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e.g A company that has a long success history and they want to depict that in their logo then would a serif be a must?

Why or why not?

Additionally on what criteria do you decide to use serif or its opposite?

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No, it isn't a 'must' simply because there are no rules in graphic design that dictate 'musts'. :) – DA01 May 22 '14 at 18:38
Fun fact: Sans serifs were also used in Ancient Roman capitol inscriptions. – johnp Mar 7 at 20:14
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here's a logo from 1909 which is still in use today:

Logo of Bugatti Cars

The company is now owned by Volkswagen, so perhaps it's not an entirely successful history, but the marque still makes extraordinary cars which many hanker after.

Serifs are certainly not necessary.

In this case, the typeface is a face which was probably "modern" in 1909. To suggest a history, use a logo which suggests the date of founding: think also of Ford, or Coca-Cola, or even IBM.

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"Grotesque" or "Grotesk" is a term for sans-serif dating from the early 19th century.

If you google "Two Lines English Egyptian Caslon" you will see a san-serif type specimen from about 1815.

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As previously mentioned, there is no strict rules. This is mostly about stereotypes of our perception. For example Trajan Pro font is an actual copy of font which was used in ancient South Europe. Serif fonts was very popular in first published books, because mimic (in some way) hand written typography.

All of these creates specific stereotypes and, for sure, when used in visual communication raise feel of heritage, etc. Combining serif with others helps to get right balance in perception.

And finally, don't forget about slab fonts. They are very interesting when you need to get balance between modern and "heritage" feel.

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