Pairing Fonts Is Easy...

Or is it? As a professional graphic designer, I've spent plenty of time over the past decade fussing over pairing fonts in my designs. It's a topic that keeps even the most veteran designer up at night in a cold sweat.

Are you are a designer that wants the most epic custom address numbers in your building complex? Or maybe you don't have a design background, but just want some nice looking custom house numbers on your home and/or business? Designer or not, you just need to find a solid house number font pair option, and quickly. Is this even possible?

I'm going to make a bold statement here. I believe font pairing is easy, if you boil it down to one fundamental principle of design: Contrast.

What do I mean by contrast? Several things, actually. I'm going to break it down for you right here, so read on!

The great thing about these principles of contrast, is that they can be used alone or combined for increased effect. So choose the ones that work best for your house or space.

Let's jump in!

Weight

Looking at these circles above side by side, it's clear they are identical. Each has the same diameter, and a 2 point stroke. They are twins, neither is dominant nor subordinate to the other. How can we add contrast here? Easy. Weight.

Now look at these two circles above. Again, they each have exactly the same outer diameter. But this time, the first has a much heavier stroke than the second. We have used weight to create stark contrast between these identical twin shapes.

This same weight principle is commonly applied in typography. Some font families are large, and have many different weight options. If we select two members of a font family that are two or three weights apart, that weight contrast is immediately apparent. This principle still works even when the two fonts being paired are not a part of the same family. Here are some examples below:

Modern font weight pairings

Width and Proportion

For this principle, we will use two rectangles as an example. Again, these shapes are identical. By simply altering the width of each rectangle, these shapes will take on dramatically different proportions:

The first rectangle's width has been extended considerably, while the second has been compressed. A dull relationship is now fresh and exciting!

When fonts are designed, the proportion of the font is always considered. While most fonts stick with a traditional "book" or "regular" width, many showcase greater extremes. Fonts like Tungsten are "condensed" or "narrow". Meanwhile, Knockout and United have options that are "wide" or "extended" for that verbose look.

When you pair fonts that are two or three widths apart, this will quickly create ample contrast and visual appeal.

Scale

Scale may seem like an obvious answer, but it's often overlooked. Here we see our two old friends, the identical circles. But now, it's clear that they differ in size even though their shape and stroke remains the same. Contrast!

What's great about scale for fonts is the letterforms don't need to look dramatically different. It doesn't matter, because the change in scale will fix that similarity issue for you!

Value

What is value? A quick lesson in color theory: Value determines the brightness of a color. It's easiest to think in terms of black and white. White is bright, therefore it's value is high. Black is dark, therefore it's value is low. When black is next to white, is that shift in value creating contrast? You bet!

Value applied to typography has the same effect. Whether we use greyscale colors or richly saturated colors, we can achieve great contrast. The value, or brightness, should be noticeably different. Dark blue with light blue, dark bronze with ivory, gold with white, and so on.

Font Style 

This is the most difficult and debatable contrast method. It's where a good eye may be required. The thing with art is this: It's subjective. Meaning, you may like artwork that others despise, and vice versa. In math, 2 + 2 = 4. In art, 2 + 2 = whatever you want it to. So go try some pairings, do you think they look good together? Great!

I will say this however: Try to find pairings with dramatically different traits. Clean and smooth paired with dirty and rough. Elegant paired with rugged. Masculine with feminine. New with old. You get the idea.

Let's try this out some more with our old circle. Smooth, rough, broken, segmented?

Now let's try some fonts.

Remember, these principles can be combined. Just don't let it go to your head. One or two of these should offer plenty of contrast.

Simple? Dare I say it, easy?! The key is to just start trying some things. If you get stuck, reach out to us, we are happy to help you make a great selection.

If you found a great pair for your house numbers, share it with us on Instagram! 

The point of all this is to help you understand how your house numbers can be interesting, and stand out from the rest of the street. We have the biggest selection of custom house numbers anywhere, and we are confident there is something here just for you.

 

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