Typography can be a tricky business, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes you just know what looks good and what doesn’t, even if you don’t know why; you’re not about to choose Comic Sans for your next quarterly report, after all. but other than that, sometimes you need a little help finding the best font combinations to reinforce what you want to convey. Here’s our quick guide to finding those best font combinations, no matter what project you’re working on.
A Crash Course in Understanding Typography
You don’t need to be a graphic artist or a layout specialist to have a basic grasp of which fonts look good together and which don’t. It does help, though, to have a basic understanding of typography. It goes further than boldface, italic, and underline; here are a few of the most important core types of fonts.
- Serif: a serif typeface is one that has little embellishments at the terminal points of letters. It’s a traditional font type, meant to mimic how a pen would leave a little more ink at the end of each stroke.
- Sans serif: literally translating to “without serif”, a sans serif typeface leaves out those tiny embellishments. The result is a cleaner, more modern, but also more minimalist look.
- Slab serif: something of a hybrid between serif and sans serif, a slab serif font features the embellishments of a traditional serif font but also features blunted, angular serifs, often used to evoke the look and feel of classic manual typewritten letters.
- Script: remember your grade school penmanship? Script fonts seek to recreate cursive writing by linking each letter in a word to the one following it in order to make it look like the word was written with one looping stroke of a pen.
There are, of course, infinite permutations and variations of fonts, but they usually fit into one of these basic categories.
How to Build the Best Font Combinations
Now that we have our toolbox of font types, it’s time to learn how they can be combined in ways that make our content stand out as memorable and aesthetically pleasing. There are no hard and fast rules, but there are some very strong suggestions when it comes to what looks good together and what doesn’t. These suggestions include:
- Only script fonts for heading and display, never for body content
- Use serif fonts for your body copy to make them easier to read
- Slab serif fonts are excellent for blockquotes
- Sans serif fonts make excellent headings, especially when combined with a different sans serif or script font as a subheading
- Arrange font sizes from larger to smaller, separating each block of body content with a medium-size heading
- Vary your fonts according to their spacing — alternate a fat, blocky heading font with a skinnier or more spaced-out subheading
- No good combinations? Use a single font and alter its look through capitalization, size, and use of boldface and/or italic
These are just a few of the most common guidelines to keep in mind. What truly matters when it comes to choosing the best font combinations is more along the lines of which grab your reader’s attention and which keep them reading until the end. That means they need to be unique enough to keep a reader’s interest but not so unique as to be too distracting.
There are other things you will need to address when it comes to choosing the best font combinations for your project. Something that is overlooked much of the time is the difference between fonts as they appear on a screen, such as a laptop or a mobile device, and how they will look on a printed page, such as a report, brochure, or flyer.
If you don’t have the requisite experience to make these sorts of determinations when it comes to choosing font combinations for printed promotional copy or something similar, it’s best to discuss the issues with your print provider. It’s part of a printer’s job description to understand graphic design and layout on a professional level.
Choose Las Vegas Color Graphics for Advice on the Best Font Combinations
Are you scratching your head over which font choices to make when it comes to your next project? Pulling your hair out because your printed reports just don’t look the way you want them to? Turn to us at Las Vegas Color Graphics for help. We have the skills and expertise to advise you on the best font combinations for whatever it is you’re working on. Contact us today to learn more!