Serif Or Sans-Serif?

When you really sit down and take a look at logos and professional logo design examples, you may begin to wonder if serif or sans-serif typefaces are best for designing logos. When you look at logo design and its purpose, the answer is apparent. Let’s take a look at serif and sans-serif typefaces and which one is better for designing logos.


Simplicity & Refinement

If you read my post about simple logos and their effectiveness, then you’ll compare both font styles and determine which one is more refined. It’s a no-brainer that sans-serif fonts are less intricate. They are more simplified forms, which straight edges and angles, and a lack of frills, like serifs. If this was solely what we ere basing our answer on, the winner would be sans-serif typefaces, hands down.

serif or sans-serif


Purpose has a lot of jurisdiction over how your logo is designed to begin with. For example, if you were designing a logo for a traditional bank, serif typefaces are great for traditional logos. The serifs add a steady base to the bottom of the logo, giving the logo the look of steadiness and stability. Regions Bank is a perfect example, but you can look at other banks who have been around for years. Fonts like Garamond, Clarendon, Times, Caslon, and other traditional typefaces work well here.


Your logo says a lot about your business. After all, it’s the representation of your entire company. If your company’s message is that you’re friendly and approachable, a script or handwritten typeface may be in order. The problem with script and handwritten typefaces is that they can be overly complicated and difficult to read. Have you ever had trouble reading someone’s handwriting? I sure have, and the same goes for logos. If they can’t read who you are, the message gets lost in translation.


Other Options

You can go for pictorial logos, which can transcend language barriers, but it has to be something that everyone recognizes. Imagine being a Spanish speaking person n our country trying to find Target while driving down the road. They may not know what Target is in English, but when they see the target symbol or logo graphic while driving down the street, they’ll know they’ve found what they’re looking for.

Using abstract fonts for logos is a bad idea. Those typefaces that are so bold that you can barely tell what the letter is at all is a bad approach. The flip side to this is using a typeface that is so thin that it almost disappears at small sizes makes it difficult to implement. It’s hard to use those typefaces over colors.

Sans-serif Offers Less Problems

A medium weight to bold sans-serif typeface is the optimal choice. I want to make it clear that this isn’t the end all solution for logo design. However, this choice is a good one for several reasons. The 1st is that it is easy to read at large and small sizes. The second is that you avoid potentially annoying situations with printing. Printing reverse type with thin weight fonts or serif typefaces means you’ll encounter some bleed issues that you’ll have to account for. Third is that sans-serif typefaces are usually straightforward, showing each letter in its simplest forms.


Special Cases

Simple isn’t always the ultimate solution. One logo that comes to mind for me is the Chick-fil-a logo. It is a script or brush typeface. If I’m not mistaken, it’s also custom made. One thing that stands out is that the face of a chicken is built into the first letter C. This combines type with an image, making the logo iconic, unique, and memorable.


Truthfully, the sky is the limit in terms of logos and your creativity. No matter which typeface you choose, it’s the designer’s job to deliver a great logo design solution that has all of the benefits we’ve discussed in this post. As long as your customers can read it, can understand the overall message, can remember it so they come back, and it represents your company and what it stands for, you’re on the right track.

What do you think? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Do you prefer serif or sans-serif typefaces for logo design?