How to Choose the Right Font for Your Design and Create the Perfect Font Combination
Is choosing the right typeface one of your biggest burdens when working on a new project? Have you always wanted to become master in choosing the perfect font pairing? If yes, read along for some great advice that will help you to pick a font that will make your next project stand out.
There are thousands of paid and free fonts now available for creatives to choose from. However, when it comes to picking the right typeface there are many factors to take into account. In this article, we will be presenting the major points that you should consider when selecting a typeface for your next project.
END GOAL, MESSAGE OR PURPOSE OF YOUR DESIGN
The most effective font choices translate the purpose of the design. The right font will speak in the language of the target audience. Your typeface should represent the style expected by the audience for which the design is intended. Choose a font that will make your design evoke audience emotions. Consider the function of the font and the context in which it will be used.
Every font has specific design intent, communicates certain attributes and has its own personality. Serif fonts portray tradition, history, reliability and safety; sans serif fonts are modern, contemporary and clean; script fonts add a sense of feminism, romance, grace and elegance. Make sure the chosen font resonates with your brand.
Example of fonts based on the type of business:
Finance - Clarendon, Bembo, FF Kievit, Andrew Samuels, Gotham Narrow
Wedding Photography - Roses, Please!, Anisha Script, Hunter River, Beautify
Winery - Burgues Script, Adios Script Pro, Darleston
Fashion Blogger - Gotham Thin, Helvetica Neue Thin, Geosans Light
Design Agency - Gotham Black, Montserrat Bold, Helvetica Bold
IT Company - Big John / Slim Joe, Moon, BW Quinta, Simplifica, Pier
LEGIBILITY OR READABILITY
Readability is the most important thing in a design. If your chosen typography is readable, then you're already ahead of 50% of the competition. The body text is the part of your design that needs to be most readable. To test if a typeface is readable set your copy to 10px – if you can tell what the text says you've chosen a readable typeface.
Free Font Typefaces Most Suitable For Body Text
Free Font Typefaces Most Suitable For Display Text
If you would like to be successful as designer choosing the right font is something you need to master (and not something you only think about when you need to use it).
Keep current with the latest practices regarding fonts and font usage, read typography blogs and watch out for good and bad examples of font combinations in the wild.
TIPS for CHOOSING THE PERFECT FONT COMBINATION
The most effective practice is to use two typefaces: one for body copy, and one for headlines. The perfect font combination conveys your message strongly!
1. Determine what a particular font is saying to you (serious, casual, playful, modern, clean or elegant)
Brands from different industry sectors choose a specific style of fonts in order to represent specific emotional attributes. The font choice should be based on the brand itself and the purpose of the design. For example many technology brands currently deploy geometric, modern fonts that represent minimalism, simplicity and cleanliness.
2. Use font families that come with both a serif and a sans serif typeface
When you are on a tight deadline or it already seems too hard to find the ideal font combination, use the so called “super-families” fonts. Super-families are font families that come with both a serif and a sans serif typeface, and variety of weights, widths, and styles to choose from.
Some of the best “super-families” are: Storyteller, Typnic "Typographic Picnic", Spirited, Thesis, and Goral.
3. Combine serifs and sans serifs
An easy and effective way to choose the perfect pair of fonts is to combine serif with sans serif font. You could use strong sans serif font for main titles, and a simple serif font for the body text.
4. Maintain contrast not conflict
Selecting fonts that completely contrast from one another creates a clear impact for the viewer. Contrasting fonts allows you to easily guide the reader through the page. Contrasting fonts enable the reader to easily scan the page and spot the most important parts of the text. Create good visual contrast by applying a combination of serifs with sans serifs fonts.
5. Avoid fonts that are too similar
If your fonts are too similar you risk to keep readers’ attention on what the design is actually projecting.
Watch out for fonts that are very different in style, for example a bold serif font with a script font, but with very similar stroke weight. In the example below you will notice that two different font styles don’t combine well together because are simply too similar in thickness.
EXAMPLES OF EXCELLENT FONT PAIRINGS
To make it easier for you to understand this guide we present you with some of our favorite font pairings that you can use in your own designs.
Vision is a clean, modern sans serif font, ideal for large, bold headlines. It combines well with Libre Baskerville serif font excellent for body copy.
Anisha is beautiful modern and romantic brush calligraphy ideal for headlines and businesses as photography studios, wedding planners, florists etc. Paired with Lora creates incredible visual experience.
A great combination can also be achieved by using the same typeface. In the example above Roboto Condensed is used in bold for the heading and in its regular type for the body text. Roboto Condensed is a font often used by IT companies.
Hunter River is a hand drawn signature brush script typeface most suitable for branding, labels, apparel, prints, quotes and many other creative projects. It combines perfect with Playfair Display a serif font that adds a special touch to this special combination.
FONT PAIRING TOOLS
We’ve hand selected the best font pairing tools, the go-to source for those who look at the process of choosing the perfect font combination as a seemingly impossible task.
BONUS - QUICK GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE BEST FONT
The basic, most important and most simple steps to choosing the best font:
1. SERIF - TRADITIONAL OR SANS SERIF - MODERN
There are many font classifications, with the four basic font categories being serif, sans serifs, script and display/decorative. However the basic differentiation and the largest distinction between all fonts is whether they are serif or sans serif fonts. Serif fonts are mainly used to represent tradition, whereas the sans serif portray more modern look. To make the design process easier and much simpler, at the beginning of every design project the first thing you need to decide is whether you would like to convey a more modern or traditional vibe.
If you would like to go deeper then choosing between a serif and sans serif font, and select script or decorative fonts always check legibility. Make certain that every letter can easily be read and is distinguishable against other letters.
Contrasting fonts create optimum visual impact. The best way to create contrast is to use sans serif font for the headline and a serif font for the body text, especially since serif fonts make the body copy easier to read.
What is the message you are trying to convey? What is the audience you are talking to? What type of business the font is representing?
These are all questions which will provide you the base for choosing the most suitable font. If you are a bank talking to adults and want to represent stability and trustworthiness choose a serif font. If you are designing a children’s book use more playful font like script or brush font.
If you have any other font selection or pairing tips, feel free to share them!