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17 of the easiest fonts to read


easiest fonts to read

Let me kick things off with a quick story: A storefront on my block had been sitting vacant for months. One evening, I heard a commotion on my street and saw a sign being installed above the storefront. I was excited to find out what kind of business would be joining our neighborhood—only to find that I couldn’t read the sign.


The shop’s name was written in a cursive font that was just about as legible as my signature at the bottom of a receipt. Sure, the font was beautiful, but what good was it if no one could read it?


Moral of the story: font legibility isn’t something to take for granted, whether in person or online.


As you learn how to make a website, keep in mind that typography has a direct impact on the accessibility of your website. When visitors can easily read the copy on your website, they’re more likely to take action and stick around.


Font legibility, in a nutshell, is crucial to both web design and business. Keep reading to discover what makes a font easy to read and which are the easiest fonts to read on screens and on paper.


Create your website with Wix and choose from a variety of easy-to-read fonts—or upload your own.



What makes a font easy to read?


While there is no singular font that maximizes readability for everyone, there are a number of factors that make certain fonts easier to read than others. It's important to take into account the context in which these factors are applied, as their impact on legibility can vary when they are combined.


 

Minimal stylistic variation


First things first, let’s address the age-old battle of whether serif or sans serif fonts are the most readable fonts. 


For reference, serif fonts have serifs: small extra lines at the tips of each letter. Times New Roman is an example of a classic serif font. Sans serif fonts, like the one this blog post is written in, don’t have serifs. 


Although there are some who argue that serifs are the best for printed works and sans serif fonts are the best fonts for websites, research on the matter has yet to reach a definitive conclusion. Instead, it seems that the overall complexity of the letterform plays a more significant role in determining a font's readability than just the presence or absence of serifs.



Tall x-heights


X-height, also known as corpus size, refers to the distance between the baseline (bottom of a font) and the median line (top of the shorter lowercase letters) of a font. This term is named after the height of the lowercase letter "x" in a given font, which typically represents the standard for this measurement. 


Generally speaking, an exaggerated x-height is more legible on screens, while fonts with moderate x-heights are more legible in print. Need to see it to believe it? Check out how virtually all of these best free fonts feature exaggerated x-heights.



Goldilocks weight


A font’s weight indicates its thickness. When a font is too heavy, it can be difficult to read because the letters become indistinguishable when there isn’t enough whitespace. Conversely, when a font is too thin, it can be difficult to read due to a lack of contrast between the text and the background. The easiest-to-read fonts fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.


Another factor to consider when talking about weight is contrast. Contrast refers to the difference in weight between the thinnest and thickest part of a font. Sans serif fonts tend to have lower contrast (meaning they have more uniform stroke thickness) than serif fonts. Some people find low-contrast fonts easier to read than high-contrast fonts, while the opposite is true for others.



High color contrast


It’s also important to consider the color contrast ratio, which measures the difference between the color of the fonts and backgrounds on your website. According to WCAG guidelines, the contrast ratio must be at least 4.5:1 in most cases for optimal readability and accessibility. 


While high contrast is generally good for legibility, there is such a thing as too much. Very high contrast can decrease legibility, particularly for people with dyslexia. Accessibility experts recommend avoiding pure black text against pure white backgrounds and opting for off-white backgrounds and off-black text instead.



Height variation


While using all-caps fonts can be a great way to grab attention in small doses, using it for more than a word or two greatly reduces readability, according to Nielsen Norman Group. All-caps fonts are more difficult for the brain to process than mixed or lowercase fonts because there’s less of a contrast between the letter heights. Distinctive word shapes help our brains read faster.



Familiarity


Research from the Royal Danish Academy shows that reading speed increases when people read fonts they’re familiar with. Therefore, popular fonts, like Times New Roman or Arial, tend to be slightly more readable than obscure fonts that fulfill the other readability factors.



Spacing


Leading refers to the space between lines of text. Kerning measures the space between two letters, while tracking indicates the space between all of the letters in a word. Too little leading, kerning or tracking can create visual crowding, which makes letters and words hard to distinguish and therefore difficult to read. Research from MIT found that wider leading has a significant impact on readability. So, look for a font that has enough space between letters, words and lines to make them distinguishable.



17 of the easiest fonts to read


The following fonts exemplify readability features and are some of the finest typography examples on the web.




01. EB Garamond


When you dive into the details of EB Garamond, a classic Old Style serif font, you'll understand why it's such a breeze to read. Start with its thick cross-strokes—those horizontal lines on letters like 't'. These make each letter distinct and easy to distinguish, a big plus for clarity. Then, look at its tall ascenders, the parts that rise above the x-height. This extra height gives each letter a more spacious and legible feel.


