10 Tips When Combining Fonts

10 Tips When Combining Fonts

10 Tips When Combining Fonts

Chris Pidsley


24 Sept 2022

When it comes to fonts the choices are endless, each weight, style and size has the ability to create a completely different design and picking which ones to use can be a big challenge, especially when there’s multiple fonts involved.

However there are certain rules which can certainly help when choosing fonts, which have the capability to really bring a design to life. So here are my top 10 tips to adhere by when you’re wanting to combine fonts within the same design, whether it be for email, digital, or print.

#1. Try to use the same font families

Font families are a classification to determine which fonts go together. These classifications are: Serif, Sans-Serif, Cursive, Fantasy and Monospace. So putting two fonts together that are both serif will make life a lot easier in terms of narrowing down the choice of fonts as well as making sure the design looks like a purposeful and cohesive composition.

This however is a rule that can be broken (sometimes)…

#2. It’s ok to use serif with sans serif

Contrary to what was said above about using fonts from the same family, it can be beneficial sometimes to pair a Serif font with a sans-serif. This allows a headline or key word to stand alone as an important or even decorative element with the sans-serif acting as further information or a more formal sub-header.

#3. Don’t use fonts that are too similar

Using two fonts with too much of a similar look causes the whole composition to look messy and cluttered. It would be like trying to pair two colours together that were similar but just a little off. It causes distraction and ultimately takes the viewer or reader out of the experience of what should be a simple and effective design, contrast is key.

#4. Don’t use fonts that are too different

Although contrast is the general rule for combining fonts you can go too far in this direction. Much like when fonts are too similar, a font can be so wildly different to the other that it becomes jarring. Try and choose two fonts that have a similar characteristic such as weight or x-height. Even though the style may be different, if they share a common characteristic the contrast should still work.

#5. Use contrasting weights

When deciding which font to use it helps to choose one that has a vast array of weights to experiment with. The contrast of a bold font like Arial Black compliments the finer Aktiv Grotesk with a natural heir-achy without an aggressive juxtaposition. It makes it easier to distinguish the two fonts as providing two separate pieces of information.

#6. Keep to the Rule of 3

A general rule designers use when picking fonts is to stick to 3. Too many different fonts cause clutter and the source of any good design is allowing elements room to breathe. Fonts can be altered within their parameters such as their weight, size or by being italicised. This provides contrast without having to use a different font each time.

#7. Use Contrasting Kerning

Another way to differentiate two similar fonts is by mixing the kerning. Having a headline with a normal or tight kerning and then a sub-header with a looser kerning establishes two different messages whilst retaining the cohesion. This should be limited though, as too much kerning can result in an illegible word and therefore cause the communication to be disrupted.

#8. Use complimentary moods

Fonts give off a noticeable feeling and mood. We know when a font feels playful and when one feels a bit more serious. When choosing fonts to pair, try and pick two with similar moods. One may have curves whilst the other is straighter but they evoke the same emotion and tone of voice.

#9. Use traditional fonts with decorative

This combination can work both ways as either a decorative header or a decorative sub-header. It establishes two contrasting moods and affects the impression of the content differently. If the headline is presented in a formal or more traditional font it shows how the subject of the content is serious or established and the decorative sub-header draws the eye down and adds a fun flourish. With the header as a decorative font the whole content is changed in terms of mood to a more festive or casual context, with a formal sub-header to provide the formal information.

#10. Make it legible

Lastly, the most important thing when combining fonts is to just make sure they can be read! Regardless of if you’ve followed the other rules, if you can’t read the chosen fonts together then they definitely don’t work. Be sure to consider how the fonts will be presented in terms of digital or print, have a play around and see what works best.




Got a project or want to know more about what we do? Drop us a message here, and we'll get back to you.




Got a project or want to know more about what we do? Drop us a message here, and we'll get back to you.

© 2011-2024 Action Rocket Ltd. All rights reserved.