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Typeface Relationships

Typeface Relationships

by Sean 09/16/14

How do you know which typefaces will work well together when designing a page with more than one element of text?

Firstly, consider that there are three main types of relationship between different typefaces: concordant, conflicting and contrasting...


A concordant design is where only one font is used, with minimal variety in style, size, weight or colour. There may be subtle variations used to differentiate different text elements - headings and body text for example - but on the whole this style is all about reigning a design in. It could be described as either dull or 'quiet' depending on how you see it. What cannot be denied is that there are times when a concordant design is required and times when it will leave a user underwhelmed. Best not to use this style for exclamatory material like posters or flyers...


Conflicting typefaces are those which are very similar but not the same. When typefaces which are very similar are used together it can be disturbing to the eye. It may even appear like a mistake has been made. The use of conflicting typefaces should definitely be avoided.


Contrasting typefaces are distinctly different in appearance, such as x-height, weight, colour, form, size etc. Combining contrasting fonts will help to create a visually striking page, as heavy contrasts attract our eyes. Another benefit of using contrasting typefaces is the ability to more effectively draw a user's attention to certain key areas. Using contrasting typeface is a highly recommended technique.

By considering these factors when choosing your font, you can ensure that your communication is at it's most effective for your target audience and purpose.