This is probably of little interest to anybody else, but it's been bothering me for a while.

I can't tell what the rationale is for the spotty use of sans typefaces in the new site design. When the proposed design was first posted here on Meta (see below, click for bigger), I quite appreciated the use of typography. It seemed, at least to me, that a very clear and logical design choice was made in using serif faces for actual mathematical content like questions and answers, and sans faces for "meta" information and interface elements like the vote counts, tags, badges, navigation, and so on. It also made sense because the questions and answers were the only places where TeX expressions, in serif, could appear.

Original design proposal

In the design that's currently live, almost everything is in serif. The few exceptions are the topmost links bar, the tags, and the list of related questions. To me, this feels arbitrary and inconsistent. But it might just be that there is a good reason for these typographical choices and I don't know what it is.

Another, more concrete reason why this is bothering me is that I find that small isolated bits of text, like the vote counts, simply look better in sans-serif. I waited a few days to see if I would get used to the look in the current design, but it didn't help. At best, I would like to have a bit of discussion on the typography here, but failing that, my primary request is that the vote counts be changed to sans-serif.

  • $\begingroup$ Until you mentioned that everything was serif-ed, I couldn't quite place what exactly was bothering me about the new interface (and thus couldn't write a post about it). I think that's why I seem to be put-off by the text now. +1 for posting this. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for bringing this up! Using a sans-serif typeface for the "meta" content would indeed make the page less cluttered. $\endgroup$
    – Marcus Fry
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ is the site to your satisfaction now? If so, would you mind accepting the answer given by Jin below, so this doesn't pop back up to the Meta Front page? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Willie: I can't say it is. Most of the meta-content and interface elements are still in serif. Jin said he'd come back and go through the design again later, but it doesn't look like he's got around to it. I'll ping him in the comments below. $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Commented Apr 29, 2011 at 23:03

1 Answer 1


@Issac, it is indeed my intention to use Sans-serif typeface for "meta" information. I might've missed some styling, thank you for pointing it out. I have updated the vote/answer/view and footer links to Sans-Serif. Changes will be in the next deployment. Please let me know if there's anything else I missed.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for all the hard work! Btw, is there a reason why you have decided to keep using a serif typeface for the other "meta" content (essentially, everything but the question and answer posts)? $\endgroup$
    – Marcus Fry
    Commented Oct 30, 2010 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ It seems you missed the vote counts for answers in the user page, and the vote counts on the actual questions and answers. And, as Marcus pointed out, other meta content like "[time] ago by [user]" on the front page and on questions and answers; "link, flag, add comment" links; and badges. Meanwhile, related questions in the sidebar are in sans and I don't think they should be. It feels like there should be a more systematic way of going about this; this is more like whack-a-mole right now. $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 7:22
  • $\begingroup$ I should say, though, I really appreciate the way you've been receptive to comments. I hope you don't mind all the tweaks and requests we've been throwing at you. Thanks for all your work. (P.S. I'm not Isaac.) $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul, np! And I really appreciate all your honest and constructive input. I'll go through the math site thoroughly once I have more time. I was careful about not removing too much Serif as I feel it really makes the site pop. So in that sense, I wasn't following a concrete rule. But what you pointed out make sense. I'll keep you updated on this. $\endgroup$
    – Jin
    Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ Dear Jin, this question recently got bumped by the Community bot. Do you think you'll get a chance to go through the math site's design again as you said in your last comment? $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Commented Apr 29, 2011 at 23:06

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