# Serif vs. sans serif

## Video: Serif vs. sans serif

Serif and Sans Serif, these are the two most basic kinds of letterforms. So let's start by looking at the differences between these two styles. First, let's define type with Serifs. These are the letters that have the little extenders sometimes called little feet. There is a small group of Serif typefaces. They're quite different from one another. But the one thing they have in common is that they are all Serif typefaces. Serifs are evident in the capital letters and the lowercase letters.

## Serif vs. sans serif

Serif and Sans Serif, these are the two most basic kinds of letterforms. So let's start by looking at the differences between these two styles. First, let's define type with Serifs. These are the letters that have the little extenders sometimes called little feet. There is a small group of Serif typefaces. They're quite different from one another. But the one thing they have in common is that they are all Serif typefaces. Serifs are evident in the capital letters and the lowercase letters.

The Serifs at the bottoms of the letters are also known as footers. Let's look at some differences. It's not really important right now that you know which typefaces are which. But I want to teach you to be a good type detective to know what details to look for when you're looking at a typeface. Here are lowercase Ls from five Serif typefaces. Let's look at some specific differences between them. Being a good type detective, you can see that the angles of the Serifs vary quite a bit.

Now let's look at the footers. You can see that their thickness and their width and their shape also vary. Let's look at the Serifs, and I want you to observe how the shapes and the weight of the Serifs vary. We're looking at these details greatly enlarged, but all of these details matter, because they affect how the typeface looks when it is set in a size suitable for reading. Now I'd like to explain the difference between two broad categories of Serif, what we call Bracketed and Unbracketed.

Unbracketed Serifs have a sharp 90 degree corner angle and Bracketed Serifs have a curved transition from the Serif to the stand. There is another category of Serifs called Slab Serifs and they are just what they sound like. Look at the differences between these examples of Slab Serif fonts. You can see different letter widths, different details, but there is one thing they all have in common. Their horizontal strokes, their Serifs, are the same width or weight as their vertical strokes.

Now let's take a look at Sans Serif. You can see that these letters are without the little feet. In French, Sans means without so Sans Serif means without Serifs. Sometimes we just call them Sans for short. Here are some well-known Sans Serif typefaces. Look closely, you can see that these examples have distinct differences from one another, but they all have one thing in common. They have no serifs. So now you have the broad strokes of type classification.

We'll go into more depth on type classification later on in this course. There are tens of thousands of typefaces in each of these categories that are available from the many type foundries and type sellers and no one can be familiar with all of them, not even me. But if you can learn to distinguish the important differences and characteristics of basic type styles, it will help you make smart choices in designing your projects. Being a good type detective and learning to see the different types of Serif and Sans Serif is the first step.

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#### This video is part of

Foundations of Typography

46 video lessons · 35507 viewers

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1. ### Introduction

9m 5s
1. Welcome
1m 58s
2. Why good typography matters
1m 55s
3. The power of type
1m 53s
4. The theory of typographic relativity
1m 53s
5. Getting the most out of this course
1m 26s
2. ### 1. Typographic Differentiation

23m 49s
1. Serif vs. sans serif
3m 27s
2. Display type vs. text type
3m 39s
3. Type history
2m 48s
4. Type classification
4m 8s
5. Other type categories
3m 24s
6. Guidelines for combining typefaces
3m 49s
7. Using cases
2m 34s
3. ### 2. The Language of Type

18m 28s
1. Anatomy: Parts and shapes of type
4m 35s
2. Size and measurements of type
2m 18s
3. Type families: Widths, weights, and slopes
3m 53s
4. Reviewing the terminology of type, based on function
3m 27s
5. Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises
4m 15s
4. ### 3. Spacing and Alignment

20m 27s
1. Kerning and kerning pairs
3m 33s
3m 49s
3. Exploring variations in type alignment
3m 55s
4. Hyphenation and justification
3m 13s
5. Indents, outdents, and hanging punctuation
2m 26s
6. Other typographic best practices
3m 31s
5. ### 4. Touching on Type Design

10m 3s
1. Where type begins: The mark of the hand
2m 28s
2. Related parts and shapes: Family resemblances
4m 35s
3. Designing a typeface
3m 0s
6. ### 5. Legibility and Readability

22m 19s
1. How legibility and readability differ
3m 48s
2. Examining factors affecting legibility
4m 46s
3. Hierarchy and functionality
4m 29s
4. Systematized hierarchy
3m 52s
5. Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points
2m 41s
6. Typographic abominations
2m 43s
7. ### 6. Typographic Composition

11m 8s
1. Opposing forces of typography
3m 8s
2. The grid: A structure for containing type
3m 6s
3. Contrast and scale
4m 54s
8. ### 7. Thinking with Type

9m 41s
1. Typographic expressiveness
3m 22s
2. The emotional impact of type
2m 47s
3. Three-dimensional type
3m 32s
9. ### 8. Specialized Uses

8m 55s
1. Working with numbers
2m 10s
2. Expert characters and analphabetic symbols
1m 56s
3. Using typography to navigate content
1m 51s
4. Using typography to navigate the environment
2m 58s
10. ### Final Thoughts

9m 14s
1. Managing fonts and building your type library
3m 14s
2m 31s
3. Breaking the rules
1m 41s
4. What's next
1m 48s

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