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Question Re: Font Variations

Enthusiast ,
Jan 29, 2024 Jan 29, 2024

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I'm learning how to work with font pairings to redesign my websites. I read that one of the fonts that work well with Futura is Bodoni. So, I opened up Photoshop and discovered that I have Bodoni 72 and Bodoni 72 Old Style, but not plain old Bodoni.

 

Similarly, I have Baskerville, but not New Baskerville, which is recommended to use with another font.

 

Here's my question: If a font like Bodoni or Baskerville is recommended, does that usually mean that variations of that font can be used in a similar context? Or do you have to get the exact font specified?

 

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How to , Missing font

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Community Expert ,
Jan 30, 2024 Jan 30, 2024

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When it comes to typeface pairings there aren't many hardline rules. The decisions come down to having a feel for what looks right. Futura is a fairly neutral geometric sans typeface. It can be paired with many other typefaces without the result looking like someone poured mustard on ice cream. One approach is using fonts that have compatible looking geometry -such as certain cuts of Baskerville or Bodoni. There are many "modern" serif typefaces in that category.

 

There are many versions of Bodoni (just as there are many versions of Futura).

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 30, 2024 Jan 30, 2024

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Thanks. I haven't yet developed an eye for the nuances of fonts,  but, yes, Futura, does seem exceptionally compatible.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 30, 2024 Jan 30, 2024

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One thing that helps is looking at fonts within a typographical category. One can take note of major similarities that put the typefaces in that category as well as the differences that set one typeface apart from others. Much of it comes down to the way the parts of the letters are shaped.

 

Sans serif typefaces have categories like Geometric Sans, Grotesque, Humanist, etc. When looking at typefaces in one of those specific categories you'll certain style traits they share in common. Typefaces in the Geometric Sans category, such as Futura, look very different from a Grotesque typeface such as Helvetica. Serif typefaces have a bunch of style categories too (Old Style, Transitional, Modern, Slab Serif, etc). Typefaces like Bodoni or Didot fit in the "modern" category.

 

Another big influence on the style of a typeface: the time period in which the typeface was created. The printing press was invented nearly 600 years ago. But even just within the past 50 years many style trends in graphic design have come and gone. Lots of typefaces have risen into popularity with those trends and then fallen out of favor when the trend grew dated.

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