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In typography there are two main typefaces, serif and sans-serif.
What is a Serif?
Serifs are the small lines attached to the end of strokes in a letter or symbol.
What does Sans mean?
The word “sans” is an English preposition meaning “without”. So the word Sans-Serif simply means without serifs.
So your typeface either has serifs or it doesn’t.
When to use them?
Sometimes this is personal preference. Other times it depends on the situation. What I would suggest is to look at what other people use in that field to help you decide.
Example: You’re making a logo for a Wedding Planner and everything that you look up uses serifs. That’s an easy way to help you decide.
But let’s be clear there’s a reason why they choose one over the other and you need to know why as well. We don’t want you just following everybody around aimlessly.
So this is as simple as I can break it down.
Serif – formal, elegance, high end
Sans-Serif – casual, online, everyday use