Font Pairing: Learn to Choose Cohesive Typefaces | Nick DePasquale | Skillshare

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Font Pairing: Learn to Choose Cohesive Typefaces

teacher avatar Nick DePasquale, Graphic Designer from Northern NJ

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Type Classifications

    • 3. Purpose

    • 4. Contrast

    • 5. Families

    • 6. Serif

    • 7. Sans Serif

    • 8. Slab Serif

    • 9. Script

    • 10. Assignment

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About This Class

Welcome to my class on the art of font pairing! In the broad world of design, there are a few things that are truly universal. One of those things is conveying information with text. And even before information is conveyed with body text, we often look at display text to get a feel for what we’re about to read or watch. With that said, it’s important to understand how we can convey that information in a way that is appropriate, easy to understand, and aesthetically sound. The purpose of this class will be to cover all three of those necessities so that everyone can have a better understand of how font pairing works.

This class is going to cover a variety of topics around fonts and typography, including the following:

  • Rules of pairing
  • Type Anatomy
  • Styles of fonts
  • Examples of fonts that pair well

Fonts are one of the pillars of all design, and making sure that you have a strong foundation is imperative to growing as a designer. With this class, I think we’ll all be able to push ourselves forward, both designers and non-designers alike, in order to develop an eye for the world of design.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nick DePasquale

Graphic Designer from Northern NJ


I am a 21 year old graphic designer and videographer out of North Jersey. My veins bleed Yankee blue. Most people recognize me as "that guy in a baseball cap."

