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Of these four categories, geometric fonts tend to be the least useful for body text[edit]

Bizarre claim, with nil justification. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:58, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Citation Needed[edit]

"Heiti (Chinese: 黑體): Literally meaning 'black type', the term probably derived from the mistranslation of Gothic as blackletter typeface, even though actual blackletter fonts have serifs."

Anyone can provide some references on this? I'm a Chinese and the term "black type" does not provoke any thought about the Blackletter from me. The Blackletter doesn't seem to have a direct translation in China.

However, after some (re)searching I found this: , which basically states the following ideas:

  • The name of "Heiti" presumably comes from the fact that Sans-Serif were used as very bold headings. Bold is black (as is in English).
  • The origin of Chinese Heiti presumably comes from western Sans-Serif fonts, and possibly indirectly via Japanese Gothic fonts.

Hope this could be used to improve the article.

--Ahyangyi (talk) 22:32, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. Perhaps if you find a moment, you could work it into the article? Finding someone else who understands enough English, Chinese, typography and Wikipedia may be difficult. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:03, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

"Sans-serifs, however, have acquired considerable acceptance for body text in Europe." -- Really? I don't agree. Is there any evidence?

Etymology removed[edit]

"sans" is the French word for "without" -- although "serif" is not a French word. And anyway, "sans" is used in English: Shakespeare "sans eyes, sans teeth, sans everything".

Good idea to get rid of the etymology, Tarquin. I tried doing this earlier, but someone put it back in again. Better luck this time. -- Heron

hehe. I generally like etymological detail, but here it seems very vague. When I'm next near my Fowler I'll look up what he says on "sans". -- Tarquin

Put in best available etymology. Fowler's Concise English Dictionary (best written English dictionary since Dr. Johnson's) had nothing to add. Ortolan88 16:02 Aug 3, 2002 (PDT)
What is the point of stating that the word "sans" comes from the latin word "sine"? Sine is not part of the word, and is completely irrelevant to the description of the font. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:15, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm.... sans-serif says that serif fonts have been proven easier to read, but serif suggests that this is not certain. Resolution? - montréalais

As long as "the (well documented) knowledge " is not referenced i suggest to write in the article that there is no prove (yet). If anyone has knowledge of a good documentation on this, please let me (and Wikipedia) know about it. Fantasy 09:55 Mar 17, 2003 (UTC)

Restoration of Sans-serif article[edit]

The typeface article was overloaded with information. I've moved the serif classification information to the serif page, and the sans-serif classification information to the sans-serif page. This organization system makes it far easier to find relevant information without sorting through the lengthy typeface article. Vontafeijos 04:06, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

LOL @[edit]

"Sans-serif fonts are typically suited for headlines but not for body text. Serifs help guide the eye along the line; the lack of serifs makes sans-serif fonts harder to read in large blocks of text." And yet Wikipedia uses sans-serif as the default font for body text, so everyone reads these words in sans-serif.

No, see, the rules reverse for on-screen type. Serifs look ugly on-screen because of the pixelation, so most websites tend to use sans-serif for a cleaner look. -Vontafeijos 16:05, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
Of course, it's possible to change the font Wikipdia uses (through user css) if the resolution of your monitor is high enough (a modern LCD and a relatively large default font size for example) or for printing. In fact, when I click the "Print preview..." menu, I get Wikipedia in a serif font. Shinobu 00:06, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

"Discussion" header removed[edit]

I just removed the "Discussion" section in the main page. It contained one link to a personal blog that had all of five comments, and seemed only useful in driving traffic to the blog. I was accidentally logged out whilst I did so.

sans serif and dyslexia[edit]

Apparently Arial is meant to be easier to use for persons with dyslexia, can anyone shed any light on this subject?