What sets EB Garamond apart, though, are its double-story 'g' and 'a'. Unlike their simpler, single-story cousins, these characters have a more complex shape that our eyes easily recognize, speeding up reading. The font also features rounded tops and bottoms of letters, where two lines meet, creating a gentle, less jarring visual experience. And don't forget the thick bottoms of letters and the joints where a curved stroke meets a straight one. These elements add weight and stability to each character, ensuring they stand out clearly on any screen.



EB Garamond is one of the easiest fonts to read


02. Montserrat


Montserrat is a popular Geometric sans serif font known for its clean, modern look. The font's magic lies in its high x-height, making letters look taller and easier to read. Wider apertures (the partial openings inside letters like 's' and 'c') and short descenders (the parts of letters that extend beyond the baseline) prevent the letters from looking cluttered at smaller sizes. Its uniform thickness across letters adds to its clean, readable appearance.



Montserrat is one of the easiest fonts to read


03. Lato


Originally designed for a bank, Lato’s high x-heights mean taller lowercase letters, boosting readability. Its slightly curved lines soften the look, making it feel more dynamic and less rigid than other fonts. It strikes a perfect balance in letter thickness, making each character pop without feeling crowded.



Lato is one of the easiest fonts to read


04. Times New Roman


Times New Roman, crafted in 1931 for a British newspaper, quickly rose to fame and is now one of the most well-known serif fonts around. What makes it so easy to read? Well, first, it has these neat features called ball terminals—these are the round ends on some of the letters. They give the font a polished look. Then, there’s its ample x-height; this means the lowercase letters are quite tall, making them clearer to read.


The font’s wide apertures create more white space within the text, which in turn makes it easier on the eyes. Plus, since Times New Roman is so familiar to most of us, our eyes are already used to its style, which only adds to its overall legibility. Whether in print or on screen, Times New Roman remains a go-to choice for clarity and ease of reading.



Times New Roman is one of the easiest fonts to read


05. Oswald


Oswald is a modern take on the classic Alternate Gothic typeface, specially designed to look great on computer and phone screens. The designer made the lines of each letter sharper, so they don’t get blurry or lose their detail when you see them on a screen. In addition, they adjusted the kerning between the letters, and the thickness of the lines in each letter was fine-tuned. 



Oswald is one of the easiest fonts to read


06. Calibri


In 2007, Calibri replaced Times New Roman as Microsoft Word’s default font, making it a ubiquitous font that most of us are familiar with. Calibri stands out with its slender letters that exhibit just a hint of contrast, making them neither too bold nor too faint. This delicate balance is further enhanced by a subtle curvature at the edges of each letter, lending the font a gentle, approachable appearance.


Calibri’s high x-height makes its lowercase letters more prominent and easier to read, especially on screens. Additionally, the font’s spacious kerning prevents the text from looking cramped, ensuring that each letter is distinct and the overall flow of text is smooth. These characteristics make Calibri an excellent choice for both printed documents and digital content, offering clarity and comfort to readers.



Calibri is one of the easiest fonts to read


07. Palatino


Palatino, created by the renowned typographer Hermann Zapf in the 1940s, is a serif font that balances classic design with modern elegance. Its hallmark is the generous x-height, making the lowercase letters particularly prominent and easy to read. The font also features wide, open counters (the space inside letters like 'o', 'e', 'c'), which enhance legibility, especially in smaller sizes. Palatino's strong serifs and varied stroke widths give it a robust, readable appearance, making it a favorite for both printed media and digital screens. 


Want to use these fonts on your Wix website? Learn how to add fonts to Wix today. 



Palatino is one of the easiest fonts to read


08. Noto Sans


The Noto font family was specifically designed so it looks good in all languages—both ancient and modern. This universality will be particularly helpful if your site visitors need to be able to translate your website’s content into different languages. Noto Sans was made especially for the Latin, Greek and Cyrillic alphabets. The font strikes a balance with an average weight—not too thick or thin—and exhibits just a touch of contrast, providing clarity without being harsh. Additionally, it features stylized tips on certain letters, like 'n', 'a', and 'r', giving it a distinctive flair. 



Noto Sans is one of the easiest fonts to read


09. Open Sans


Open Sans falls into the category of Humanist fonts, which means it mimics the qualities of traditional calligraphy and handwriting. This style typically features more varied stroke widths and a greater degree of letterform variation, which can make individual characters more distinguishable and easier to read.


