typography basics #1: HOW TO MIX AND MATCH FONTS

Would you like to WOW others with your usage of type?
As it is with most aspects of style and design some people intuitively have a feeling for fonts.  If you don't consider yourself one of them, here are some tips on how you can improve your skills.

I have put together a quick guide for designers, scrapbookers and other artsy persons who would like to learn more about the usage of type in their designs. This is not a complete list of guidelines about how to pair up the right fonts but I'm confident you can take it from there. You will also find examples you might find useful in understanding the terms.


So you have a bunch of cool fonts and cant wait to use them all at once?
Hold your horses!
A general rule is never to use more than 2 or 3 different fonts in a layout.

•  If you have a super cool font you'd like to make use of, combine it with a more generic or regular font. This contrast will make the special character font stand out more.

•  Stay within a font family to add variation and dimension to your layout.
(In typography, a font family is a typeface with all it's styles, e.g. Arial is the font family that includes Arial Italic, Arial Bold, etc.)
Staying within one font family lets you vary the appearance of fonts without distraction, you can count them as being "one font".


You've picked two fonts you'd like to use within the same layout. How do you know they match?
Without getting too detailed, here are three easy ways to check if you paired up the right fonts:
Look at  the weight, the cap-height to x-height ratio, and find a contrast in style or size.

•  Your fonts will look well paired up if they either have the same weight or if you use a nice contrast of light (thin) verses bold or heavy type styles. (The font weight is how light or bold it is.)

•  Contrast the size of fonts if you want to emphasize one over the other.

•  Get the proportions right by matching the cap-height to x-height ratio.

•  Using serif fonts together with sans serif usually makes for a nice looking combination.

I hope you find these tips useful in your creative endeavors. Check back on our artsyants blog to find more free design tutorials!

1 comment:

Manuela said...

love this tutorial. very clear and precise. looking forward to what else you got up your sleeve!

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