As I previously understood it dyslexia is a situation where (with regard to text) the brain has trouble distinguishing characters of the same shape but in different directions (though according to Dyslexia this is apparently not the case) (eg: 'u' and 'n' in this font). I'm not sure about Arial, but I remember seeing a doco on TV some time ago on a new font that was developed with particular features that arranged for all characters to have slight variations no matter the orientation. Apparently this was having great success with dyslexic kids
I doubt they were talking about Arial—because, for example d q b & p are all the same glyph flipped, as are n & u, lowercase L & uppercase i are exactly the same (Actually - 'this font' is probably Arial, if your computer has it installed)… But a huge number of fonts have slight to major variations, no matter the orientation - including one of the two most popular fonts (Times New Roman. The other most popular - Helvetica (and Arial, which is a copy of it), is the exact opposite) I don't think it matters. Most serif typefaces have major variations between all characters in all orientations (except for 'modern' serif typefaces such as Didot, which could look the same upside down or flipped), as do some humanist sans-serif typefaces. You can easily tell how different letters would look in different directions by looking at the 'o'. If it's just a circle - dpbq and u&n will look the same if flipped or rotated (in most cases). I it's thicker on the left and right sides equally - IE: it has one axis of symmetry - then d&p, b&q, and u&n could all look the same when rotated, but d&q and b&p cannot. If the o has both thick & thin areas, but they don't line up vertically, then all the characters will be different. The larger the difference between thick and thin, and the further off from vertical it is (until it becomes horizontal of course), the larger the difference. Typefaces such as Optima, Times New Roman, Bembo, Janson, & Garamond all qualify. typefaces labelled as 'old-style' or 'humanist' will generally fit this description, as will many others. Why scientists would need to make a new typeface to do this eludes me… —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:17, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

"Commonly used"[edit]

For a sans serif font to be regarded as "commonly used" surely it has to be one that is widely used and seen in everyday life - on shop fronts, in newspapers, in books? As such, the DejaVu family can hardly be regarded as "commonly used". Dpmarshall 10:47, 14 September 2006 (UTC)


It would be nice if someone added the reason sans serif is sometimes called gothic. Shinobu 00:07, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The article now claims it is because Sans-serif font resembles blackletter. I suspect it has more to do with the meaning of "Gothic" as a generic opposite to "Roman" (as in Times New Roman). -- Petri Krohn 12:00, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
I have found what might be as close to an authoritative statement as can practically be come across by mere chance, in Typographers on Type, Ruari McLean, ed. (ISBN 0-393-70201-4), p. 172:
Gothic. Traditionally, the word has been used for two quite different sorts of letter: the pen-made letter sometimes called ‘black-letter’ or ‘fraktur’, and the sans-serif form. In this book gothic means only the first sort, as in the review of Rudolf Koch’s types.” [My emphasis].
It is not clear whether this note is written by Walter Tracy (the author of this article) or by Ruari McLean (the editor of the compilation), but it is noteworthy that the term “traditionally” is used. Even though it is now very hard to find anyone outside Asia to refer to sans-serif types as “gothic”, it is in fact a Western tradition.
But I do believe the claim that it is called “gothic” because it “resembles blackletter” is correct. I have read it before, and in particular what I read says that it (or rather the earliest sans-serif faces) “resembles blackletter” in type colour or weight.—Gniw (Wing) (talk) 00:02, 9 March 2008 (UTC)


Univers is called a "realist" typeface. How does that fit into the classification? Is it a synonym for neo-grotesque/transitional? – gpvos (talk) 14:35, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

"Optically" circular?[edit]

I was reverted on my deletion of the word "optically" from the Geometric Sans-Serif section. It was said that "optically circular" is to contrast with "geometrically circular." I'm not a professional typographer, but that sounds like a distinction without a difference.

Anytime you could say "geometrically circular" you could also say "optically circular." And anytime "optically circular" doesn't exactly mean "geometrically circular," what you really meant in the first place was "optically ALMOST circular," which still makes it completely unnecessary to say either "optically" or "geometrically," as you could just say "almost circular."

