So, now that you know the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts, and you’ve chosen one for your company, you should be ready to start designing! However, you may ask, what if I want to use more than one font? Well, this week I’m gonna give you a little cheat sheet style blog about how to properly pair fonts, to create a dynamic design that will make your business stand out!
Pairing Fonts like a Pro:
1. Keep the mood consistent
When it comes to pairing fonts, one of the easiest ways to decide if two fonts work together, is to figure out what mood the individual font creates, and then choose one that has a complimentary feel. You can even create a mood board based on a font, and then use that research to ensure the second and third fonts you choose are appropriate and follow your business’ branding.
2. Focus on contrast, and avoid conflict
Creating contrast by using different fonts can make your design go from flat to dynamic with just a few keystrokes. There is a balance to be found, however, as choosing fonts that are too different can lead to conflict. As you can see below in the first picture, the header font has almost a hand-drawn feeling to it, which contrasts great with the traditional serif font found in the body. In the second image however, the body font is competing for attention, and drawing the viewer away from the header, leading to conflict.
3. Create roles
Creating a role for each font you choose is the simplest way to make sure your design is effective. We call this visual hierarchy, and one of the easiest ways to create this is to use each font for a specific purpose. For example, one font could be your header, another could be used for sub headings, another for pull quotes, and yet another for body copy. You just want to make sure you don’t use too many fonts, or switch up the roles halfway through, as seen in image 2 below (now that’s confusing!).
4. Consider context
It’s super important to consider the context of your design, before choosing fonts. If you’re creating something that will be displayed in a large format, such as a billboard, you want to ensure you’re choosing fonts that can be easily seen from far away. In the example below, both options are perfectly legible on a screen, though if displayed on giant billboards, the second would be pretty difficult to see due to it’s thin lines, and lack of definition between the letter forms.
5. Keep it simple
If all else fails, and you’re still not sure which fonts will waltz together, you can always choose one font family, and use size, color, style and capitalization to make it interesting. Just remember, when you decide to use one font, make sure that it works for all of your applications (big and small) and offers you a decent amount or variety in terms of style and weight (italics, bold, thin, etc.).
Always remember to get feedback!
Using the 5 golden rules above can help you to make appropriate choices when it comes to pairing fonts, and ensure that your design looks great. The best way to truly know if you’re on the right track? Ask around! Get your friends, family, even the mailman to take a quick look at what you’ve created, to ensure that you’re nailing the mood you want, and attracting the right clients for your business!
One More Thing
Now, before you take off on your font-pairing adventure, let me show you some quick resources that I use to save time and money when creating a design. They may seem simple, and I promise, once you jump into the extensive world of online fonts, you’ll thank me!
This resource is AH-mazing. It pulls all the fonts you currently have on your computer, allows you to enter a phrase, and then you can easily compare each font to figure out the right one for your project. This resource has saved me from countless hours looking for the right font, because sometimes, the answer is already there. (On your computer, because you downloaded it 3 years ago)
It may seem like an unlikely resource, however finding copyright free fonts online can be a nightmare, and no one wants a lawsuit over some pretty text. Google fonts has a huge selection of fonts, and it allows you to compare the ones you like, saving you in downloading time.
Sometimes, you have a clear idea of the exact font you want, though after hours of searching, you just can’t find it. Or, maybe, you actually just want to try your hand at creating your own font. Either way, fontstruct is the place to start! It comes with a bunch of created serifs and symbols, and allows you to create a completely custom font. Plus you can share your creation with other users, get feedback, and find a plethora of unique fonts created by others.