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Dash of Inspiration: Typography – Font Combination

May 27, 2013

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Typography: Font Combination

Let’s keep this series going by moving into the TYPOGRAPHY grouping of the Submission Guidelines, and first up  is:

TYPOGRAPHY: Font Combination  

The Submission Guidelines state this:

Usually one typeface will do, however if you choose to combine fonts in a single design, the general rule is never more than two and if you combine … either keep it in the same family OR change it a lot! Don’t use slight variations in typeface when combining. Be brave or don’t tackle it at all. Declines may include, but are not limited to: combinations of fonts which cause chaos in the image, etc.

These examples and tips are what GCU speaks to in their submission guidelines.  Incorporating great typeface combinations into your card designs is an art, not a science.  As with all forms of art, there are no absolute rules to follow, but it is crucial that you understand and apply best practices when combining fonts within your designs.

  • The farther apart the typeface styles you wish to combine are the more luck you’ll have creating a pleasing design. Fonts that are too similar  look horrible together.  If you are combining fonts you want to shoot for contrast and harmony while avoiding that middle ground which will result in conflict.
  • Avoid combining Script fonts, unless they are radically different, they will conflict with each other and cause a chaotic design.
  • When choosing to combine fonts, get enough point size difference between the fonts to create an obvious contrast.
  • Assign each font choice to a specific role within your design for consistency and harmony.
  • When looking for fonts to combine within your design, contrast the overall weight of the fonts. If you use two fonts with a very heavy presence, they will just look like they are mad at each other and fighting a war within your design.
  •  A good designer pays close attention to avoid that which make your eyes dart all over the page rather than settle and move through the design. If your eyes are unsettled, something in your design is in conflict.
  • For a simple and professional look, consider using different fonts from the same typeface. Such as Times Roman BOLD with Times Roman Italic.
  •  Try not to combine fonts from different historical periods. For example Old Script looks better with an old font like Goudy Old Style which demonstrates a greater refinement than say Arial.
  • Watch your font choices for individual personalities whose traits may unpleasantly multiply with large amounts of text, becoming obnoxious and repetitious, or loose it’s personality altogether in a font size that is too small.
  • Look for a balance of neutral contrast within the fonts in a single design. You want them to both be content to play different roles without seizing all the attention or drowning out one another.
  •  Just as elements within your design should not mix moods causing an emotional conflict with the viewer, fonts also follow this same suit.  Either pair the same general mood in your fonts, or choose one moody font and pair it with a neutral personalty.
  •  In order for the card to be legible and therefore marketable, the roles assigned to different fonts within the design must be clear. Your typeface choices need to be legible and have enough contrast or the visual hierarchy will break down.

image typography 1

Next week we’ll continue on our Typography journey into Font Legibility . Till next week, I hope I’ve inspired you to go look through your store and see if you can weed out any images that the reviewers will find during their weeding which might fit TYPOGRAPHY: Font Combination declines.  Now’s the time to improve those card fonts before the weeding team declines them for the reasons we’ve talked about.

For great resources & tips visit the SalonOfArt

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2013 2:00 pm

    Thank you! Another one I want to bookmark. I have a card set out there that I had worked so hard on last year that even though it was approved, it bugs me to this day. Finally, because of this article I can pinpoint what’s wrong and can go fix the font 😀

    • May 27, 2013 3:04 pm

      You’re welcome Tracie and delighted to hear it sparked a light-bulb moment to fix a card that hasn’t been sitting right 🙂


  2. May 27, 2013 4:45 pm

    Thank you for another great article! Obviously a lot of thought has gone into this. Thanks a lot for the clear and useful advise!

    • May 27, 2013 4:48 pm

      You are very welcome Steppeland. Yes, this one did take a fair amount of time to create something that would be concise and helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. May 27, 2013 7:55 pm

    Thank you Doreen! Very helpful to SEE the examples!

  4. May 27, 2013 8:22 pm

    Thanks Doreen, very helpful to see how they are done, and I can see a big difference. Rosie Cards

    • May 27, 2013 9:53 pm

      You are welcome Janet & Rosie! Glad to hear the examples are helpful, thanks for stopping by!

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