When approaching a graphic design project brief, it’s easy to get carried away with the little details, like moving an illustration one pixel to the left and back again or changing a color’s hex code by one digit. But there’s one detail you should never ignore, and that’s choosing the right typeface for the job.
How a word is written says as much about its intended meaning as the word itself. Context is key here — the typefaces, color scheme, imagery, and written content in your design should all feel like they’re working together, but choosing just one or two typefaces for a project from thousands of available options can be overwhelming and time-consuming if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. If you’re in need of some typeface inspiration, these five resources can help you find the perfect typeface to enhance your project.
1. Fonts In Use
Fonts In Use is an excellent place to gather historical context on a typeface and its applications. The site showcases type in a variety of settings, including movie posters, clothing, and even the sides of buildings, as well as more top-of-mind uses like websites and book covers.
The archive stretches back decades, and each piece is tagged with the names of the typefaces it’s using, which can be very helpful when you’re trying to build a type pairing. Whether you choose to filter by typeface, topic, or even year of creation, this enormous gallery of applied typography is sure to inspire you.
If you’re searching for “what’s trending in type,” check out Typewolf for current popular finds. Typewolf is particularly good for web design inspiration, and like Fonts In Use, it lists out the names of the typefaces used by each webpage. Though the site does lack a search function, you can google the name of a particular typeface plus “Typewolf” to see how others have used it in the past.
Once you’ve found the typeface of your dreams, you may be dismayed after seeing its price tag. Well-designed type is often expensive, and licensing full type families can cost hundreds of dollars. This is where Typewolf’s most useful feature comes in. On each typeface’s dedicated page, Typewolf lists a match for its nearest neighbor on Adobe Fonts, the next resource on this list.
3. Adobe Fonts
If you pay for an Adobe Creative Cloud plan, you have access to Adobe Fonts, a seemingly endless library of typefaces that syncs across all your Adobe apps. This library can be filtered by detailed typography terms such as x-height and figure style, or simpler adjectives like “funky” or “friendly.”
If you’ve already chosen one typeface for a project and are looking for one or two more that complement its style, these advanced search tools will help you narrow the field. The broadest categories available are Sans Serif, Serif, Slab Serif, Script, Mono, and Hand, but if you’re searching for a truly wild typeface, check out the hidden Decorative category by using this search query.
4. Google Fonts
If you don’t have an Adobe account, there’s no need to worry; Google Fonts has you covered. Google Fonts filters aren’t as jargon-heavy as those on Adobe Fonts, so if you’re new to the world of type pairings, this is the site for you. With free and simple licensing, plus the ability to download multiple type families at once, Google Fonts makes it easy to build a collection of typefaces that live natively on your computer. If you’d like to learn more about a typeface on Google Fonts, just click on its page to see all its weights, its full glyph list, and some popular pairings with other Google typefaces.
Our final resource for typography inspiration is Dieline, a packaging design site that showcases both concept work and real products that are available in stores. Though the site can be a bit confusing to navigate and lacks the typeface identification and search features listed in the previous examples, it provides a refreshing perspective on the role of type in branding and marketing. Their curated Best of the Month lists showcase some truly polished, inspiring work that can get your typographic juices flowing during an art block.
Need to create something elegant and refined? Check out the Spirits and Liquor category. How about something cute and family friendly? The Kids and Baby category definitely has something for you. No matter what style you’re looking for, you’re sure to find a few wonderful examples here.
Making informed type choices is all about context. Focus on defining the tone of your project, then use the above resources to find typefaces that amplify that tone if you need some inspiration. And if you’re interested in seeing some typographic wizardry at work, reach out to our website design agency. Happy type hunting!
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