There is a small debate in my project weather we should use the serif or the sans serif version of the font for the "i" on the icon and it is something we clearly can't test.

I personally prefer the serif one but I don't know if apart from personal preference there is any reason behind it so I could prefer the one or the other.

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  • At the size that the icons are being displayed, do you think there is a discernible difference to the user? Also, you can't really test this because you need a hypothesis or objective to set up the test (i.e. easier to locate or more likely to get response from user).
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 23:03

2 Answers 2


The reason behind the serif font working better are:

  • legibility: serif provide affordances for the glyph's parts, making them more distinguishable (that also adds to cognitive load when a lot of characters are together). [1]

  • familiarity: historically, Information icons have used serif fonts. Sans-serif fonts weren't used much prior to the advent of computers. [2]

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4612630/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visitor_center


I’d go with the Serif if it was me. I think the best thing to do is test it by carrying out some user interviews in relation to the icons with no text surrounding them, then report back to your team with the findings. I personally can’t see users seeing the sans serif icon and interpreting it as an information icon.

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