HTML and CSS Reference
Sans Serif (font-family: sans-serif;)
Characters in a sans serif font have a proportional width and do not have serifs. Examples of
sans serif fonts include Helvetica, Verdana, Arial, and Univers.
In classical typography, sans serif fonts were sometimes classified as grotesque. This
reflects the fact that they were once seen as unsightly and not practical for setting long bodies
of text. In the past hundred years or so, this attitude has changed, and sans serif type is a lot
more common on the Web than serif (no doubt due in part to the relic usability rule stated
earlier). Even as sans serif has become more acceptable for body text, it is still used most often
for headers and subheads. Figure 9-2 shows an example of a sans serif typeface.
Figure 9-2. Gill Sans, the classic sans serif typeface by Eric Gill
Monospace (font-family: monospace;)
Characters in a monospace font are not proportional. Instead, each character has a uniform
width. Monospace type may or may not have serifs. Examples of monospace fonts include
Courier and Monaco.
Monospace type is generally used to indicate typed text, such as code. It may also be used
to emulate older technology, such as typewriters or early computer screens. Figure 9-3 shows
a monospaced font.
Figure 9-3. Consolas, the monospace font included in Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista oper-
Cursive (font-family: cursive;)
CSS considers any typeface that attempts to emulate human handwriting cursive . Examples of
cursive fonts include Comic Sans, Zapf Chancery, and Zapfino.
These typefaces are usually less readable than their serif and sans serif counterparts, and
are not generally appropriate for body text. See Figure 9-4 for an example of a cursive typeface.
Figure 9-4. ITC Zapf Chancery, a cursive typeface designed by Hermann Zapf
Fantasy (font-family: fantasy;)
CSS defines a sort of “catchall” classification called fantasy that is defined as consisting of
fonts that are primarily decorative while still containing representations of characters (as
opposed to Pi or Picture fonts, which do not represent characters). Some examples include
Desdemona, Playbill, and Herculanum.