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using contrasting fonts

The Ultimate Guide to Contrasting Fonts

When it comes to design, it is so important that the message you want to send comes across to the consumer. If you are using poor type contrast, your message is going to get lost. And honestly, your design is just going to fail. (Sorry to be harsh, but Typography is serious business.)

Contrast has been a common theme throughout my life. I think contrast is important in most aspects of your life, just to keep things interesting. One big aspect was, obviously, photography. But more recently I’ve learned how important contrast is when it comes to choosing fonts. So I’ve created the ultimate guide to using contrasting fonts!


contrasting fonts



1) Mix a dark font with a light font

Different fonts have different “colors” or shades of black. It’s very powerful to use a super heavy, dark font with a light, airy font. I actually do this on my blog a lot and in my design. (i.e. the dark bold headline font with the super light body copy.)

2) Using all caps & lower case in the same font

If I could, I would use 100 fonts in every design. But I know it looks terrible and it’s very unrealistic when it comes to clients. Some clients have only 1 font that they will allow you to use, and if that’s the case you can create contrast by using all caps and lower case together.

3) Mix serif & sans serif fonts

One of my favorite ways to create subtle contrast is mixing a traditional Serif font with a more modern Sans Serif font. Here’s a serif, for the record:

using contrasting fonts

A sans serif font is like the one I’m using for right now. This type of contrast is great in a professional atmosphere. I also think that using a slab serif with a sans serif is the most successful way to mix the two font styles. (A slab serif is a big thick serif, like the one above.)

4) Mix a script font with a thin font

This is a super popular use of fonts right now. In fact, I use it in most of my images. I think it gives the right amount style and charm and it works in almost any blog design ever. (Almost.) This one is pretty self explanatory. It’s pretty and it’s versatile. Use it to your hearts desire. (But maybe we do actually really need to be able to read the words, so pick a legible script font, please!)

5) Pick a fun font and a simple fun font

Picking super cute fonts with tons of character is honestly my kryptonite. I have a million of them. And I try to mix them all. But they don’t always work well together. I’m all for using a big, bold, crazy font (if you can actually read it) but it is best used with a very simple contrasting font. But you can even use a cute simple font with little details that keep all of the character. You be you. Just be you with beautiful font contrast.

6) Use font variations to contrast the same font

Do you have a font you’re just obsessed with and only want to use that one font all the time? Similar to using ALL CAPS and lowercase of the same font, using a bold variation and a regular or light variation of the same font gives great contrast as well. And you don’t even have to bother with two different fonts. I like this font contrast best with a sans serif font. But again, you do you. Make it work. etc. etc.


Use similar fonts and sizes

This is the ultimate kiss of death for any design. Mixing fonts that are too similar (like both serif fonts or both sans serif fonts) make the design look amateurish and messy. Don’t do it. Seriously. Thanks. Okay.

Use Similar Weight and color

If your fonts are just enough different to pull off, don’t make it worse by having them be similar weight or darkness. Make one light and one bold. Or maybe make one a little lighter gray or a different color.

So that’s my guide to using contrasting fonts. I think it’s incredibly important in design to create visual interest, especially in the your title. Hopefully this guide will help you create amazing, contrasted logos and designs.

What are some of your tips for creating visually interesting text?

|| the chaotic creative

Need some font suggestions? click HERE for a list of my favorite fonts.

  • Fonts overwhelm me but these are some great tips. Thanks!

  • Erin

    Love this! Totally going to put it to use/download these fonts to try!