Humanist versus grotesque sanserif

Onur Fatih Yazicigil, Purdue University


Since the 15th century, advances in printing techniques have led to a persistent use of roman serif types due to their serifs’ support of horizontal eye movement. With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, a bolder, more attention-grabbing typeface was needed. This led to the birth of many sanserif types during the 19th century. A debate has transpired as to whether serif or sanserif types are more comfortable to read in continuous running text. Taking the serif – sanserif debate further, another question arises: Which sanserif types are more efficient and comfortable when reading continuous running text? ^ In visual communication design, the use of types and type choices are often discussed, but it is usually a designer’s visual taste that influences the type they choose. This research aims to clarify those problems by analyzing two sanserif types: Humanist and Grotesque. These two typefaces are chosen because of their structural similarities and differences among other sanserif categories. Geometric and Contrast sanserif types are excluded due to their individualistic qualities. This thesis will discuss the historic evolution of humanist and grotesque types through a comparison investigation. A survey study of librarians and editors is conducted to identify their preference between humanist and grotesque types in order to clarify the use of sanserif types.^




David L. Sigman, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Fine Arts

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