Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Deciding on serif vs. sans serif, part of InDesign: EPUB Typography.
- It's often said that Serifs are more readable than Sans Serifs. There have been many readability studies but none have conclusively proved this. But it is true that body text is usually set in the Serif face which may of course be a self-fulfilling argument. With low-resolution screens, a Sans Serif type will suffer the least, mainly because there's less to be distorted. In the past this led to the advice that Sans Serifs were better for screen type. However, in recent years, increased screen resolutions and retina displays mean that Serif faces can be rendered equally well.
There are many factors beyond whether a typeface has Serifs or not. More important to readability than the Serif versus San Serif issue is the interplay of variables like line length, line height, typeface style, and size. So if you take care of everything else either a Serif or a Sans will work. That said, Serifs are more commonly used for body text. A 2013 study by Smashing Magazine looked at type usage of major websites.
Not exactly what we're covering, but related. It found that Serif and Sans Serif were equally popular for headlines, but that nearly two-thirds of the websites analyzed used Serif for body copy. It's also worth mentioning that the iBooks app has six built-in Serif fonts to just one Sans Serif. One final point, because fine Serif's can erode on screen, screen types may have heavier Serifs. Here we see the print version, Baskerville, super-imposed on the heavier weight of the screen version, Libre Baskerville.
Note: While most of the lessons are centered on reflowable EPUBs, specific issues for fixed-layout EPUBs are called out along the way.
- Embedding fonts
- Considering legibility and readability
- Choosing font styles
- Scaling type
- Setting color and contrast
- Threading text
- Alignment and spacing
- Incorporating typographic details: drop caps, bullets, and more