Reinvent your brand – Serif or Sans Serif?

2nd October 2017 / 7 minute read

google sans serif

There are many blog posts across the web that cover the topic of creating a brand and logo – we even wrote a blog post in August focussed on creating ‘a killer logo for your business.’ These types of blogs are very useful, however, we wanted to provide you with information that offers examples as well as explanations.

We know that you understand how important your branding and logo is – it’s one segment of your business that needs to be relatable, recognisable and eye-catching from the off. If you’re creating an entirely new brand, or you’re looking to reinvent or modernise your logo, then what exactly should you focus on?

What can you change?

The typical characteristics business owners focus on when redefining a brand includes altering the colour palette, the symbol representing the logo or even the wordmark.

Every logo is different, but for those of you who have your business’ name as your logo, adjusting your font can make a significant difference.

Typography makes the difference

Serif or Sans Serif?

A typeface can change the entire look and impact of a logo, as well as set the tone and personality of the brand. When it comes to deciding on a new font, it tends to fall into two categories: serif and sans-serif.

So what’s the difference…


Sans Serif

But which do you go for?

For many years, sans-serif has dominated many sectors of branding – their no-nonsense, clean cut and minimalist style has worked wonders for many brands. There has always been a place though for the famous serif.

Until recently, serifs were considered difficult to render as crisply as their counterpart on small screens. Yet technology has naturally fixed that issue, leading us to question the competition between the two types.

Moving from Serif to Sans doesn’t always work. 

We’ve gathered a couple of examples where brands have taken the plunge from serif to sans, as well as examples of those who have stuck with serif.

Google ‘upgrades’ from serif to sans serif.

google sans serif

For years, Google embraced the serif font type, but the transition to sans serif has completely transformed the wording. When you look at the new ‘Google’ font, it is only the font that has changed.

In the example of the iconic ‘G’ of Google, the two differing Gs are entirely different. The colours of Google are present in the crisp and friendly looking ‘G’, compared to the previous lower case serif version.

It’s now clean, simple and delivers that contemporary feel Google is known for.

Yahoo removed its defining slab-serifs, resulting in criticism worldwide.

Yahoo logo

Yahoo went down a similar route to Google three years prior by moving on from their 1995 iconic slab-serifs logo.

Their new sans-serif font is cleaner, thinner and much tidier, but after Yahoo’s masterful month-long buildup to the logo’s reveal, many people were left underwhelmed.

Some didn’t see much difference with the logo, and many criticised it for putting style over substance.

Sans Serif the way forward? 

Sans serif is very much the popular choice for modernising any brand. After all, minimalism is paramount in modern digital design, and a minimal style in the form of sans serif is a great option.

Is any change worth it?

Your main consideration should be whether changing your wordmark’s style will have the right effect. Yahoo’s new logo brought it into the 21st century, but there was minimal impact on their audience – people liked the traditional logo.

Not every company looks to modernise its brand with a move to sans serif. Some of the biggest brands across the globe remain committed to their serif font!

Succeed with serif.

honda logo

There’s no need to disregard serif, it’s still a style that the biggest companies around the world are using. You only have to take a look at Canon – they’ve embraced serif since the 1930s!

Honda is another prime example. The automotive sector brands are known for using blunt and thick sans wordmarks, with the exception of Honda. Their chunky slab-serif font provides its audience with the sense of the durability and trustworthiness of their cars. Their serif font works – it’s strong, sturdy and reliable, just like their vehicles.

Another option? Caps lock!

If you already have sans and you are happy with your choice, then why not write it with caps lock on?

Calvin Klein decided to rebrand its logo. The font was originally sans serif, but they decided to change the font so that it was all uppercase. The result? They matched their logo with their competitors. You only have to look at Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton as examples to see the style of the brands they’re competing against. Now the brand is bolder, and it’s certainly more noticeable.

Although your brand is unique, it’s always worth taking a look at your competitors to see what they’re doing with their logo.

calvin klein


Branding is not an easy process and should never be rushed. In terms of changing your font, you need to be confident that the change is worthwhile and will better suit your company and the taste of your audience. Sans is a great font if you require a simple and modern style, whilst serif is a great choice if you wish to show class or tradition.

We always recommend researching your industry to see what other businesses are doing for their logo and branding. Although you want to be unique in your branding, it’s just as important to see which branding works and why they work.

Fancy some support?

The input of someone who isn’t directly involved with your business can often prove very beneficial in terms of developing your brand. One of our specialities includes branding, so we would be more than capable of supporting you to research and create a new brand for your business!

Drop us an email to to arrange a call with our brand designers – we want to hear more!

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