Typography For The Masses

Pairing typefaces is hard. That said, there are a few sure-fire ways to ensure than you get harmonic pairings that’ll suit your content well. My first step tends to be establishing a voice and tone; for instance, the tone of this particular pairing is intended to be formal and classic.

Once you know what voice you want your content to carry, you should go about finding a body font. In this case, Hoefler Text is a great choice for a body font that is formal and classic. A nice pairing for Hoefler Text is Requiem Display, sharing similarities with the body font of choice whilst bringing a lot of character to the table itself.

Keeping Your Cool

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me. You can explore the typographic options available to you, whether you pick a pairing with contrast, familiarity, extremity, or diversity. I’m just advising you with the techniques I myself have picked up from a fairly wide array of resources.

It should be said, however, that pretty much all the content on this page is merely here for decoration. It’s filler text, plain and simple. But hopefully, this filler text is at least a little more useful that good old Lorem Ipsum. This filler text should have takeaways – and I’m not talking about Chinese food.

Typographic Contrast

Let’s jump back a second and get practical again. Let’s say we’re dead set on having a contrasted pairing for our content; great. But how do we do that? Do we just throw together a classic serif face with a big, bold headline? I don’t think so. That’s a recipe for typographic disaster.

When it comes to pairing typographic contrasts, it’s still a case of finding typefaces with similar personalities. Take this example you’re reading. Knockout and Archer are visually contrasting, but have similar character. They’re both friendly, quirky, and strong, like a great Disney Princess. (Is that metaphor too abstract?)

Set in KnockoutArcher.

Do What You Want

I can sit here and give you techniques for pairing typefaces for hours, but what it really comes down to is your gut. It’s an art, not a science. The most important thing to remember is to use appropriate typefaces. You wouldn’t set a legal document in Comic Sans. Or at least, I hope you wouldn’t.

Along with using appropriate typefaces, keep it simple. Avoid using ten typefaces when two will do the trick. Sometimes even one typeface is enough. Flick through some books for inspiration, or scrutinise the very websites and magazines whose design you look up to. Be honest.