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Fonts: How Many Is Too Many?

There are a lot of great fonts out there. How do you know which to use? How do you know when you’ve got too many?

As a general rule of thumb, you should be using no more than three or four fonts in any one project. Be consistent in your use of fonts — try using one font for headlines, one font for text boxes, sidebars, and pull quotes, and one font for body copy. You can use bold, italics, and font size changes for other design elements to create a uniform look that isn’t boring and isn’t distracting to readers.

Design mistakes:

  • Using a different font for each different headline. This can be very distracting to readers.
  • Changing fonts in the middle of a paragraph or in the middle of a sentence. You’d better have a very good reason!
  • Using too many fonts in a very short piece. Longer, multi-page projects can handle multiple fonts more easily, especially if the fonts are spread out across the pages.
  • Choosing a script or fantasy style font for body copy. These are great for accents or headlines, but can be very difficult to read for long periods of time.

Above everything else, you want your printing projects to be readable! Too many fonts can distract the reader, making your point difficult to find. Think about using only one font — with italics, bold, and size changes for emphasis — for maximum consistency and readability.

David Ji

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