Mixing fonts is a little bit like mixing drinks. Some people are good at it, some (author included) not so good. Done well, using the minimum of extra ingredients, you can create something special but done badly you can ruin perfectly good raw ingredients.

 

We asked chief mixologist and all round typography nerd, John (Head of Creative Services here at Hello Starling), for some mixing advice:

 

First rule of mixing fonts: Ask yourself, is it necessary? Further, is it not possible (preferable usually) to add colour by spinning value out of the same font using the standard (caps, italic, bold, sizing) variations?

 

Second: Don’t mix in a single paragraph, not unless you want people to stop paying attention.

 

Third: Have a firm idea for the role of the different fonts. Is the mix intended to highlight continuity (where you would have less radical variance) or change (more contrast and a more energetic result)?

 

Fourth: Terroir! Use fonts from the same historical/cultural source or, even better, the same creator. Even if they are different there will be an element of continuity that, usually, lends itself well to mixing.

 

Fifth: Are you really sure it is necessary?

 

Cheers John. Now we just need to know how to mix a Negroni and we’re set.