How to pair fonts like a pro

Knowing how to use fonts well can seem so effortless and yet once you try your hand at it a bit, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to it then meets the eye. Indeed knowing how to use the right font at the right time is a sort of delicate art, that when well done looks like it just came out of thin air. Well isn’t that the way with lots of design projects in a way, the successful ones look simple and effortless! Of course there is a bit of science to it - a bit of science and also a bit of flair ! In this post, I give you 8 tips to learn how to pair fonts like a pro!

1. Consider the mood of each font

Like an image, each font emanates a certain mood or vibe. When looking at a font, consider what emotions it generates in you. Is it serious or playful? Modern or old fashioned? Bold or quiet? Make sure that each font aligns with the message you are trying to convey in your document. Each font has a personality and paying attention to that personality is always the first step when pairing multiple fonts.  


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2. Look for complimentary fonts

In fonts, opposites attract. When combing different fonts, be mindful of striking balance with fonts that are different rather than similar. Two bold display fonts don’t tend to work well together whereas would make a great partner to a minimalist sans-serif modern font. 

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3. Establish visual hierarchy

When deciding which font will be dominant in a document, consider the hierarchy of your messaging. What are you trying to say first? What comes second? The font you see first should convey the message you want to be seen first. 

4. Consider context 

A very obvious one that can easily be forgotten about is readability. In your specific context, are the words easily read? Or is the font itself taking over from the message? After all, a font remains a means to an end and therefore shouldn’t take priority over the legibility of your message. 

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5. Mix serif and sans-serif 

Mixing serif and sans-serif fonts is often a safe bet when combining fonts. Since opposite attracts these 2 different font types tend to work well together. If you are set on a serif font and are trying to find another one to compliment it, looking amongst sans-serif fonts should be your first course of action. 

6. Create contrast

There is more to fonts than serif vs sans-serif or display vs body. In order to create contrast and therefore create a winning combination, don’t forget to consider the following: big vs small, bold vs thin, cursive vs bookish, traditional vs modern…

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7. Avoid similar fonts 

Since contrast is key, avoid going for fonts that are too similar. They are more likely to be competing with each other rather than give each other space to express their own individuality. 


8. Limit number of fonts 

Finally it’s always a safe bet to limit the number of fonts. I tend to use 2 fonts in most projects and only rarely add in a 3rd one. Often non-designer use too many fonts within one same document and that very quickly will make something look amateur or unprofessional. To give it that professional look, remember that less is more and 2 well assorted fonts are much stronger than 3 badly assorted ones. 

There you go, now you know how to combine fonts like a pro! It’s not rocket science but it needs careful attention to make sure that the final result pops and drives your message home the way it should! 

If you have tried this little exercise but are still second guessing yourself, why not take the guess work out of it and hire a pro? If having this look absolutely spot on is what you want for your business, get in touch here or visit my services page here.