DIY Graphic Design Tip - How to Pair Fonts

Choosing a font can be difficult but choosing two that go together is a whole other proposition. When choosing a pair of fonts, you need to find a balance of contrast and similarity so that your fonts look good together but different enough that they show off each other's specialness.

Inspired by this post from the blog Frances May, I decided to feature a cursive typewriter font this week. So I found Script 12 Pitch BT (available for free, found via iDIY). Next up was what to do with this font. Seeing as it's almost Thanksgiving, I decided to do a little Thanksgiving themed graphic with one of my favorite shapes - the triangle.

The sample at the top is my favorite font pairing - Script 12 Pitch, the cursive typewriter font and Governor from Lost Type Co-op. These two fonts both have a vintage feel but there's a nice contrast between the thickness of Governor and the varying line weight and casual feel of the Script 12 Pitch. Each font holds its own yet supports the other which to my mind is the perfect pair.

Now, a few examples that I think are less successful pairings.

Here, Script 12 Pitch is paired with Ballpark Weiner. Ballpark also has a vintage feel but because it's also a script it feels fussy and overdone next to Script 12 Pitch. A script font is often a great accent font but it's really difficult to pair two scripts together.

For this what-not-to-do example, our typewriter script is paired with Gotham Medium. Gotham is a great sans-serif font but it doesn't have any similarities to our script and the design falls flat. While it is a sans-serif like Governor, Gotham is too current and doesn't have the vintage feel that complements the script so well.

The final example pairs Clarendon with our script. Clarendon is a great, classic, serifed font but it just doesn't quite work in this pairing. There are too many thicks and thins in Clarendon and the eye doesn't know where to settle.

So, what do you think? Here's another example with Governor and Script 12 Pitch. Do you think they pair well together? What font would you choose?

For more font inspiration follow #FontFriday on twitter.


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