Open Sans is notable for a slight contrast that gives its letters a subtle dynamism, preventing the simple font from falling flat. Its generous kerning prevents the text from blurring together and the fact that it is widely used can aid in readability.



Open Sans is one of the easiest fonts to read


10. Baskerville


Baskerville is a timeless serif font known for its refined elegance and high readability. Its distinguishing characteristics include sharp, clean lines and excellent contrast between thick and thin strokes, which aid in distinguishing each character. Baskerville's tall ascenders and descenders provide a spacious, open feel, enhancing its readability. Widely used in book printing and academic papers, Baskerville's classic style and clarity make it a perennial favorite for formal documents and literature.



Baskerville is one of the easiest fonts to read


11. Roboto


Roboto is a standout Neo-Grotesque font, celebrated for its high readability, which can be attributed to several thoughtful design elements. It features a single-story lowercase 'g', a design choice that simplifies the character, making it more straightforward and recognizable, especially useful for quick reading. Additionally, the lowercase 'a' has curved arms, adding a sense of softness and natural readability to the font. 


Roboto is also distinguished by its sharp apexes and vertices, the points where lines meet, which are crisp and clear, aiding in the quick differentiation of characters. Combined with a moderate weight, which strikes the perfect balance between being too bold or too light, Roboto emerges as an exceptionally readable font, familiar and comfortable for both print and digital mediums.



Roboto is one of the easiest fonts to read


12. Arial


Like Roboto, Arial is a Neo-Grotesque sans serif font. It was designed in 1982 and is known for angled terminals on certain letters and square tittles (the dots above the letters ‘i’ and ‘j’). Arial’s ubiquity makes it familiar to most web users and is, therefore, one of the easiest-to-read fonts. Arial is also a web-safe font, which increases the likelihood that your website’s content will look the same to all readers.



Arial is one of the easiest fonts to read


13. Merriweather


Merriweather is a relatively recent addition to the world of typography, designed for maximum readability on screens. It's a serif font with a high x-height, ensuring that the lowercase letters are clear and easy to distinguish. One of the defining features of Merriweather is its asymmetric serifs, which add a unique character while contributing to its legibility. The font also boasts a wide structure and ample letter spacing, reducing visual clutter and making it ideal for extended reading online. 



Merriweather is one of the easiest fonts to read


14. Helvetica


Helvetica boasts horizontal and vertical terminals, creating a clean and uniform look, and is marked by sharp vertices, apexes and crotches, lending precision and clarity to each character. Similar to Arial, Helvetica employs square tittles—the dots over letters like 'i' and 'j'—adding to its modern and straightforward appearance.


A key aspect of Helvetica's readability is the high x-height on the lowercase letters, making them more prominent and easier to read. Additionally, its kerning is meticulously adjusted to ensure balance and consistency. This careful spacing avoids overcrowding of letters, enhancing the overall legibility of the font. 



Helvetica is one of the easiest fonts to read


15. Bell Centennial


When it comes to printing, some fonts that look crisp on screens can lose clarity on paper, a phenomenon often caused by dot gain. This occurs when the ink spreads slightly on paper, making the text appear darker and sometimes muddier than intended.


To counteract this, fonts like Bell Centennial are designed with ink traps. These are cleverly placed notches that intentionally remove parts of the font's details or corners. When printed, the ink naturally spreads into these traps, preventing the letters from losing their shape and maintaining legibility. 



Bell Centennial is one of the easiest fonts to read


16. MicroPlus Retina


The Wall Street Journal used MicroPlus Retina to make the newspaper’s small print more legible until 2007. It’s notable for its ink traps, which are even more pronounced than those in Bell Centennial. These ink traps are so effective that they allowed the Wall Street Journal to shrink their font sizes, reduce each issue by eight pages and save up to $7 million on printing costs each year.



Microplus Retina


17. Georgia


Created in the mid-nineties, this font addressed the challenges of displaying text on low-resolution screens, which was a common issue at the time of its creation. The font is distinguished by its robust serifs and a strong stroke contrast, where the thick and thin strokes of the letters are pronounced. These design elements give Georgia a warm, inviting appearance, while also improving legibility.



Georgia


Easiest fonts to read FAQ


What are the easiest fonts for seniors to read?

For seniors, choose simple and easily readable fonts. Sans-serif fonts like Arial, Calibri or Verdana are generally easier to read due to their clean lines and lack of decorative flourishes. Opt for a larger font size and high contrast between text and background for improved visibility.

What are the easiest fonts for readers with ADHD?

What are the best fonts for readers with dyslexia?

What are the easiest fonts for speech?


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