When you’re adding text to photos and designs, choosing fonts can be an overwhelming ordeal. Font choice helps set the tone for the overall look and feel of a design, and when you’re faced with such a huge list of fonts to use, it’s easy to feel a little lost. How can you make a good decision when you don’t know the first thing about font selection?
Luckily, we’ve whipped up the ultimate guide for font pairing that will help set you up for success, whatever look you’re going for. From wedding invitations and business assets to social media posts, we’ve got font pairings to inspire you. And with the ability to upload your own fonts to BeFunky coupled with our already vast library of free fonts, you’ll be in typography heaven!
Font Pairing Basics
Before we get into which fonts pair well together, we need to talk about the four categories of fonts: serifs, sans serifs, decorative, and script. The goal of font pairing is to choose fonts (usually 2-3 at the maximum) that create contrast in a complementary way. Opposites tend to attract when it comes to human relationships, and this is typically the case with font pairing; opposite styles can work well together. Design is all about letting your creativity shine, so don’t be afraid to mix and match different font styles and typographical emphasis. Here’s what you need to know about the four different styles of fonts:
Best used for novels and newspaper print, serifs use thick and thin strokes to create a look that’s strong and bold. The word ‘serif’ refers to the small strokes attached to each letter. In design, serifs pair really well with their direct opposite: sans serifs. Like we said before, there are no real rules when it comes to font pairing, but as a general suggestion, you can’t go wrong pairing a serif with a sans serif.
Sans Serif Fonts
The name ‘sans serif’ means just what it sounds like: there are no serifs attached to letters. Using semi-rounded details instead, the sans serifs fonts are great for websites, blogs, and other flat designs. Sans serifs have a warm and inviting feeling about them, all the while providing a sense of stability and seriousness.
These are suitable for a variety of products and branding, as decorative fonts provide more creative detail than serifs and sans serifs. You’ll see decorative fonts used in logos, packaging, posters, and more. It’s typically the focal point of a text-based design and can be paired with serifs and sans serifs as supporting text.
These have the most personal touch of any font, as scripts tend to look more like hand-lettering. They’re perfect for wedding invitations, greeting cards, and shorter headlines. The strokes used are more fluid than decorative fonts, and they are contrasted well with serifs and sans serifs as supporting text.
Now that you know the four types of fonts and what they pair best with, it’s time to show you some font pairing examples. We’ll show you ten of our favorites, but remember, the possibilities of font pairing are endless. The best thing about adding text to photos and designs in BeFunky is that, unlike most online Creative Platforms, you can add your own fonts to the library. That means in addition to our already huge list of free fonts, you can always download fonts you love, install them on your Computer, and access them for design work in BeFunky. Peep this tutorial to learn how it’s done!
12 Examples Of Perfect Font Pairing
Here are our favorite examples of font pairing combinations for a variety of scenarios! You’ll find all of these fonts available in BeFunky, so you can get started with designs inspired by these today!
Events and Workshops
For event and workshop advertising, you'll want a bold yet clean font as a headline. Notice that in this design, we've paired a serif header font (Oranienbaum) with an italicized serif subheader (Playfair) and another serif as the descriptive text (Lora). It's more than ok to stick with one style of font throughout your design, providing contrast with different typographical emphasis and line height instead.
Blogs tend to perform better when the graphics and text have a clean design. Since webpages are flat, it's best to steer clear of super decorative or script fonts as typeface headers. Save those kinds of fonts for your logo. Here we've paired a serif font (Playfair) with two types of sans serif fonts (Open Sans as the subheader, and Open Sans Condensed as the descriptive text). All of these fonts are reader-friendly, which is exactly what you want when it comes to blogging.
Romantic Wedding Invitation
Wedding invitations are a great scenario for decorative and script fonts to accent more classic fonts. They add a more romantic flair to the event, which is what weddings are all about. Here, we've chosen different sizes of the same serif font (Vidaloka) as the main text and accented with a beautiful decorative font (Great Vibes).
Cinemas and Plays
For cinemas and plays, the focal point of the design is always going to be the event title. The font choice will entirely depend on the type of event, but in this case, we've chosen a bold serif font (Six Caps) to be front and center. Accented with other sans serif fonts (Archivo Narrow and Abel), the same vibe is achieved throughout the design. You can always create contrast by using different typographical emphases in your font selection.
Bakeries are warm and inviting, and the font selection should mimic that feel. Even though the test is sitting on darker colors, this bakery menu evokes a sense of warmth, and that has everything to do with the font pairing. Two types of serif fonts (Quicksand and Raleway) describe menu items and even showcase the bakery name, while a scripted font (Parisienne) indicates the type of design.
A good serif font can create an adventurous, yet classic feel to a design. In this case, we've chosen Merriweather to be front and center. Looking like it came straight out of the pages of a magazine, this font does a wonderful job of declaring the headline. We've also chosen to mix a sans serif (Cabin) with a serif font (Charter) for the description of the publication.
Whether it's a physical book or an eBook, font selection will help determine the overall look and feel. In this particular design, we've gone with three different types of fonts for a modern look. The main title is serif (Vidaloka), the subtitle is sans serif (Open Sans), and the supporting text is script (Petit Formal Script). Don't be afraid to mix and match up to three different types of fonts if it helps bring your design vision to life!
Everyone loves a good inspirational picture quote, whether it's displayed in the home or on social media. The best way to design a photo quote is to stick with two fonts and keep things fairly simple, especially because there will be a lot going on in the background. In this design, we've chosen a serif font (Raleway) as the quote text and presented the authorship of the quote in script text (Satisfy). It's eye-catching, balanced, and totally shareworthy.
Website design is similar to blog design in the sense that you don't want to use too much script or decorative text. The overall design will depend entirely on what kind of website you're working with, but in this case, a sans serif font (Questrial) serves as the main focal point and title of the page. We've kept things super simple by pairing it with another sans serif (Raleway) as the supporting text. You'll want to keep things clean with web design, especially if it incorporates a lot of other visuals, like photos.
Modern Coffee Shop
For a coffee shop or other retail business, you'll definitely need a bold, eye-catching font for the company name. Whether you're using a logo or simply typing the name of the business on a website, any typeface will do when it comes to the header text. It all depends on the company's vibe. In this case, we've gone with a modern-looking sans serif for the company name (Norwester) and paired it with another sans serif (Helvetica Neue) to keep things looking super clean.
For fashion publications and blogs, you'll want a modern and captivating font as your header text. This beautiful serif font (Abril Fatface) serves as a fresh focal point. Notice that we've used the same font for the ampersand, but made it smaller than the other two words in the title. This gives a unique and branded look. For the subheader, we've chosen an italicized serif (Arapey) and paired it with a clean sans serif (Avenir Next). Again, it's easy to create contrast when you add typographical emphasis sparingly.
When you're advertising a getaway, you'll want to draw viewers in with clean and readable fonts. This entire design uses sans serif typeface (Didact Gothic for the header and Karla for the rest). Using different sizes for the textboxes gives you a great way to put important text front and center, even if it's not visually centered on the design.
Whatever look you’re going for, BeFunky will help you add text to photos like never before. We provide all the fonts you need (and then some), and you can reference this guide as much as you’d like to learn how to use them. Now you’re one step closer to becoming a design guru.