions and the like. Most importantly, it's not only my personal belief, but a common rule of good typography.

      If you can't understand the incipit, then please check the IPB Campaign.

        Wow, apart from the IPB bit :) that's exactly what I was going to say. Of course, it's misinterpreted from time to time. One place I worked had their usability "experts" ponder that exact advice for some time, then decide that since long running texts were against corporate policy anyway, maybe they should pick a typeface that would encourage the composition of concise, clear documents!

        Disaster ensued:

        Dear Fred

        Your new account has been created. The automatically-generated password is b1l0cI4l1I - please log in and change this to a memorable but secure password at your earliest convenience.

        InnoCorp IT Services

        Neatly typeset in Arial.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by wolfger (Deacon) on Apr 25, 2008 at 15:37 UTC

    Voting for serif just to bring balance to the force...

    I honestly couldn't tell you which I prefer, because I have no clue. I use the defaults in almost every case. If I don't use the defaults, I browse fonts until I find what I like. Serif, sans-serif, a perl monk cares not about these things.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by amarquis (Curate) on Apr 25, 2008 at 18:50 UTC
    This poll needs context! Different mediums have different typefaces and styles that look/render better on them. Screens and serifs don't mix well, but serifs look fine in print, for example.
Re: My preference on serifs:
by chexmix (Hermit) on Apr 25, 2008 at 16:49 UTC
    Bad pun deleted by punster, who looked up and saw that he'd been beaten to the pun


Re: My preference on serifs:
by Nkuvu (Priest) on Apr 25, 2008 at 18:07 UTC

    Context is everything.

    For reading code, sans-serif wins every time. Preferably a font designed for code (Bitstream Vera Sans, for example (and there was another that I recently found and was using, then switched work computers and forgot what the name of the new font was)). For articles, books, general language use, I prefer serif fonts.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by tom10animal (Monk) on Apr 26, 2008 at 16:40 UTC

    I actually prefer to have all my text transliterated to Tengwar so serifs become a non-issue...

    All joking aside though, it depends on the context and readability (can I tell the difference between 1/I/l/| and 0/O and ()/{}?) so serifs aren't a huge issue it all comes down to readability. The most important question for me is whether the font is monospaced or proportional. I actually prefer monospaced fonts even when I'm not programming, because if I'm not coding it probably means that I'm writing with a proportional font that crams as much text in the smallest area possible (like Times New Roman) after 48 hours of straight work after drinking several pots of coffee at 3:00 AM the day my final research paper (in a subject that I don't even care about, no less) for the semester is due. As a fourth year University student, I often have nightmares which center around double spaced pages of 12 point Times New Roman.

    In any case, I think most can agree that MS Comic Sans is an especially horrible font, and its eradication would be a blessing for humanity.

    Tom "Turkey" Schaffer ( : >~

Re: My preference on serifs:
by tweetiepooh (Hermit) on Apr 28, 2008 at 15:34 UTC
    I'd agree that the context is important.

    I prefer serif when reading blocks of text especially in hardcopy as the serif's do their job of helping the eye follow the line.

    In other contexts a sans-serif just looks nicer.

    When working at a hospital in the early 90's we did a survey for our documentation and most folk preferred 12pt sans-serif. Well until they had to read long documents when 10pt serif was more readable and used less paper.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by samizdat (Vicar) on Apr 29, 2008 at 13:29 UTC
    Serif's Up! What? Oh, okay, I'll put away my board. Back to work in my serif's cube.

    Depends on the weight of the font, too. My company mandates the use of an abominable sans-serif 44-pt font called Arial Black for all presentations, and it's all squished together into unreadability.

    Personally, for presentation and docs, I like to use a wide serif font called (on M$) Bookman Old Style, with a few tenths of a point more width between characters. Even better, Railroad Roman. Of course, I grew up loving trains, so that's a no-brainer.

