Serif and Sans Serif are the biggest two family fonts. Usually people use Serif for serious things such as law letters.

Serif is further divided into:

  • Old Style. The oldest Serif typeface family. Very conservative, very old looking.
  • Transitional. Slightly more modern looking. New York Times.
  • Modern. Vogue magazine. Incredibly modern yet classy.
  • Slab. It was created for newspaper printing.

Sans-Serif don’t have that tiny little feet or decorative elements that Serif has. They look more modern and are further subdivided in four families

  • Grotesque
  • Neo-Grotesque
  • Humanist
  • Geometric


Depending what you’re creating you need to choose one typeface or another. If you’re creating something modern, you shouldn’t choose an antique typeface.

Most important is readability. Design at heart is all about function. Designs with only form and no function will never ever work well.

When choosing a typeface, readability comes determined by:

  • Open shapes in each letter
  • Ample intercharacter spacing between letters
  • Unambiguous forms for similar letters and numbers (g and 9)
  • Varying proportions

How to combine fonts

Usually you will have a different typeface for the Heading (title) versus the body. This is to create slight contrast in your designs.


  • Serif and Sans-Serif work together really well. If you have a heading that uses Serif and a body with Sans-Serif, that creates a good design. Don’t mix Serif with Serif or Sans-Serif with Sans-Serif!
  • Too different typefaces or fonts will make your design look more elevated, but too many fonts will ruin a good party.
  • Each typeface has personality and a mood. If you use the wrong typeface with the wrong mood for your designs, it can look incredibly jarring. Don’t mix different moods together!
  • Try to make sure the era of your typefaces are similar. Don’t mix typefaces from different eras, it can look very strange.
  • Try to use similar mood and time era. Contrast serif-ness and font weight.