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Combine typefaces

Very often in an all-type logo, you'll want to use two different typefaces. Sometimes you'll use two faces in the name of the company, or you might use a typeface in the large company name that is unsuitable for the small type. For instance, say you use a face with very thin lines in the company name, but you need to put the word "international," "incorporated," "corporation," or perhaps even a tag line like "We do it for you," in very small type. The thin lines that print clearly in the company name will completely fall apart in the small type, so you need a different typeface that will hold up in small sizes.

This is the key to using two (or more) different typefaces: contrast. You cannot use two fonts that have anything in common- if they are not members of the same family (like the very thin weight combined with the very heavy weight), then you must choose faces that are very different.

If you combine two faces and can tell they're not working well together but can't put your fi nger on it, look for the features that are similar between the two fonts-it is the similarities that are causing the conflict.

If this concept interests or confuses you, read the second half of The Non-Designer's Design Book, which focuses on the specifi c challenge of combining typefaces.

This combination uses two members of the same typeface (Clearface); one is black italic and the other is bold italic. There is a bit of contrast between the two words, but not enough to be effective.

This combination uses two different sans serifs (Frutiger and Avant Garde). They are slightly different, but have the same size, weight, and structure (monoweight strokes); these similarities create a confl ict instead of a contrast.

This combination uses two different scripts (Bickham Script and Redonda Fancy). They are somewhat different, but both faces have a thick/thin weight shift, curly shapes, hand-scripted forms, and they're about the same size; these similarities create a conflict.

This combination uses two different serifs (Garamond and Cresci). They are somewhat different, but both faces have serifs, a moderate thick/thin weight shift in the strokes, and both parts of this word are in all caps in the same size; these similarities create a confl ict instead of a contrast.

This combination uses two different weights of the same sans serif typeface (Frutiger). Although they are from the same family, the difference in weight (thickness of the strokes) is so strong it creates a great contrast. If we combined the medium weight with the heavy weight, the contrast would not be so effective.

This combination is also two members of the same family (Clearface). The contrast comes from differences in weight (thickness), structure (expanded vs. condensed), and form (italic vs. roman), with a little contrast of color thrown in.

This combination uses a modern face (Quirinus) and a sans serif (Frutiger). The contrast is in form (caps vs. lowercase), size (the caps are the size of the x-height), weight, and structure (serious thick/thin vs. monoweight strokes, plus serif vs. sans serif). The choice of color contrast is deliberate: cool colors recede. If we had chosen a warm color, like red, for the word "TECH," the warm color would have come forward, become more important, and there would be a conflict between it and the larger word (Chroma). The small type for "incorporated" is Frutiger.

Obviously, here we've got a script (Bickham) combined with a sans serif (Impact). To intensify the contrast, we made sure to choose a heavy, rather vertical sans serif, and used the special, fancy initial cap that comes with Bickham.

In this combination the words "Kitt," "Katt," and "CAFE" are the same typeface, but KittKatt is Bodega Sans Black and CAFE is Bodega Sans Light. The contrast of weight and size is emphasized by a contrast of color. The ampersand (&), Redonda Fancy, uses a contrast of structure, color, and weight.

Here the modern font (Onyx), with its vertical, condensed serif characters contrasts strongly with the horizontal, cursive face (Carpenter). The contrast is emphasized with color.

In this combination the letters of SA&T are directly from the font Blue Island. The only logical choice of a contrasting typeface would be a sans serif-just about any other category of type (oldstyle, modern, slab serif, script, or another decorative face) would almost certainly have confl icting features.

This combination uses a tall, decorative, yet formal sans serif (Serengetti) in all caps vs. a playful, handlettered, childlike face in lowercase. In this logo, we also used a contrast of direction, size, and, of course, a contrast of color.

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