Arial, Verdana or Times New Roman?

Written by Dyami Millarson

I am currently using Arial for the Frisian dictionaries I am compiling. So I was wondering, what font do you guys prefer: Arial, Verdana or Times New Roman? Please let me know in the comments below.


    • Thank you. I will look into the Vollkorn font. I will test the fonts you mentioned with my dictionaries: the practical question is whether the font works well with the diacritics, IPA characters and Anglo-Frisian runes that my dictionaries contain.

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  1. I’ve noticed tech/internet companies seem to prefer sans serif fonts (example, Helvetica and Arial), I suppose because they look more “modern” and minimalist. What they don’t get is that serifs were placed on print letters to make them more readable, especially for those of us with vision issues. The serifs make it easier to distinguish individual letters and allows the eye to flow from word to word. That’s why I prefer Times Roman of the fonts in your selection.

    (I used to threaten to automatically flunk any student who turned in an essay written in Arial. I was kidding, but having to read 50 final essays for a freshman comp class was really hard on the eyes and often left me fuzzy-visioned by the end of the weekend. The last thing I wanted was a six-page, terribly written paper in Arial. And it was always the worst writers in the class who turned in papers written in sans serif font.)

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    • I wonder, what serif fonts might you recommend apart from Times New Roman?
      There being plenty of diacritics, IPA symbols and Anglo-Frisian runes in my dictionaries, I will have to test different fonts to see how well they render those special characters.


      • Century is another good option if you don’t like Times Roman. It was originally called Century Schoolbook because it was designed by publishers of textbooks. I like it because it is clear and concise and has that nice flow between words. Baskerville, which others have mentioned here, is another beautiful font that was designed in the 18th century by an English printer. It sounds as if you are seeking a font that will show well online with Frisian words, which I have no experience with. I have seen French and German printed in these fonts and thought they looked fine. But again I look for readability in a font, and san serif ones make good signage but not whole blocks of text.


    • Thank you for the feedback. What made you change your preference? Do you think Arial is more practical?
      My dictionaries contain many special characters: diacritics, IPA symbols, Anglo-Frisian runes. The problems I experienced with Arial when it comes to those special characters have been relatively limited.


    • Thank you for analysing the options! I will give all of them a try. I am working with old materials, so a traditional look might seeming fitting. Though, I am also analysing the old materials in a modern way, so perhaps a modern look might be equally fitting. What matters from a practical standpoint is whether the font works well with the diacritics, IPA characters and Anglo-Frisian runes that can be found in the dictionaries.

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  2. I’m almost certain that I find a serif font easier to read on paper but sans serif easier to read on a screen. I’d love to know why, because it doesn’t make sense. Serif fonts seem a bit ‘cloggy’ on screen, but on paper they seem more elegant than sans serif. On Verdana v Arial: Verdana seems a bit classier than Arial.

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    • Interesting points! I also found that Verdana looks decent on the computer. My dictionaries will be ebooks, and so Verdana might be worth considering. I will, however, have to test how well it matches with various diacritics, IPA characters and Anglo-Frisian runes.

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  3. Out of that list, I like Verdana. Seravek is another of my favorites. On my e-reader, my default font if there isn’t one defined in the book is Andika Ink, which is kind of an odd-looking thing, but I like it …


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