Contrary to the popular thinking, fonts too play a huge role in a content readability. An unreadable font can sway away the user just like a bad or irrelevant content would do. While designers do vouch for simplicity and minimalism, using more than one font can help in removing the monotonicity of the content.
Now, combining fonts is not an easy task as you have to look into several aspects such as fonts similarity, the medium they would be used on, etc. As such, you need to research a lot, experiments with fonts, look what is trending and pay heed to several other factors. Well, we told you it’s going to be hard! But, before you lose your determination to create a font combination of your liking, we want you to know that it’s not that hard, provided you follow certain rules. So, in this article we have created a list of 8 golden rules that one must follow in order to create that perfect font combination for your design work. Please take a look-
1. Use fonts that complement- Fonts are made so as to serve certain purposes. There are some fonts that look better for content on partying while there are others that look graceful for business content. Now, when you have decided to use more than one font, the major thing to keep in mind is that the fonts should complement each other.
Now, you cannot use a font that is used for party along with a font that is usually used for business purposes. Therefore, choose the font wisely. One important advice would be to use fonts that are opposite in nature as opposite do attract each other. So, one should use an ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ font for e.g. using League Spartan and Libre Baskerville create that perfect font combination for design publications. Choosing similar fonts would not only make the content look monotonous, but would also be unable to retain user attention for long.
2. Number of fonts in use- Combining multiple font usually seems a pretty idea to people in order to bring variation on the site. But, the one thing to keep in mind is that one should not use several fonts. This not only would look haphazard but would also take away the users attention from the main issue.
Not to mention that the current trend in any design is of minimalism, therefore, having more than 2 fonts might not be the best choice. You can even go with a single font if it does not feel monotonic. Later in this article we have told you on how you can minimise your effort while searching for font combinations.
3. Content in use- Usually overlooked, but one of the most important aspect to look for. Your content does define how your font should be. If you are trying to emphasize a content, the use of big and bold font is best. For party invitation one should use fancy fonts such as Sail by Latinotype or Sweet Sensations by Billy Argel.
Apart from considering the content, you should also see in what context the content is, where it would appear, etc. Like one should never use cursive fonts when the object on which the content would be placed is too small.
Also, the other factor that might be of importance here is that where the content would be published. While on print media the user attention is more, the attention span on digital media is less than 9 seconds. Moreover, on digital media the reader eyes navigate following a ‘F Pattern’. So, as a designer you have to take these aspects into consideration too.
4. Build a visual Hierarchy- Which part of the content you want the user to see first? Setting up a visual hierarchy helps you in the same. One might take the example of how magazines build up a visual hierarchy, by using different fonts and then using variation in size and space to guide the user’s readability. The headings in the magazine are in bold and big fonts so that even when a viewer just takes a glance at it, they would know what the topic is about. Then comes the next part, which are too placed in bold, big font with slightly more spacing. This part usually has catchy lines, quotes or news to arouse the curiosity of the reader. After that the article has usual font size to convey the rest of information. This pattern is followed so that the user can grasp what to read first and how to move forwards.
Whether it’s a print format or digital format, a designer always uses this method to create visual hierarchy. When you are creating a visual hierarchy then you should keep the following points in mind-
A. Use the same fonts for a particular section all-across. For e.g. if you are using the font Bebas Neue for heading, use it everywhere there is a heading.
B. Use font size as a way to direct the attention of the customers to a particular section.
C. One should keep the most important part as the largest and the weightiest.
5. Try using one font family- Just like in real world, a family kept together is better than random individuals kept together. Similarly in the case of fonts, keeping fonts from the same family helps in creating a better look for your content. Here are some tips on how to use fonts from one family-
A. Look out for families that have huge number and variations in font types.
B. Pair fonts that create contrast by varying things such as font size, weight and case.
C. You can even use fonts that have been made by the same designers as it would help you in keeping your task easy.
Using one font family also comes with the advantage that your scope of search for compatible font has a defined range. Thus, one spends less time, resource and energy in searching for that perfect font combination.
6. Serif + Sans Serif = Amazing Combination- The Serif font has been used extensively in print media as it is known to guide the users eyes across the content. Thus, it’s very helpful for content that are text rich. On the other hand, Sans Serif font is known to be used on digital medium because of their bold, clear and modern look.
Now, if you do not want to put too much effort in finding the combination of font, you can always combine Serif and Sans Serif for an amazing result. Use Sans Serif wherever there are headings, while you can use Serif font for text rich content. You can even use this combination when you are creating a letter based logo. You can write the company’s name in Sans Serif font and its tagline in Serif font.
7. Do not use fonts that are too similar- What would be the use of multiple fonts when they look similar? They won’t create any contrast to capture user’s attention. As such, it’s always advisable to use fonts that are different in nature. Now, do not confuse that only fonts that are exactly similar should not be placed together. This rule applies to fonts that might be bit different but have comparable weights, proportions, and/or letter shapes.
When you put such fonts together the problem you would be facing is-
A. You cannot establish a visual hierarchy in the content.
B. The entire content would be messy and won’t be clear to the audience.
Now, there’s an easy way to know whether two fonts look similar or not. All you have to do is place them side by side on your screen and look at both of the fonts by alternatively closing one of your eyes. You would definitely know whether or not they are similar. You might consult other for their opinions, if you are not 100% sure whether or not the fonts look similar.
8. Experiment- The best way to find the most suitable combination of fonts is to experiment. Put fonts together, see how they look, ask people opinions and then see the same fonts again after few days. Even after this test you find that the fonts look good together, then it’s time you should use that font combination.
Also, do keep a log of the font combinations that you have made. There might be chances that the font combination that you were not able to use in your current content, might fit superbly in your future contents.
Not only this, but we would also recommend you to research various articles and blogs for the same. Look for the font combination that eminent designers have used and how you can implement the same in your design works.
Now, combining a font is an art and you can master it only through practise. Therefore, we would suggest you that you should follow these 8 rules and try experimenting as much as possible to create amazing fonts combination. We would love to hear about the challenges that you faced as a designer when combining fonts, your amazing font combinations and any more tips that you would want to share with our readers.