Pairing our brand fonts to create contrast and emphasis

There are many pros to having a flexible brand with five typefaces to choose from – especially if you're a trained designer. For others, it might be intimidating to know which typefaces to use when and where, and how they can best work together. I'll provide some basic guidelines in this post.

Before I get into some tips for pairings, let’s go through a quick breakdown of each typeface, how they’re classified, and how to successfully use them to enhance the university brand.   

Montserrat: geometric, sans serif 

  • Represents the U of I brand best when used in bold, all-caps for headlines or emphasis 

  • Can be used as body copy, but it takes up much more space than Source Sans Pro or Source Serif Pro 

Source Sans Pro: sans serif, intended for web interfaces 

  • Easy-to-read even in large sections of body copy (at regular weight)

  • Also works well for headlines (bold/black weights and lower or title case) 

Source Serif Pro: serif font, designed to complement Source Sans Pro 

  • Use only as body copy or small messages in a design 

Fjalla One: tall, condensed, sans serif 

  • Use only for large and relatively short headlines

SuperFly: brush 

  • Great for emphasizing a short phrase or single word (like one of the brand powers

  • Use only in small doses

While these typefaces were chosen to work well together, you should never use more than three fonts in any particular design (I generally recommend just one or two).

There are a few ways you can go about pairing fonts successfully, but for our brand it’s best to focus on creating contrast – combining different sizes, weights, families and colors, as demonstrated below. (Just make sure you’re using accessible color combinations, which is covered in this post.) Because there are a lot of font pairing possibilities (only a few examples are included below), your particular unit might want to work together to determine which combination(s) you want to consistently use as a team.  

Our brand fonts were chosen to create a usable, powerful and recognizable look – so have fun with them! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.