Now that that is out of the way, let's talk about the nitty gritty. I love graphic design and film! Ever since I was in high school, I have been pushing myself to learn more and more about design theory, and more recently, film history. My strengths are in advertising and publication, though I also have a long history in branding, motion graphics, and design for web. For roughly two years I worked in the marketing office of my alma mater, University of Valley Forge, where I was trained in recruitment, web and print design. Here is a link to some of my favorite pieces that I was able to work on during my time at UVF. Now, I... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, My name is Nick Best Squall and I'm a graphic designer out of New Jersey. The goal of this class is to provide you with the fundamentals of pairing display phones. One of the cornerstones of design is understanding how type pieces work as well as how they work with each other. And while many designers learn these rules from years of exposure and practice, this class will act as a crash course to get you on your way to becoming much more comfortable with tight. We could break down this class into two main sections, how to pair fonts in general and then how to pair specific types of funds and want to have a good understanding of how those two things work. You have a great base to build future designs off. Here are a few other things that were going to go over in this class type anatomy type classifications, and then we'll take a look at a couple real world examples. Finally, we'll go over the assignment for your class, really create a title page for our class, using the skills and rules that will go over. I hope you guys have enjoyed this introduction. Now let's dive into some typography 2. Type Classifications: There are thousands upon thousands of font in existence, so it's important to be able to classify all of them, despite there being so many. All fonts can be divided into four main categories. Serif san Serif script and decorative. From there, there are dozens of sub categories, but we don't need a worry about all of those. In fact, in this class we're only going to talk about the first of the before mentioned classifications and one subcategory slab served. So let's take a look at what the difference of these four categories are, as well as a couple examples that you've probably already seen. Maybe only using Microsoft Word Sarah A. Serra fund is any thought that contains a serif or a small line at the end of its letters. A couple examples. You may know our times New Roman or treason Pro san serif, literally meaning without Saref. A san serif is a font that does not contain decorations or lines at the end of the letters . Some examples are aerial an impact slab serve slabs. Arabs like Saref are fonts with small decorations. At the end of the letters, however, slab serif zehr, characterized by thick blocky Serifis. You may have seen examples of these fonts, such as Roboto Slab or Claire, and done script, script typefaces or fonts that are based off the fluidity of handwriting. And it makes him look a lot different than Sarah, Sir. Sansa thoughts. You may have seen examples of scripts, fonts such as brush, script and lobster. 3. Purpose: when choosing a font for a title, a logo or even a social media post, it's important that your fonts are chosen with a purpose. So before you even start looking for a font, let's take a step back and look at what you're picking a fund for. You have to shift your perspective from the very beginning. It's not about picking a cool font. The goal is to solve a problem. So what problem are you trying to solve? Here are a couple questions you should ask yourself when analyzing your design. Should it represent a specific style, this could be seen in fonts that lend themselves to feel Western. Or maybe you feel Saifi. Should it carry a certain tone, think comedic or formal for me. Once I find the style or tone that what I want my designs to carry, I like to spend time looking for inspiration. Pieces. Exposing yourself to new are is vital to improving your own designs, because when you start spending time researching, you'll achieve two things. The first is that you'll be able to quickly define what you want your designs to be. The second is that you'll be able to pull ideas from your head in order to develop new and even mawr interesting ideas of your own. Developing the purpose of your design is a first step in creating an interesting composition. 4. Contrast: in design. Contrast is your friend, especially when creating display titles. Creating a sense of contrast will give her designs a better sense of hierarchy as well as a better sense of death, these air super important in order to convey information quickly and accurately if the titles the main drawing of a design, making sure that the I understands the phrase and find it pleasing could be a great benefit to the overall effectiveness in your design. If there's one thing that I would recommend anyone takes out of this class, it would be the importance of using contrast in combining fonts. The nice thing is that there's so many different ways to do that. Here, just a couple ways you can create contrast in your design. You can make serif and sans serif fonts. You could mix tall and wide funds. You can mix heavy and thin weights. You could mix large and small thought sizes. You could use a variety of color where you can mix different spacings of your fonts. Or you could use the shapes of your fonts to create unique combinations. But don't let it stop there. Use your imagination to create combinations that revolve around creating contrast in your designs and study how other people do the same thing. Contrast is very much your friend, and you should be taking advantage of it. However, there's a balance to consider while you while you're designed to contrast, you don't want your design to conflict. One easy way to ensure that your fonts are complementary is to make sure that the fonts carry the same moon. If one font feels western, don't make the other feel medieval. The thought that belongs in a band's gig poster may not belong in that healthcare pamphlet you're designing, so don't put them together. Keeping your thoughts in the same mood will help create a sense of unity in your design. 5. Families: One of the easiest ways to pair fonts is to stay within a font, family or super family thought. Families are groups of the same thought that come in different weights. Super families are fonts that fall under multiple classifications. Using families and super families can help create a sense of hierarchy by associating certain types of information to just titles to a certain waiter style and other types of information, such as copy to a different one. You can also play around with how the fonts are presented, using color, size and shape in order to differentiate them from one another. Here, a couple slides from the introduction to Saturday Night Live. Take note of how all of these slides contain the same font, but in different weights and style. The introduction designed by Pentagram is a great example of how a font family can be used in different ways in order to portray different types of information. In this case, the thin weights of Gotham were used when showing a host of the show, and the heavy weight of Gotham was used in creating the title because they're using a single thought family and all their different slides they have the freedom to present the same font in a multitude of different ways without causing any sort of conflict in the design. The studio even created a customized, dotted version of Gotham in order to add another variation to the sequence, all while staying within the confines of the Gotham Font family font. Families are one of the simplest ways to pair funds easily and should certainly be utilized when possible. 