Boost logo

Boost :

From: Joel (joel_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-09-30 21:05:56

Eric Niebler wrote:

>> 3. Sans serif text is harder to read. You should use a font with
>> serifs for the body text and sans serif fonts for headings.
> This issue was discussed on the boost-docs list. I put up a side-by-side
> comparison of serif and sans-serif documentation, and without exception,
> everyone there found sans-serif to be both more attractive *and* easier
> to read than serif, even those who initially expressed doubt. If you
> feel strongly about this point, I suggest you re-open the discussion on
> boost-docs. Many people you would need to convice loiter there.

Here are the points raised in the boost-docs list:

<Eric Niebler>
The choice of font has a strong influence on the look and feel. I encourage everyone to
take a second to compare the serif style to the sans-serif and say which they like better.
(My vote goes for sans-serif.)

<Rene Rivera>
Definitely sans-serif is best. Any typographer will tell you that for low-res situations
sans-serif is always the best choice. If you have the luxury of high-res typesetting of a
book printing, then can you go serif.

<Joel de Guzman>
Sans-Serif is best for 72-DPI text. Serif gives a more traditional look
on printed text and I wouldn't mind seing serif in PDFs. On screen, I
tend to use a bigger serif font to make it easier to read. The extra
strokes on small fonts (e.g times) cause eye fatigue. Sans-serif keeps
it simple, but not simpler.

<Dave Abrahams>
I like the sans-serif font, even though I haven't seen your choice of
serif font. FWIW, though, choice of font *within* serif/sans-serif
can have a profound impact too.

<Vladimir Prus>
Looking at the experiment, I'd say sans-serif is indeed better. And PDF output
uses serif for body text anyway.


Obviously, I am with the sans-serif camp. I could go on and actually
cite and provide you with links that will substantiate the sans-serif
choice, but it's very easy to google. Try "serif sans serif choice
typographer" and you'll find lots of info regarding which is best
for screen and print. To save you from the trouble, you will find
something like:


Serif or sans serif?
For continuous reading in print, serif fonts are generally more readable than sans serif.
However, on the web, the opposite is true. Serifs are tiny, subtle strokes which, on
screen in a small size, become a rather crude series of little square bitmaps. Their
absence makes the font more readable.


Joel de Guzman

Boost list run by bdawes at, gregod at, cpdaniel at, john at