The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Font System For Your Website
We all know that the fonts you choose for your brand are important, but when you're stacking them on top of everything else that goes into making a website, things can often start feeling complex and overwhelming.
There's actually a really simple solution to this, and that's to create a font system for your brand! After you create your system you can implement it on your website - I promise this will make your life so much easier! Since each font gives off it's own vibe, smart pairings can be a super smart way to curate an intentional experience for your site visitors.
Okay cool, let's dive in.
(Pssst! all fonts in this post are FREE! you can find download links at the bottom.)
Setting up your font system.
The foundation of your font system starts with creating a hierarchy for your fonts. Those are h1, h2, h3 and basic paragraph text (also called "body" or "normal" text). You can use this basic structure when you're ready to implement copy on your website. Check out my examples below:
Below is a paragraph comparison using varying degrees of hierarchy.
In this example you can see how even the smallest touches can make a huge impact! Using headers and a little bit of color in an organized font system will really help draw visitors to the most important parts of your content.
Customizing your font system.
For simplicity's sake (and because I think these are the best fonts to use on a website), I’m only going to use serif and sans serif fonts today. In case you need a refresher, serif fonts have the little notches on the end and sans serifs don’t (see below).
You can pair the fonts for your system in a few different ways:
Serif + serif: this is an ultra classic combination and can be very editorial, but could also seem dated and boring in the wrong context.
Sans serif + sans serif: this is a hyper modern combo, but could easily come off as masculine or tech-y (which may or may not be what you're going for). To ensure a feminine flair, I like to find sans serif fonts that have a bit of roundness to them.
Serif + sans serif: this is the most interesting option because of the contrast from the two font classes. This combo mixes classic with modern and is the easiest to get right.
Pro tip: You can also play with italics, uppercase, lowercase and letter spacing to customize your font system even more.
You could also use just one font for your system.
Many fonts come as a family, meaning they have different weights. Varying your font weight adds interest without being too complex (Raleway is a good example of this).
Pro tip: You might be used to the words "bold", "thin" and "regular" when it comes to font weights, but in Squarespace the weights are listed as numbers (i.e., 400, 500, 700). The higher the number, the thicker the weight.
Above are examples that combine everything we've discussed up to this point: varying your font weights, letter spacing, using italics or different letter cases, and a comparison using two fonts vs one. The combinations are seriously endless!
The best Squarespace font pairings.
Okay, I know this is what you were really waiting for! I love the font combos in this list because they really do convey different personalities or vibes, but all manage to look very professional and put together.
The best thing about this list isn't just that all the fonts are available on Squarespace, but that they're all totally free to download - meaning you can start using them on any graphic or marketing item you create for your business.
It's so much easier to build trust with your audience when your branding stays consistent, so I highly encourage you to use the links at the end of this post to download your favorites and use throughout all of your marketing efforts :)
When combining fonts you generally want to create contrast and avoid pairing anything that looks too similar. For example, you could pair a thin font with a thicker one, lowercase with uppcercase or use italics for your subheading and regular for your main heading.
Pairing a serif font with a sans serif font is the easiest and safest way to create contrast and interest.
Don't forget that you could also use just one font of your website, and make use of different weights in the font family to add variety.
Use letter spacing to instantly make any serif or sans serif font look more high end.
Above all else, make sure you're thinking about the hierarchy of information on your website! Use it to strategically call important parts of your site out and draw your readers in.
Raleway / Playfair Display / Open Sans Condensed / Open Sans / Montserrat / Old Standard / Quicksand / Droid Serif / Lato / Pathway Gothic One / Gentium / Quattrocento / Quattrocento Sans / Tenor Sans / Roboto / Oswald / Cormorant / PT Sans Narrow / Baskerville / Abril Fatface / Poppins / Elsie