    For code, however, I want a monospaced sans-serif font. I like ScITE as an editor because I can chose from a wide variety of fonts. I agree there's a definite issue with character confusion; haven't found a solution for that.

    Don Wilde
    "There's more than one level to any answer."

      Liberation font family comes with Liberation Mono, which has very distinguishable 1, l, and I. It also has a little more line space than Lucida Console, so it reads with more air.

      For matching document text, there is Liberation Sans. The only problem I have with that is that there is still some strange kerning issues, but at least it is freely available for both *nix and M$Winblows, so all documents look the same. And it reads perfect for headings as well as for long running text. I now also use it for all fonts in my browser (yes, "serif" is mapped to "Liberation Sans")

      With these fonts, I see no excuse left to stick to any serif font, except maybe for the occasional header in some glossy advertisement nobody wants to read anyway.

      Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn
        Ummm... well, it's certainly usable. Certainly the license is better than a proprietary license. My editor (ScITE) boldfaces a number of keywords, and those look (let's be charitable) amateurish.

        Fortunately, since it's "open source," there's an opening for somebody to create "ReallyLiberating" as an update to "Liberation"... :D

        Don Wilde
        "There's more than one level to any answer."
      I agree there's a definite issue with character confusion; haven't found a solution for that.

      Looking for the last "font for programmers" that I tried, a quick google search turned up which contains links to it and several other alternatives. Enjoy.

      - tye        

Re: My preference on serifs:
by sasdrtx (Friar) on Apr 30, 2008 at 02:22 UTC
    A few semi-random thoughts:
    1. Georgia is my favorite font. Vera Serif is second (although it's my browser default). This might hint at my vote.
    2. Mono-spaced serif fonts are ugly. Courier New is hideodeous*. Lucida Console replaces it wherever I need monospace.
    3. Verdana & Tahoma are nominally sans-serif, but serif capital I, and the numeral 1 (and Arial does the latter as well).
    4. Why should code be in a mono-spaced font? Because code started out on punched cards? Yes, it takes a huge number of spaces to indent. Maybe tabs are the answer.

    *If you think I can't spell, maybe you haven't seen Wicked yet.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by sandboxed (Sexton) on Apr 30, 2008 at 16:38 UTC

    For an anarchist, it'll be always better a *Sans-Serif city*...

    Guess my bless ;o)

Re: My preference on serifs:
by parv (Parson) on May 01, 2008 at 00:51 UTC

    I really love Palatino font on paper. It is not very readable for large area of text on screen, but works fine in application menus & such. For screen serif fonts, my preference order is: Georgia, Bitstream Vera Serif, URW Bookman L -- depending on availability & rendering.

    I can tolerate sans-serif only in low quantities (unless it is a good monospaced font). This is where I am quite grateful for Opera to allow per host|domain user customisation. I don't care for any sans-serif print font at size 12 or 14, so I would like that to be the same as screen font: Trebuchet MS, Bitstream Vera Sans, DejaVu LGC Sans.

    For code, I really like a good monospaced font, whether it is serif, sans-serif, or mixed. Nimbus Mono is horrible, which is not as bad as Courier, but Courier New is preferable given all three. My current favourites are: Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, and DejaVu LGC Sans Mono.

Re: My preference on serifs:
by bassplayer (Monsignor) on May 02, 2008 at 01:24 UTC
    fixed-width !


Re: My preference on serifs:
by spiritway (Vicar) on Apr 30, 2008 at 01:39 UTC
    Sans-serif is way too ambiguous for me. I need those hints that tell me it's an l, 1, or I. Or i and j, which often are distinguished only by an almost imperceptible length.
Re: My preference on serifs:
by rowdog (Curate) on Apr 28, 2008 at 19:40 UTC
    Sans is sexy but Serif is practical. I "know" that Serif is more readable because my mommy told me so. Seriously though, she teaches graphic design at a prestigious university and I prefer to defer to people who know more than I.

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