Design tips: Font pairing basics

Design tips Font pairing basics featured image

Beginners: think of learning font pairing skills as your express ticket to next-level design.

When used creatively, this bombshell skill holds the potential to make your designs look professional, read flawlessly, and capture the essence of your content with impact!

To follow on from learning how to use fonts effectively, here we explain how different fonts can be used to complement each other. This skill is relevant to all design types that use text, from Facebook marketing graphics to album covers for artists. These five tips will provide you with the basic skills you’ll need to starting choosing font pairs with confidence.

01. Regular and Bold


The terms ‘regular’ and ‘bold’ refer to the weight of a particular font. Regular and bold font pairs are a great way to achieve variation without using more than one font.

Bold fonts are the loud-mouth of the pair, so use them for words you want to project or emphasise. See Raleway Regular and Raleway Bold above.

02. Bold and Script


This font combo is the extrovert of the font pairing world – sure of itself and bursting with character! A great option for jazzing up a design. The clean, confident lines of bold fonts balance out the elaborate, decorative nature of script fonts.

For the invitation above, Raleway Heavy and Yellowtail have been paired together to add charisma to the lavish theme of the design. In the same vein, the design below creates a typographic drum roll by using Yellowtail to ‘introduce’ craft beer.


03. Tall and Short


Tall fonts, like a tall poppy personality, demand to be heard. Their strongly condensed nature is unique, and creates a great basis for contrast.

Tall poppies need to be brought back down to earth. Likewise, tall fonts are balanced beautifully by short fonts. Oswald (a tall font) achieves this  harmony when paired with Roberto.

04. Thick and Thin


A font pair you can reply on to look good together – through thick and thin (couldn’t help it). Aim for high contrast when choosing these type of fonts.

In the design above, the fonts that appear from top to bottom include: Raleway Heavy, Raleway Regular and Julian Sans One.

05. Regular and Italics


Regular fonts and italics feature a kind of good cop/ bad cop dynamic – one says it like it is, the other edges to say more.

In the design above, the use of italics adds a soft touch to the phrase “And I must go” – hinting to its significance. Don’t feel obliged to use two different fonts, note here the use of Libre Baskerville regular/italic.

Learning the basics of font pairing is an exciting stepping stone towards great design. It can help you understand not only which fonts work together, but why they do. Have 5 mintues to spare? Put your new skills into practice with this interactive tutorial.

Your secret weapon for stunning design