Combining Typefaces: Free guide to great typography
Originally published by Five Simple Steps in 2013, my Pocket Guide to Combining Typefaces has sold thousands of copies, been used in college curricula, and been cited in conference talks by industry-leading designers.
Unfortunately, Five Simple Steps closed its doors this month. Because this pocket guide is no longer available for purchase, I’ve decided to make it available for free here on the Typekit blog. Download the PDF, and enjoy.
Here’s the official marketing material:
This very brief “pocket guide” is for designers and developers who want to make better choices about type and build their typographic expertise. Successful typeface combinations are partly a matter of good taste, which can be tough to develop. And finding typefaces that work well together often takes more time than we (or our managers, or our spouses!) think it should.
The guide will give you a framework for efficient practice, lead you to founts of knowledge, and help you judge the work you see, including your own work. It will also encourage you to be selective, patient, and reasonable, focusing on web contexts and your design goals.
Table of contents
- Type: Some background on type and typography, covering designers, anatomy, families, classification, and the jobs that typefaces do.
- Context: A brief look at web compositions as coordinated chunks of typeset elements, shifting among many states simultaneously.
- Choosing typefaces: Strategies for selecting typefaces based on real design goals, to truly understand why a combination works or doesn’t.
- Judging combinations: Practical advice about identifying successful typeface combinations by using them and looking at them carefully.
- Critique: An appraisal of five different sites’ type choices and typesetting, noting the relationships between their successes and the strategies and advice in this guide.
So go ahead, take a copy of my Pocket Guide to Combining Typefaces (PDF). I hope you like it. And if you do read it, please let me know what you think.