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Vision Res. 2005 Nov;45(23):2926-33.

Serifs and font legibility.

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  • 1Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute, Lighthouse International, New York, NY 10022, USA.


Using lower-case fonts varying only in serif size (0%, 5%, and 10% cap height), we assessed legibility using size thresholds and reading speed. Five percentage serif fonts were slightly more legible than sans serif, but the average inter-letter spacing increase that serifs themselves impose, predicts greater enhancement than we observed. RSVP and continuous reading speeds showed no effect of serifs. When text is small or distant, serifs may, then, produce a tiny legibility increase due to the concomitant increase in spacing. However, our data exhibited no difference in legibility between typefaces that differ only in the presence or absence of serifs.

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