It’s common to get your serifs and sans serifs mixed up. Unfortunately, inappropriate font combinations ruin otherwise good PowerPoint presentation design. Using a single typeface for one whole deck is another way to make it boring.
There is a simple secret the advertisers and typesetters have used for a long time: serifs for the body, sans serifs for the headline. Let’s review the differences between serifs and sans serifs before delving deeper into this rule of thumb.
Serifs Still Get the Job Done
At first glance, serifs seem terribly old-fashioned. They’ve been in use as far back as the Classical period. They retained their value because they are easy to read. Common serifs include Garamond and Times New Roman.
According to author Ron Goldberg in his book, Digital Typography, the serifs guide the eyes from letter to letter and word to word. Their elements help eyes glide smoothly past them, lessening the time and effort required to comprehend them. Serifs are best utilized for body text or for any content that requires a lot of reading.
Sans Serifs Catch the Eyes
Sans serifs conveniently trace their roots to the eighteenth century, just at the onset of the industrial revolution. They reflect modernity through their streamlined look, retaining only the letters’ most important and distinct parts. This improves their legibility, which shouldn’t be confused with readability.
Being legible means that a font’s features make them easily discernible from afar, though not necessarily quick to read through. Nevertheless, this gives them an edge when used as eye-catching headlines for PowerPoint presentation designs.
Use Serifs for Body Text, Use Sans Serifs for Headlines
Utilize the strengths of each type classification for an eye-catching and readable combination. This should be the main concern when choosing the right fonts for the job. To maximize writing for an audience, you can never go wrong with serifs for the body, sans serifs for the headline.
No matter how informative your slides are, it’s no use if your audience can’t read them. Choosing from a variety of fancy fonts doesn’t necessarily make your slides look nicer. While you can get away with using two serif fonts or two san serif fonts, it’s best to choose one from either type classification for maximum readability.
Once you’ve mastered which fonts can work together, you can wield these winning combinations anytime a pitch is coming up. Making sure your audience can understand you, not just verbally but visually, is the key to powerful PowerPoint presentation designs.
Goldberg, Ron. (2000). Digital Typography Pocket Primer. California: Windsor Professional Information, LLC.