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Different Kinds of Writing Fonts

Your choice of font is important in business and personal communication because it reflects your professionalism. The type of font you use also affects the viewer's ability to read the text comfortably and quickly. You can download thousands of fonts free at FontFox and 1001 Free Fonts.

Serif

The horizontal angled flow of serif fonts naturally guide the reader's eye from one word to the next, facilitating an easier and faster read. Serif fonts include old style, transitional, slab serif and modern fonts and are widely used in books, newspapers, magazines and long bodies of text because of their readability.

Old Style and Transitional

Old style fonts are based on cursive handwriting styles that date back to the 18th century and feature elaborate and swirling lines that give the text a feminine look. There is only a small variation in the thickness of the lines. Old style fonts have a diagonal axis with angled serifs (the curly endings at the top and bottom of letters). Old style and script fonts are created to emulate brushes, pencils, pens, ink and other forms of manual writing. Examples of old style fonts include Garamond, Goudy Old Style and Palatino. As the name implies, transitional fonts mark the beginning of a less horizontal text in favour of a more vertical text with straighter serifs and a slightly greater variation between the thickness and thinness of the lines. Common transitional serif fonts include Times Roman and Baskerville.

Slab Serif and Modern

Slab serif or "Egyptian" fonts display little contrast between thinness and thickness of lines with thick serifs rendering a bold, rectangular and more masculine look than old style and transitional fonts. Examples of Slab serif font types include Clarendon, Rockwell and Courier. Modern serif fonts have a dramatic contrast between thick and thin lines, featuring long and slim serifs offset by heavy, vertical lines. Examples of Modern serif fonts include Bodoni and Century Schoolbook. Modern serif fonts are typically more difficult to read than old style and transitional serif fonts.

Sans Serif

The word "sans" means without in French. Sans serif fonts have no serif or variation in the thickness and thinness of their lines, rendering a more mechanical look than serif fonts. Sans serif fonts are used for online text because they have proven to be more legible on computer screens than serif fonts. Sans serif fonts have also begun to replace serif types for headings because the look is cleaner.

Designer

Designer fonts are considered decorative and can be used effectively to enhance posters, papers, presentations or websites. However, because they are more difficult to read than regular fonts, they are best used minimally for titles or single words, rather than for a long body of text. There are thousands of designer fonts which can be funny, weird or irregular.

Guidlelines

The best fonts are often the ones most commonly used. For best results, limit yourself to one or two font styles within the same body of work. Using too many different font styles can give your writing a cluttered, messy appearance.

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About the Author

Tracy Stefan began writing professionally in 2007, with work appearing on various websites. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and performing arts from the Evergreen State College. Stefan is also a graduate of Dell'Arte.