Monday, June 29, 2015

My Favorite Font Combinations

When I did a post about a month back about my favorite graphic-friendly fonts, I had a few requests to show what methods I use to combine fonts.  I honestly think it's a skill that's just acquired with a lot of trial and error.  You really need to play around with fonts to realize what works (and doesn't work) for you.  However, I think there are some basic methods to combining fonts that work for pretty much everyone!

Classicly cursive and classic serif - The keyword in this one is "classic." Keep the mood of your fonts the same, but use different typesets together to achieve it.
(fonts pictured are Lavanderia Regular and Novelty Regular)

Blocky and Funky Script - When you're using a funky, creative script (or funky, unique font of any type for that matter), I think it's important to balance it out with a simple, easy-to-read font.
(fonts pictured are Libre Baskerville in all caps and Cantoni Basic)

Whimsical and Thin - When you want a more fun mood in your font, it's still important to balance out the overwhelming with basic.  I like to keep a couple of fun, but simple fonts around to balance out the really whacky ones.
(fonts pictured are Henny Penny and Whitehall in all caps)

Sketched and Handwritten - Noticing a pattern here? I use a really bold, funky font with a more simple font.  Really chunky, bold fonts are great to use with handwritten.
(fonts pictured are Archistico and Pea Annalee Script, which unfortunately isn't available anymore.  I'm a little heartbroken you can no longer get this font pack.)

Script and Typewriter - This is one example where I do like to pair two kind of bold fonts, but they're balanced.  I don't go too thick when I combine two "in your face" font types.  Keep the fonts about the same weight (not too bold, not too thin) and they combine wonderfully!
(font pictured are Allura and Mom's Typewriter)

Swirly and Bold - Again, it's all about the weight.  If you have one more bold font, use a thinner font to balance it out.
(fonts pictured are Monterey and Bebas)

Playful and Script - This is one exception to my "don't combine moods" rule, but it still has its limits. If you're using playful fonts and script fonts together, make sure the script font isn't too formal.
(fonts pictured are Badaboom and Alex Brush)

Tall and Short - combining tall and short fonts adds such a great element to the design.  I prefer to keep my emphasized word in a phrase/title as the tall one so it kind of stands out.
(fonts pictured are Six Caps and Aaargh)

Statement and Simple - If you're using a font that has a lot of weight or stands out in a crowd, don't use another font that does the same. Keep the other one simple!  Again, I would use the statement font for the main word in a phrase/title.  Don't be afraid to use a bold font to balance out the statement one!
(fonts pictured are Lobster Two and Caviar Dreams bold)

A few more tips...

1. Overlap Rows - 

One of my favorite ways to add design element to a combination of fonts is to overlap the rows.  Especially when you have one part of the letters in a word sticking up (think about the upper portion of an h, or the lower portion of a p), kind of push that into the row next to it.  It gets rid of white space in design and makes for a more cohesive look!

2. Change up the colors - 

If you're using two fonts, I'd definitely recommend changing the colors on them as well.  It adds so much more dimension to the look of your fonts.

3. Don't put 2 similar fonts together - 

It's a huge design no-no to pair 2 similar fonts.  You don't want to go completely different in the mood of 2 separate fonts, but you also don't want to pair 2 serif, 2 sans-serif, 2 blocky, etc. Together.

4. Don't overdo it - 

This is one of the most common mistakes I see.  It looks entirely too jumbled and chaotic to put more than a couple of fonts together.  I like to stick to 2, but I'd say 3 is the absolute max I'd use in a font combination.  On a similar note, try to keep the "mood" of the fonts don't want to pair formal with a kid-style font!

5. Get in those nooks and crannies - 

It makes your font combinations look so much more cohesive and "designed" when you fit fonts in those nooks and crannies.  Again, going back to the elements of a word that kind of stick out, like the p or the h...stick words between two of those elements in the word below it.  It's an easy way to look really professional with your graphics.

6.  Balance your rows - 

In the example above, I have the same words and the same font...see how much more cohesive the wording looks when you make sure your rows are even?  That might mean making the font on one line a little bit larger, or moving words to the next line.  I wouldn't do this if typing out a paragraph, but for a phrase or a title it works perfectly.  It also means you can just use 1 font to really add dimension to wording!

I'm open to any questions or comments about all things font...leave them in the comments below!