While me and my three kids (har har har, 3rd child=husband), are relaxing/visiting family in the beautiful prairies I asked my lovely and very talented friend Lesley to help me out a little. Lesley is the clever and creative lady behind the statement paper goods Swell Made Co, with over 10 years of design experience working with various clients she knows a thing or 10 about making things look really really great. Since she is the person I go to for help and feedback when I design things, so I figured she would be the best person to share a few tips on how to easily pair type together. Simple tips for something that should be so simple but usually ends up getting overcomplicated (there are just so many options!!). If you have ever wondered what was the best way to pair fonts/type together, Lesley is your girl with the lazy girls (simple) guide.
THE LAZY GIRLS GUIDE
to pairing type beautifully
Creating a typographic palette can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some simply “lazy” rules for pairing type. Once you’ve got these 5 tips down, you can bend the rules! When all else fails keep things simple and classic. Have fun!
1.SIMPLE IS BEST
A good rule to live by, in almost any situation, and particularly when pairing typefaces is to keep it simple. Or, don’t use too many different typefaces. Try to keep your choices to 2-3 typefaces and things will stay more cohesive. Combined with the rules below (and it’s okay to break the rules once you practice them), you’ll have it down soon. Shown here – Bebas Neue + Playfair Display.
SUMMED UP/LAZIEST ADVICE: Combine or pair 2-3 typefaces at most.
2.WE ARE FAMILY
One of the simplest techniques for successful pairing is to combine fonts that belong to the same typeface. Typeface families include a set of varying weights (light vs. bold), widths (regular vs. condensed) and styles, and even different type classes (sans-serif and serif). This provides harmony and hierarchy, just like a real family. They have similar characteristics (or DNA) that makes pairing a breeze. You can often assign roles to different members of the family (display, headings, subheads, body copy) so every typeface pulls their weight as a team.Shown here – Archer.
SUMMED UP/LAZIEST ADVICE: Combine different fonts (weights and styles) from the same family. Examples: bold + light, regular + italic, regular + condensed.
3.CONTRAST IS KEY
Many successful pairs, feature contrast. Just like so many things in life! For example, a serif typeface goes well with a sans-serif typeface. Or, if you have a typeface with a strong, outgoing personality, combining it with something neutral and reserved is the solution. Shown here – Playfair Display + Raleway.
SUMMED UP/LAZIEST ADVICE: Opposites attract! Think, large + small, light + dark, round + sharp, script + neutral. You get the idea.
4.IN THE COMPLIMENTARY MOOD
Does your typeface choice just scream fun? Then pair it with a font that has a complimentary, but cheeky mood. Distant, but complimentary moods will give your design energy. Similar moods just emphasize that feeling you’re going for. Shown here – Cubano + Lobster.
SUMMED UP/LAZIEST ADVICE: Choose a mood and find typefaces that are complimentary. They can contrast or be similar, but make sure they contribute to the same feeling.
5.DO THE TIME WARP
Do you have a piece that’s calling for type from a specific time era? Choose a typeface from that era and pair it with similar typefaces from the same historical period. This will give your piece richness a unique edge. For example, Art Deco, 60s Mod, 70s Retro, Nineteenth Century. Just make sure you’re being accurate! You wouldn’t want to mix eras (styles). Shown here – Metropolis 1920 + Didot.
SUMMED UP/LAZIEST ADVICE: Pair type from the same historical era while applying the rules above. Do your research!
With these 5 simple rules in mind, I hope you are excited about pairing your typefaces and creating endless (and oh so, enticing) combinations. Your pairings will create consistency and visual interest that’s all your own style. Thanks for reading!
Wow, way more awesome and helpful then I could have imagined! And if you are still thinking you need some help with fonts and anything graphic related, Lesley is your gal! Be sure to check out Swell Made Co on your way out, because if you found these tips helpful (and graphics beautiful) you will surely LOVE the goods over there. Graphics images by Lesley Pocklingtion c/o Swell Made Co.
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