I'm willing to be proven wrong, though, if there's some word I don't understand the typographers' definition of. SFT | Talk 03:31, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

I did not revert your edit as I did not use the revert command. I simply put the word "optically" back in.
"Optically circular" means an "o" that isn't a perfect circle but looks like a circle to the human eye/brain reading hardware, which isn't equipped to measure these things. So typographers have adopted the term "optically" in preference to nebulous descriptions like "almost circular", because what it looks like is what counts. Calling it "optically circular" does not mean "optically almost circular".
what you really meant in the first place'
I didn't write "optically circular" in the first place. Another editor wrote that. Please check the edit history, find out who wrote it in the first place, and go and argue with that editor.
You misunderstand the typographic definition of "optical" and "optically".
Arbo talk 12:09, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
I did not revert your edit as I did not use the revert command. I simply put the word "optically" back in.
Uhhh, heh, okay, now that's a distinction without a difference. :P I wasn't being snide, anyway, I was just stating the fact that my edit was undone. (Yes, yes, I know you didn't use the "undo" command, either; that's not the point.)
"Optically circular" means an "o" that isn't a perfect circle but looks like a circle to the human eye/brain reading hardware, which isn't equipped to measure these things.
Fair enough. I'm still a little puzzled, because in all but one of those fonts listed as examples of geometric sans-serif, the os are geometrically circular, according to my few minutes in Illustrator with them. And in the one that's not geometrically circular, it's nowhere close to optically circular, either.
But still, fair enough, I'm not going to edit it.
I didn't write "optically circular" in the first place. Another editor wrote that. Please check the edit history, find out who wrote it in the first place, and go and argue with that editor.
Yeeeeesha, chill out a little. That was the generic you pretty clearly, I think. SFT | Talk 12:42, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
That's because Bezier curves cannot form exactly a circle — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:119F:21D:7900:45D3:D4CF:96AF:B693 (talk) 07:50, 24 June 2019 (UTC)

"Neo-grotesque" and Standard[edit]

I'm not sure how Akzidenz Grotesk (Standard) can be mentioned as an exemplar of "Neo-grotesque or Transitional or Realist, modern designs" as it is fifty years older than the typefaces listed as "Grotesque, early sans-serif designs" like Helvetica and Univers. Further calling Akzidenz an "'anonymous sans-serif' due to its relatively plain appearance" in contrast to Helvetica is an outright falsehood; Akzidenz is the more idiosyncratic, "quirkier" direct-ancestor of Helvetica. Even the wikipedia article for Akzidenz mentions this: "[Max] Miedinger [Helvetica's designer] sought to refine the typeface [Akzidenz Grotesk], making it more even and unified." Maybe Verdana should be mentioned alongside Arial as a neo-grotesque as a sample of it is displayed in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:41, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

The image must be updated for Helvetica; it is described as grotesque in the caption, but in the body of the text it is listed as neo-g. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:37, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Verdana - Neo-grotesque or humanist?[edit]

Is Verdana a neo-grotesque or humanist typeface? This article shows a sample for Verdana under the neo-grotesque section, however, the Verdana article (and most other websites) consider it a humanist typeface. Which is correct? ANDROS1337 03:26, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

BTW, I found an image for Arial, so I replaced the Verdana image in the neo-grotesque section with one of Arial. ANDROS1337 20:52, 12 May 2008 (UTC)


The Slab serif page says that Egyptian is another name for slab serifs, not san serifs, which is consistent with what I've read. Should we take this reference out? Sespinos (talk) 23:39, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Planning to create an image gallery[edit]

Hello all! I've been browsing posters on Wikimedia Commons and I have to say, I really want to add a gallery section now! There's all kinds of odd stuff there, especially things like modulated sans-serifs that tend to get lumped into the humanist genre, an 1848 poster with a conventional grotesque but a Garamond-style 'w', interesting early sans-serif lower-cases (and here, odd fonts clearly created as Futura competitors and things from countries like Italy and Poland (that's Gill Sans with the continental alts and some kind of Futura) that aren't well-known in the English-speaking world where most of the sans-serifs we use were developed or licensed by Monotype, Linotype or American Type Founders. It would also be a nice place to showcase sans-serif designs that aren't type but lettering or carving - though I've added an example of this from a London cemetery now. Any thoughts on all this? Blythwood (talk) 04:18, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

BBC documentary on sans serif designs of Edward Johnston and Eric Gill[edit]

A very interesting hour-long BBC documentary on sans serif designs of Edward Johnston and Eric Gill for London Transport by Mark Ovenden might be of interest / use for this page: available for a month on iPlayer (talk) 15:44, 8 August 2017 (UTC)