The Easiest Font Styles to Read

By Claudia Stanic

Fonts can be divided into two categories — serif and sans serif. Serif fonts feature embellishments on each letter while sans serif fonts appear straighter with cleaner lines. Choose a font based on its use. For long passages, the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago recommends you use serif. For short written works and anything viewed on a computer, the academy recommends sans serif.


The serif font Georgia, the official text of "The New York Times" website, ranks among the easiest to read online, according to typography expert Will Harris. Designer Matthew Carter created Georgia in 1996 for Microsoft. Despite its serifs, the font "is a pleasure to read on screen," according to "The New York Times" website. Before computers became commonplace, fonts had been limited to a handful of antiques — some from the 1700s. Microsoft in the mid-1990s paid people to create easy-to-read fonts for the computer screen. Out of that investment, came Georgia. According to Harris, the font's name came from a tabloid headline referring to alien heads discovered in Georgia.


Verdana, a sans-serif font, also came out of Microsoft's mid-1990s' quest to develop readable font for online formats. Typography expert Will Harris considers Verdana and Georgia the two easiest font styles to read. Verdant Seattle inspired the Verdana font's name, according to Harris. With its wide-set characters, the eye effortlessly slips over Verdana, making it an easy read.

Times New Roman

For print, the classic serif Times New Roman ranks among the easiest to read, according to font directory Identifont. Owners of the London newspaper "The Times" hired designers Stanley Morison and Victor Lardent to design the font, released in 1932. Later, Microsoft fueled Times New Roman's fame by making it the default for the word processing program Word. Although typographer Will Harris says the Times New Roman's condensed characters can make the font difficult to read on screen, its serifs make the font easy to read on paper.