I’ve had a few people ask me what my typography process is like when it comes to working on projects. I’ve shared a few free* goodies in the past, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Great typeface pairing is a learned skill, but I’ll go over some tips + tricks to help you get started out!
KNOW YOUR AESTHETIC Most of the time, font usage shouldn’t be based on what you think “looks cool” on a whim. The best thing you can do before starting any project ( even if it’s just for a blog post collage ) is to think about your aesthetic. Are you trying to be simplistic + modern?? Try something in the sans serif family. Or maybe you need a little bit of funk thrown in … keep your eye pealed for some unique typefaces. They’re out there! Serif fonts, on the otherhand, are perfect for many things including classic and vintage design. Always keep your key aesthetic in mind when trying to visually represent your project. Make sure your final choices feel right.
READ UP ON TYPOGRAPHY If you’re not a designer, I would suggest reading up on typography – even if it’s just a little bit. This is especially important if you’re in the creative business, have a blog, or market yourself on the daily. By educating yourself, you’ll start to learn balance and how type feels in a variety of situations. You’ll get a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. And beyond that, simply keep your eyes open. Whether you’re browsing pinterest or noticing a really cool menu design, take note of what looks good.
STAY FRESH To avoid repetition and assure that I’m starting from scratch for each new project, I always go through all of my fonts first. Sure, this may seem tedious, but it will stop you from using your favorite “go-to” fonts over and over again. What I do is open up Font Book ( which comes with any MAC ) and simply scroll through my typefaces. You can use the “custom type preview” to put in the words you’re looking to design and get a better feel for what you like. As you scroll, keep your aesthetic in mind and pull out any fonts that you think work. At the end, you’ll have a great assortment of options that work!
So there you have it – a few simple ideas for picking out fonts. I love starting discussions within the Be Free, Lance column, so if you’d like to share your own process, simply comment below. I’m sure others would love to hear what you have to say!