The Ultimate Guide to Font Pairing + My Favorite Fonts
About a month ago I came across a tea kettle on Amazon that had the most hilarious review section ever. It was a beautiful glass, minimal kettle for under $30. Why is that funny? Well contrary to the photo of the kettle with a beautiful modern font engraved on the front, in person it was engraved with Comic Sans. In the reviews, designer after designer were commenting with things like "I'm a designer who loves typography! I can't BEAR to own something engraved with Comic Sans!" Ha! To the average person, that wouldn't have mattered at all.
That just goes to show how important a font choice can be. The difference between a tea kettle looking beautiful & expensive vs. like it cost $10 from any old store. The same can be said about the fonts you use for your brand/blog/business. A good (or bad) font has the ability to make a lasting impact on any potential customers. And it's definitely one of the most important decisions within your branding.
I absolutely love typography, and as someone who looks through fonts on the daily for different projects, I've picked up a few tips + tricks over time. I also have some favorite standbys that I use not only for Reux Design Co. but for loads of personal + professional projects. So today I wanted to share with you a huge guide to my top 8 favorite fonts + my top 5 tips for choosing and pairing fonts together. Let's get started!
SERIF [ser-if] : noun
a smaller line used to finish off a main stroke of a letter, such as at the top and bottom of M.
SANS SERIF [sanz ser-if] : noun
a style of monotonal type without serifs.
There are two main types of fonts I'm going to be talking about today. (There are also script + decorative fonts, but we'll cover those another time.) In the image above, the first 4 are Sans Serif and the last 4 are Serif. The serif fonts basically have little "tails" on each letter, and these are generally more traditional or classic feeling. The sans serif fonts have straight ends with no "tail" and are generally more modern + fresh feeling.
There are so many ways to pair these types of fonts, but my top two tips are:
01. Stick with 2-3 fonts TOPS throughout your branding. You can always add dimension with things like bold, italics, or size changes. But 2-3 will allow you to keep everything consistent. You'll want to designate a Header Font, Sub-Header Font & Body Text Font. Here's an example of how mine look for Reux Design Co.
Body Text Font
02. Always pair fonts that are opposite in SOME way. Whether it's tall & short, thin & thick, serif & sans serif. This difference will allow the reader to more definitively see sections & divisions throughout the page, as opposed to it being one big block of words. Below are some ideas of how to pair my favorite fonts.
PAIRING TIP ONE: Pair a romantic serif (header) with a modern sans serif (sub-header). To keep things consistent, use the header font in a small size + italic for the body text.
PAIRING TIP TWO: You can use the same font for the header & sub-header, but change it up a bit! Here you can see contrast added by making the header all uppercase and making the sub-header italic. To add some freshness, use a simple sans serif for the body text.
PAIRING TIP THREE: Play with thickness within a font family. Pair a modern sans serif with a classic serif for the header + sub-header. But then use a thinner version of the header font for the body text. This keeps it consistent but adds enough interest to stand out.
PAIRING TIP FOUR: Similar to the last example, play with thickness. If you want a super modern + cool look, only use sans serif fonts. However, when you play with font variations (thickness + uppercase/lowercase) you create a visually appealing combo.
PAIRING TIP FIVE: Use a classic serif in all lowercase for a more updated take on the font. Paired with a cool sans serif and italic body font, this combo is a fun way to refresh a traditional look.
Hopefully this give you some insight into how I pair fonts, some favorites you can use & tips for applying this info to your brand! Remember, the most important thing you can do is keep your fonts consistent everywhere! Whether its your website, business cards, marketing graphics, even Instagram quotes. The more consistent you are, the better people will be able to recognize your brand & you can attract your ideal customers. I'd love to know your favorite fonts or font questions in the comments below!