PR Tips | Arial or Times New Roman?

PR Tips | Arial or Times New Roman?

Back in the 15th century, type foundries didn’t offer much in the way of font choices. But we’ve come a long way since then. With so many available fonts to choose from nowadays, how do you know which is right for you?

The first part of your decision will be determined by the two main classifications: Serif and Sans Serif. Serifs are small strokes on the edges of letters. Sans serif fonts (sans meaning without) do not have these decorative features.


Common wisdom holds that long paragraphs are easier to read with serifs, as they make it easier for eyes to scan letters, words, and sentences. Generally, books and newspapers use serif typefaces. In contrast, many believe that sans serif fonts are preferable on digital displays like computer or cell-phone screens.

Once you’ve chosen whether to go with serif or sans serif, the next step is choosing a style.

Serif typefaces have three main styles: Modern, Old Style and Transitional. Modern fonts tend to have the biggest difference between the thickness of the strokes.

So the left leg of the letter M might be really thin, while the right leg is thick.

Old style typefaces are more balanced and modeled after early lettering design.

Transitional serif typefaces fall between these previous two. Examples would be Garamond or Didot.

Sans serif typefaces were created rather recently in comparison to serif fonts. They are typically used in signage, websites, headlines, and digital media. Examples would be Helvetica, Arial, and Futura.

Another type of sans serif is script. These typefaces imitate handwriting and do not typically lend themselves to body text. They are most often found in invitations or headlines. Examples include Zapfino and Edwardian Script.

Finally, keep these considerations in mind when choosing your font:

Legibility and Readability
Personal Aesthetics
Mood and Feel
Design Intent

There are no rules about how to choose a typeface. Just test a bunch out and, eventually, you’ll know which is the right choice for you. And don’t get overwhelmed by all the newfangled font options. There is nothing wrong with sticking to a classic typeface and using it well.

Alyssa Peck