Finding the right font for a creative project can be hard enough; finding the perfect fonts to go with it can be a nightmare, especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of fonts at your disposal. Where do you even start?
If your computer's stuffed to the gills with free fonts and you're overwhelmed by choice, there are thankfully plenty of online tools to help you narrow things down to some winning combinations.
We've picked out five great sites that'll not only help you make excellent font pairing choices, but in some cases teach you how to make better decisions about type pairing by understanding what makes some fonts work better with others. Read on for some essential typographic matchmaking.
Most font pairing tools rely either on curation or providing you with a way to visually judge which font combinations work best together. Fontjoy, on the other hand, does it all with artificial intelligence.
Created by designer and engineer Jack Qiao, it uses deep learning techniques to analyse the key visual features of fonts and calculate which one should work best together. You don't need to worry about the science, though; simply hit the Generate button and it'll instantly conjure up a font combo for you. Alternatively, pick a font and it'll come back with any number of combinations that should work perfectly.
02. Type Connection
We adore Type Connection's quirky approach to typeface pairing. Created as a thesis project by Aura Weiner, it describes itself as a typographic dating game; you pick a font, then Type Connection presents you with a selection dating strategies, each one based on different strategies for combining fonts. It then lines you up with three potential dates, only one of which will result in true love.
More of an educational tool than a straight font pairing tool, it'll teach you a lot about how fonts work together and help you come up with your own font pairings that won't turn out to be a terrible mistake.
If you use Google Fonts and you're overwhelmed by the amount of type on offer, there are a good few sites that can help you narrow them down to some winning combinations. One of them is FontPair, a project started by Hayden Mills as a way to help people pair free, open-source fonts together.
Updated weekly with fresh pairings, it provides huge selection of featured font pairs, complete with options to download the fonts and see the pairings in the wild. And if you're looking for specific pair types, such as display fonts paired with serifs, there are separate sections for most of the combinations you might want.
One foolproof method of finding beautiful font pairings is to go in search of well-designed sites with great typography, and see what fonts they're using. That's a lot of effort, though; thankfully Typ.io is on a mission to do just that.
It regularly showcases sites that make great use of type, and allows you to look under the hood to see exactly what fonts they use by pulling out their relevant CSS. It also helpfully links you the fonts in question so that you can try them out for yourself. And as an added bonus it keeps tabs on which fonts are proving popular at the moment so you can keep up with online typography trends; right now the likes of Gotham, Avenir and Roboto are all getting plenty of love.
05. Google Web Fonts Typographic Project
Another site designed to showcase fine-looking combinations of Google Fonts, the Google Web Fonts Typographic Project is the first offering from 25x52, an initiative to launch 25 new projects over 52 weeks.
It takes a splendidly eye-catching approach to showcasing font pairings: winning combinations are used to display passages from Aesop's Fables, which makes for a much engaging way of exploring typography than seeing 'The quick brown fox…' repeated over and over in different type. If you like what you see, know your typography and fancy contributing, you can find out how to do so here.