When I’m collaborating with clients to create their online look one of the places they get paralyzed most is in font selection. Yes, I do curate some fonts for them based on what they’ve indicated their style is, but the process is still grueling for them. (If this has happened to you, you might want to check out this post with tips on how to choose a font.)
So how do I ever make a decision? When I am looking at fonts and font combinations, I’m looking first at two things: letter height and similarity.
Good font combinations take both of these things into account to ensure that the visitor can read your very well written copy without being jarred by the fonts not really working together (consciously or unconsciously).
You are looking for fonts that have relatively similar letter heights so your reader’s eye moves smoothly across all the words on your site, rather than having to accommodate multiple heights and letter types.
Confused? Don’t worry, here are some examples:
These two samples are both serif fonts, but they have very different letter heights, even though their type style is the same.
Next up you want to look at letter shape.
In this example you can see that the first and last fonts have very similar letter shape, even though one is serif and one is sans-serif.
In this second example, the first two fonts have similar letter shapes even though one is a script font and the other is sans-serif.
Evaluating fonts based on things like height and letter shape is very important since it helps you sort out what fonts work for you and which fonts you just like because they’re awesome.
Ideally, you’re looking for the sweet spot between awesome and readable.
Now that you know this, you can better evaluate the fonts you like to see if they actually work for you. Take this knowledge with you while you hunt through endless font websites and work with your designer.