What are best practices for choosing and pairing fonts?


I've always found font selection to be a little bit of a mystery. What factors should be considered when choosing a font? How does one successfully incorporate two fonts into a design?

I realize that some factors will include things like:

  • Legibility
  • Scalability
  • Appropriateness/Mood/Emotion

However, how does one objectively judge legibility or appropriateness? Are there objective principles that can be applied for font selection? If possible, please list resources or examples in your answers. Studies focused on the effectiveness of different fonts would also be extremely useful.

5/27/2014 8:00:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Smashing Magazine has a really good article on combining typefaces:

  • Try matching a Sans-Serif title type with a Serif body type
  • Avoid similar classifications (don't use 2 slab typefaces or 2 condensed typefaces)
  • Assign distinct roles to each typeface/font
  • Contrast font weights
  • Create a variety of typographic colors
  • Don't mix moods
  • Contrast distinct with neutral (rather than with another distinctive font)
  • Avoid combinations that are too disparate (e.g. narrow & expanded)
  • Keep things simple (try just 2 typefaces)
  • Vary point sizes
1/6/2011 11:56:00 PM