How To Pair Fonts Like A Brand Design Pro

First impressions matter, both on and offline. Whether one is on a first date or sketching the wireframe for a new website, visual appeal is essential to attracting one’s desired audience. Since the “work from home” lifestyle seems to be here to stay, learning to impress others by making a dazzling digital impression is more important than ever -- and a lot of it has to do with proper font pairing.

Marketers and designers aren’t the only ones who need to have these skills, either. Making choices about font styling and sizing is more common than most think. Preparing a professional report, creating a presentation, or revamping your resume all require one to match fonts that are both attractive and representative of one’s personality. It is a big decision, too. In addition to conveying unique, dynamic messages, they also dictate the overall visual aesthetic of your project. It may seem like a small detail. This choice can be the difference between an impressive design and a lackluster one.

Don’t worry, non-creatives -- the District Maven team has got your back. Below, we’ve broken down the dos and don’ts of pairing fonts. Not only will this helpful guide save a lot of time and hassle, but it will also help produce the stellar digital impression needed to seal the deal.
First impressions matter, both on and offline. Whether one is on a first date or sketching the wireframe for a new website, visual appeal is essential to attracting one’s desired audience. Since the “work from home” lifestyle seems to be here to stay, learning to impress others by making a dazzling digital impression is more important than ever -- and a lot of it has to do with proper font pairing.

Marketers and designers aren’t the only ones who need to have these skills, either. Making choices about font styling and sizing is more common than most think. Preparing a professional report, creating a presentation, or revamping your resume all require one to match fonts that are both attractive and representative of one’s personality. It is a big decision, too. In addition to conveying unique, dynamic messages, they also dictate the overall visual aesthetic of your project. It may seem like a small detail. This choice can be the difference between an impressive design and a lackluster one.

Don’t worry, non-creatives -- the District Maven team has got your back. Below, we’ve broken down the dos and don’ts of pairing fonts. Not only will this helpful guide save a lot of time and hassle, but it will also help produce the stellar digital impression needed to seal the deal.

THE BASICS: SERIF & SANS SERIF FONTS GO TOGETHER LIKE PEAS AND CARROTS

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Diversity is good at any time, but it is generally true when it comes to font pairings. When done correctly, the distinct anatomy of the fonts should create a look that is contrasting yet visually pleasing.

Forrest Gump references aside, combining serif fonts with san serif fonts typically one of the easiest ways to do this. The former is generally considered a more “traditional” typeface and features a small exaggeration at the end of a stroke. Conversely, san serif fonts have a more modern look that does not have any stroke embellishments.

One is encouraged not to run away with this, however. Distinction in pairings is useful, but too much distinction between the fonts can result in a seriously hideous combination. Using your best judgment is key to walking a fine line between contrast and dissonance.
Diversity is good at any time, but it is generally true when it comes to font pairings. When done correctly, the distinct anatomy of the fonts should create a look that is contrasting yet visually pleasing.

Forrest Gump references aside, combining serif fonts with san serif fonts typically one of the easiest ways to do this. The former is generally considered a more “traditional” typeface and features a small exaggeration at the end of a stroke. Conversely, san serif fonts have a more modern look that does not have any stroke embellishments.

One is encouraged not to run away with this, however. Distinction in pairings is useful, but too much distinction between the fonts can result in a seriously hideous combination. Using your best judgment is key to walking a fine line between contrast and dissonance.

size actually does matter

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Another easy way to ensure your design has sufficient balance is to create a distinct contrast between font sizes. It is challenging to distinguish between a 24-point headline and an 18-point body font, despite actually being larger than the other. This not only makes digesting the copy increasingly tricky but will also increase the chances that the reader will miss important information as well.

Instead, opt to distinguish between font sizes a little more. This way, your visual hierarchy will be clear and obvious, while also allowing the reader to understand where they should be looking when and in what order.
Another easy way to ensure your design has sufficient balance is to create a distinct contrast between font sizes. It is challenging to distinguish between a 24-point headline and an 18-point body font, despite actually being larger than the other. This not only makes digesting the copy increasingly tricky but will also increase the chances that the reader will miss important information as well.

Instead, opt to distinguish between font sizes a little more. This way, your visual hierarchy will be clear and obvious, while also allowing the reader to understand where they should be looking when and in what order.

weight makes a huge difference

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On the same chord as the above point, pairing fonts with different weights is also a great way to ensure your chosen typography will work in harmony with one another. (In case you didn’t know, a font’s “weight” refers to its level of boldness.) Two bold fonts will create an aesthetic that is both overwhelming and chunky. It is almost always wisest to use a body font with lesser weight than your headlines, as to clearly distinguish when one ends, and the other begins.
On the same chord as the above point, pairing fonts with different weights is also a great way to ensure your chosen typography will work in harmony with one another. (In case you didn’t know, a font’s “weight” refers to its level of boldness.) Two bold fonts will create an aesthetic that is both overwhelming and chunky. It is almost always wisest to use a body font with lesser weight than your headlines, as to clearly distinguish when one ends, and the other begins.

highly stylized fonts need a neutral partner

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There is nothing wrong with using a font that has a unique style -- it’s a great way to add some real-life personality to digital design. However, that in no way means that it should be paired with a typeface that also is highly stylized.

If you are going to use a typeface that draws attention to itself, such as a script or outlined font, it is essential to pair it with something more neutral. In addition to creating that dynamic contrast we keep mentioning, it will prevent your project from being a visual eyesore.
There is nothing wrong with using a font that has a unique style -- it’s a great way to add some real-life personality to digital design. However, that in no way means that it should be paired with a typeface that also is highly stylized.

If you are going to use a typeface that draws attention to itself, such as a script or outlined font, it is essential to pair it with something more neutral. In addition to creating that dynamic contrast we keep mentioning, it will prevent your project from being a visual eyesore.

STILL NEED HELP? THESE RESOURCES SHOULD HELP

Even with the tips listed above, finding inspiration can still be a major challenge. To help you tackle this problem, I’ve included a list below featuring some of my go-to websites and resources for digital typography. Each will not only enhance your understanding of font pairing best practices but will also speed up the decision making process. (They’re free too!)

Even with the tips listed above, finding inspiration can still be a major challenge. To help you tackle this problem, I’ve included a list below featuring some of my go-to websites and resources for digital typography. Each will not only enhance your understanding of font pairing best practices but will also speed up the decision making process. (They’re free too!)




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For over a decade, District Maven has worked with businesses across the country to establish a formidable and profitable brand online. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously. Regardless of the industry or client, trust, respect and integrity are at the heart of every relationship we maintain -- and we wouldn't have it any other way.

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