6. Serif: the past couple of videos have focused on a few general rules of font pairing as we learned about purpose, contrast and families. Now let's start the second half of the class where we talk about how to pair specific classifications of thoughts. Let me preface it with this, though. I'm gonna be talking about font pairing in a general safe practice. But there are tons of designs that break the rules I'm going to discuss. However, I would encourage people who are looking for a starting point to follow these rules in order to understand how fought parent works from there feel free to experiment. But remember that rules are set in place for a reason. All right, so let's kick this second half off with Sarah fonts. Sarah Ifs could very easily be considered the foundation of type. For the longest time, Sarah fonts were used as a method of formal communication and were used in the first examples of printing. Historically, Sarah fonts have been considered easier to read and better for copy. However, Sarah's congest is easily be used for style and have been used to treat some incredible designs in the past. A general rule of pairing Saref is to Paris sheriff with a sand saref. Using a slab or decorative or script fought is very difficult to pair serves with, as the fonts tend to compete with each other, using a San serif enables the serif to stand out and be the center of the design. Let's take a look at a poster that features a serif as the main display type. In this poster of Jean Luc Godard's breathless designer, Peter Straws, Field showcases a serif with its thick cliff IQ serifis as the title here, the designer chooses to match some qualities and contrast others. If you'll notice straws, Field chooses to pair the spot with a narrow, taller San Sarah and by using a tall san serif. The design complements the shape of the serif title font while using the Sand Saref to highlight the engraved look of the Sarah. When using a serif with so much personality, it's important to let it speak. And that's exactly what this combination does. Here are a couple examples of a few serif font combinations Albertus and champion Gothic Merryweather and Open Sands Shrink Hand and Gotham 7. Sans Serif: as vast as the sea of fonts can be. San serves air, probably the largest pool san Serif fonts are funds without the small decorations that Sarah's have and are incredibly versatile when it comes to font period. Because since Arabs are Gothic in nature and meaning that the line with is uniform, this opens up the opportunity to pair these funds with a huge variety of different thoughts . San tariffs congenitally be paired with any other category as long as the composition is strong. So what I'll say is this. Because San tariffs can easily be paired with so many fonts, it's easy to get distracted and to go with the first font pair you find. But the problem is that the first options are always the best. Earlier, we talked about how font pairing is an act of problem solving. It's about fitting the mood while creating an interesting composition. Well, serif skin differ based on the style of Sarah Sand. Saref is really rely on more fundamental descriptors such as heightened Wait, let's take Oswald, for example, one of the most obvious characteristics of Oswald is its height in its shape, which is rectangular. Knowing this, we can create contrast in a few different ways if we want to create contrast based on shape , repair the rectangular Oswald with a more square Gotham or Monserrat. However, if we want a pair it with a serif, we compare it with a more contemporary serif, such as droid serif. When choosing a font to pair with your Sand Saref, let it have a little bit more character so that you can achieve the mood that you're targeting in your design. Here are a couple sans serif font combinations Oswald and Lado Lee Gothic and several be me Oh and Bree. 8. Slab Serif: slab serif are a Superfund group of funds there gritty and they're loud, and they can carry so much character they could be some of the most fun funds to play around with. However, slabs tariffs can also be intimidating as a font as their loudness comes off much stronger than that of Saref. Sir Sand serves the good news is because of their pronounced characteristics. You're traditionally left with one style to pair them with. For slabs sheriff's I would recommend pairing your font with a Sand Saref. Like I mentioned before. There's so much personality that comes with a slab serif. I don't think we need to combat it with another type of decorative or Sarah font. Using a san serif will allow room for your slab serif to breathe, and, more importantly, will draw more attention to the details of these fonts. I don't think the fund your pairing it with necessarily needs to be calm, but having a font with a quieter shape will accent the large rounded serifis of your Slab Serra Fund. Here are a couple examples. Take this poster of Alphaville, for example. Take a look to see how a condensed slab serif pairs well with a wider san serve. And though the style of these two fonts are different, the mood of these fonts feel the same. Together they create this sort of western style that calls to the middle of the 20th century. There's one exception to pairing slabs tariffs, and that is in the use of American Western typography. During that time period, a lot of slabs terrorist were used in combination with other slob serves and even sometimes with normal serves. Even though these fonts aren't necessarily by the rules, the use of them in this historical style makes it really effective. While it could be very easy to lose hierarchy when using slabs tariffs, using them in combination with different colors and sizes and san tariffs can make for a few really unique pieces. Here are a few slab serif font combinations, clear and on extra condensed and low Archer and Verlag 9. Script: cursive font pairing can be really tricky. The shape of the letters are fundamentally different than that of Sarah's or sand serves. That said, the difference in shapes can lead to a couple really creative designs. Personally, I find that cursive fonts have a lot of great detail to them, and that can carry a lot of information just in their own style. When dealing with the fault like that, my recommendation is to use a san serif in order to retain the loudness of occurs a font without watering it down. One of my favorite ways to do this is to you, super families, just like we mentioned before. Using super families could be a great way to pair fonts. Here's a design that exemplifies how a script bond can be used with a sans serif heading Log in Breath created this awesome German stamp design using a bunch of different examples of script and san tariffs that all belong in saying super family. However, some scripts don't have a Sand Saref to match it in a super family. For those, I recommend playing around with Shape of the cursive to see how you can fit the sand Saref in to match in a way that's interesting and unique. Cursive fonts have so much character to them that it's important that when you're using them, that you let them speak and carry your designs. 10. Assignment: So in this class you've learned how to combine fonts using a variety of methods, and you've also seen some real life examples of how professional designers pair funds. Now it's your turn. Using Adobe Photo Shop opened up the PSD file attached to the class. In it, you'll find a title card of default funds, but I want you to do is take this PSD file and making awesome slide that we could potentially use as a cover for the class view of any question about anything I've said in the class. Post them in the class discussion forum where I can see everything and respond.