PURPOSE: The purpose was to compare systematically the legibility of a font without serifs (Helvetica) and one with serifs (Times New Roman).
METHODS: Three paragraphs that were equal in the number of words, syllables, characters, difficulty and reading length were printed at equal size, with equal spacing between the lines and equal layout (paperback style), in either the sans serif typeface Helvetica Neue T1 55 Roman (Adobe) or the serif typeface Times New Roman PS Roman (Adobe). They were also printed in newspaper format in the serif font. The paragraphs were presented in random order (Latin square design) to 36 participants between 18 and 38 years of age (wearing their best-corrected visual acuity). Reading duration was measured with a stopwatch. Reading time, reading speed and the number of reading errors were compared.
RESULTS: For the paperback layout, no significant difference in reading time (p = 0.50) or reading speed (p = 0.56) was found between the two fonts. The correlation between the two fonts was high for both reading time and speed (r = 0.93). The mean number of reading errors was the same (0.31 ± 0.58 errors/text) for both fonts. There was a significant difference in reading time and speed between the paperback and the newspaper layout.
CONCLUSION: The legibility of Helvetica and Times New Roman is similar when investigated under equivalent conditions. Thus, these two font types can be used as interchangeable standard typefaces.
- Times New Roman
- legibility of font types
- reading performance
- reading speed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems