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Font Pairings and Why they are Important

Font pairings. Using the same font for both headings and body copy is great for brand consistency. It can also be a little dull. It’s in our nature to crave variety, so varying the heading and body typefaces you use is a great way to hold people’s attention.

For the best pairings, combine different types of fonts. Such as a serif font (a font with a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter) and a sans serif font (A font with no projection finishing off a stroke. A serif font and a decorative font also works. Two serifs or two sans serifs aren’t going to be visually interesting, and pairing two decorative fonts together can often come off as too much.

2 Examples of Good Font Pairings:

Sample of typeface pairing, Snell Roundhand ad Big Caslon

Here’s one example of two very different fonts that work really well together:  Snell Roundhand is a highly stylized decorative font perfect for titles. Big Casion is a strong serif font whose thick strokes and solid build are a perfect counter to Snell Roundhand’s more delicate and flowing strokes. This is a pairing that would work best for invitations to formal events like a wedding.

Example of Baskerville and Geneva typefaces

Here we have a serif font and a sans serif font paired together. Baskerville has a lot of variety in the strokes and letterforms that make it visually interesting. Meanwhile, Geneva is a much more uniform sans serif font that balances perfectly with Baskerville. 


Example of Bad Font Pairing

Example of 2 typefaces

Font pairings can be tricky when you try to put two decorative fonts together? There’s entirely too much going on with this font pairing. Neither font would make good body copy because they would be difficult to read at small sizes. There is a difference in weight/thickness of the fonts that makes them fight with each other. Both fonts are so wildly different from one another that there’s just no harmony between them. You want your fonts to play nice and have a clear indication of tone.

And remember, for web use a serif or decorative font for headings and a san serif font for body copy.  Then do just the opposite for print as these are the best forms for ease of reading on each media.

Ayana Johnson

Ayana graduated from the Art Institute of Phoenix in 2016 with a B.A. in Graphic and Web Design with a focus typography and layout design.

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