Choosing the right font styles and font pairings for your online or offline typography can either be a piece of cake or get you to the point of screaming from being overwhelmed with all the choices out there.  Successful font pairings can take time and with the internet, there is no shortage of font availability, so what’s a DIY solopreneur or small business owner to do?

What are font pairings?

Font pairings involves choosing 2 or more fonts that work well together that represents you or your brand.  The more fonts you choose, the harder it will be to find ones that will work in harmony.  Keeping the number of fonts to a minimum will keep things clean and consistent with your brand.  Successful font pairings are harmonious, yet contrast each other, but do not conflict.  Here are some tips, what to do and what not to do when looking at font pairings and font types, groups and styles for your business and brand.

Why It’s Critical to Use the Right Fonts

  • ease of readability
  • online on various devices
  • offline such as print material, size of print
  • right fonts styles are easy to read whether they are printed large or small.
  • using the wrong font pairings for your ideal customer can turn away sales e.g.

Picture This…

  • You are in the business of inventing recipes for seniors that are healthy and affordable.
  • Your recipes are available on your website with a print feature to print an individual recipe
  • For a fee, your ideal customer can buy a recipe book containing 365 healthy, easy to make and affordable recipes that have never been published on the website.
  • Here is a sample of the font pairing for your headline and sub-topic.
  • Your ideal customers are seniors.  Which would you pick for your website?
Bad font pairings for a senior

A

A senior can read these font pairings

B

Branding

  • it’s a no-brainer when marketing new products or services when your branding strategy is in place.
  • the font styles are already decided on as part of your branding so font pairing is so much easier and…
    • you look more professional and put together
    • your website and print materials are easier to read and not a mish mash of a whole bunch of different font pairings, styles and colours.
  • this makes your online and offline content scannable and visually appealing
    • choose a font family with various styles
    • one font family can have bold, italic, upper case, which can all be used to enhance headings, sub-headings, keywords of interest all without choosing a completely new font.
  • connect with your ideal customers the right way

Do These Font Styles Match the Brand?

masculine brands targeting DIY handy-men shouldn’t use soft and delicate font styles

Masculine brands targeting diy shouldn't use font pairings with soft and delicate font styles

feminine brands targeting Essential Oils for skin care shouldn’t use a crafty or gothic font style

feminine brands shouldn't use font pairings that are gothic or crafty fonts

industrial business targeting steel manufacturers shouldn’t use a script or crafty font styles

Frilly font pairings for Industrial does not work

Typeface Groupings

Here is a summary listing of various groupings with the more popular ones in the graphic below.
Typeface Groupings to consider when choosing font pairings

  • Serif – has little tails at each end of the character stroke
    Such as:  PT Serif, Time New Roman and Expo Serif Pro.
  • Slab Serif – thick, block like serif characters
    Such as: Museo Slab, Abril Text and Justice Pro.
  • San Serif – does not have any tails at each end of the character stroke.
    Such as: Helveticish, Arial, Verdana and Industry .
  • Decorative – ornamental and artistic.
    Such as:  Outlaw, Cabin Sketch, Discourse and Almaq Rough.
  • Monospaced – fixed width characters, similar to a typewriter.
    Such as: Courier, Source Code Pro and Letter Gothic Std.
  • Script – calligraphy or free flowing.
    Such as:  Brush Script Std, Vatican and Lush Script.
  • Blackletter – Old English or Gothic characters.
    Such as: Givry, Cabazon and Metalista Web
  • Handwritten – as it’s written, it resembles handwritten or handmade type.
    Such as: Classic Comic, Tekton Pro, Felt Tip Roman and Uppercut Angle

Font Pairings

font pairings with PT Sans and Lato

PT Sans and Lato

Although they go well together, they are very similar.  Opt to look for font style that compliment, yet contrasts in a way that connects with your ideal customers.
font pairings with Droid Serif and Open Sans

Droid Serif and Open Sans

Droid Serif is a light straight up serif font.  Open Sans is nice, crisp and clean.  Perfect for body text on a web page.
font pairings with Montserrat and Sifonn

Montserrat and Sifonn

These two (san serif) combinations show some strength in their statement, but not so overpowering that they couldn’t be used on something more feminine.
font pairings with Roboto and Roboto Condensed

Roboto and Roboto Condensed

These two fonts being in the same font family naturally work well together.  Using different variations of that family allows you to enhance your text without adding a whole bunch of fonts to your library.

font pairings with Lato and Merriweather

Lato and Merriweather

Lato is a san serif font and Merriweather is a serif font.  They both work very nicely together.

font pairings with Berkshire Swash and Raleway

Berkshire Swash and Raleway

With the right brand and right target, a heavy script styles font such as Berkshire Swash works well as a headline or title and a softer font like Raleway for a sub topics or taglines.

Here’s a Scenario

You are in need of a personal injury lawyer, you were handed two business cards and had to call one.
Who would you call?
font pairings for this lawyer works well.

A

font pairings for this lawyer doesn't work well

B

I won’t even mention who this “pretend brand” is targeting.  You should be able to tell just by the font style.
Who would you call if you were looking to purchase skin care products?
font pairings and this font style is more appropriate

A

font pairings with feminine brands shouldn't use gothic or crafty fonts

B

Let me know what your own personal favourites are for font pairings or what your one go-to font is.  Share in the comments below.