Have you ever thought “Ugh… whatever. I dunno. I’ll just go ahead and use Arial. Or wait – maybe Times Roman?!”.
Whoa! Hold on there cowboy! Let’s talk about this for a second!
Fonts are important. You can’t just go picking them willy’nilly like they don’t even matter!!!
They give off a vibe, can make your content more readable, and can play a part in either attracting or repelling the right people to you.
They can make a brand seem friendly, strong, quirky, sexy, feminine, or … even old-fashioned, boring, or lame.
With the stakes so high and so many to choose from how does one decide?
Personally, I’m a fan of classic and timeless.
I love surprising people with details that delight, or even take your breath away. But, at the same time I think that a brand needs to have longevity.
… Because NO ONE wants to do a major brand-do-over every few years.
The thing with “classic fonts” is that they’re timeless and always in-style.
They aren’t however fonts that make it to everyday use – like Arial or Times Roman. And people won’t make fun of you for using them down the road like certain other fonts. Uh’hum …”Comic Sans”.
BUT –> they are readable, look great in a variety of sizes, and often come in multiple font styles (from thin to extra bold). This ensures that you have lots of creative wiggle-room with them.
But most importantly, they tell a very subtle story.
A classic, timeless font is sort of like a white room.
They support the other pieces in a brand – like colors, shapes, textures, and maybe even a showcase font. But they’ll never overpower those other elements.
If it does, your site or print material will end up feeling messy and jumbly.
But choosing the right pair if you’re not a designer – or are, but are stuck in a time crunch – can be challenging.
To help, I’ve put together my 6 favorite font choices for you. And I’m going to show you what they look like in black, white, and grey so that the feeling of the font isn’t overpowered by color.
The reason I am doing that is because color can make every single one of these font combinations feel sooooo different.
So… As you go through this, I would love it if you would imagine these combos in YOUR colors.
I LOVE this font combination. The Playfair ampersand is quite possibly my favorite of every single letter in every single font.
Playfair also looks great in every style – from regular to bold and even italic.
Coupled with Roboto this combo is modern, strong, and professional. But it’s not uppity or cold.
True story: Playfair Italic was the Showcase font in one of the iterations of my brand.
This is another fabulous font. It too is clean, fresh, and totally modern. It’s slick while still feeling friendly and approachable.
I think it’s the roundness of the letters in Futura and the serif-like features of some of the letters in Gill Sans that make them work so well together.
Bebas was my favorite font for years! I even used it for the logo of an early blog.
I still totally adore it!
It’s just such a simple and clear font. Everything about it is perfect – the height, the spacing between the letters, and … well… everything.
But, it can be a little strong.
Combined with Brandon Grotesque it feels a little softer and approachable.
And don’t you love the small “g”!!!
When I was studying fashion marketing and graphic design in the 90’s Garamond and Helvetica were the holy grail of fonts.
They were always a safe-bet back then and they still are.
Honestly … the fact that they’ve kept their place in design for 25+ years is proof of their longevity.
They both have a high-end feeling which is why the fashion department loved them so much.
I always found that because Garamond is a serif font it softens Helvetica and makes it more approachable.
Montserrat is such a yummy font! I absolutely adore it and love that two styles of the same font work so beautifully together.
This combo feels both serious but friendly which is why Montserrat is quickly becoming a classic among designers.
Another true story: When I first started this website I used this combination for my headlines and body text.
This is a pairing that Janet Barclay, one of my good friends and fellow designer used on a recent project for a client.
She chose Roboto Condensed because it’s bold which makes it stand out. It’s also narrow so it doesn’t take up a lot of space. The more you design the more you’ll start seeing how important that is.
And you have to admit that Roboto Regular goes beautifully with Roboto Condensed!
Like all of the fonts on this page, they’re classic but not boring. This means you won’t get tired of seeing them like some of the trendier fonts.
Well … you can take one of these font combinations and start using them right away
Begin by looking at these and seeing which one “feels” like you want your brand to feel. Then go and see how they work together with your brand colors.
Or, you can use these as an example of how a really great pairing works to find something else.
And just a note: Make sure you check if there are any rules around using them on your site or products that you sell. Sometimes you need to pay a small fee in order to use them in products you sell or print material.