Nothing is worse than falling head-over-flats in love with a Squarespace font and using it absolutely everywhere on your site…
…only to realize that font isn’t actually available in any of the other softwares you use on the daily.
Brand consistency and recognition are so so important to a solid marketing strategy!
It’s not always possible to plaster your name, logo, or photo all over every bit of marketing you do, and whether you are showing up in their inbox, their Insta feed, or in an organic keyword search on good old Google, your audience should be able to spot your branding from a mile away!
To make this possible, your fonts, color palettes, design elements and vibe really do need to be the same across all platforms.
(This means your site, social graphics, newsletters, ad campaigns…basically anywhere you show up to shout out about your biz!)
So yeah, font is kinda a massive deal.
But when you are first starting out (whether you are designing for clients, or DIY-ing a Squarespace site for your own biz) you don’t exactly have endless dollars to be devoting to paid versions of all the many many (manyyy) softwares you find yourself reaching for.
If you aren’t familiar, Canva is a wonderful software you can use to create basically any graphic or file type you might need for your biz (blog thumbnails, social media graphics/stories, PDFs, fliers, brochures, company letterhead, you name it!)
And their free plan is an absolute Christmas miracle for newbie business owners on a budget!
Sure, you could just pony up and pay for the pro plan, which would allow you to manually upload and use any font you can (legally) get your hands on.
BUT that’s just just one more monthly expense to keep up with, and all those seemingly inexpensive additional paid softwares start to add up pretty dang quick over the course of a year!
So Canva is my go-to recommendation for new business owners who need fabulous graphics!
Alternatively, if you’re a web designer working with clients, it’s not just your own biz’s bottom line you have to consider…
As a web designer, unless you plan to stay on retainer for life, when you hand off your latest web design project to it’s proud new owner, you’re going to want to make sure they are set up to confidently maintain their own site!
(Cutting down on the number of post-launch emails that land in your inbox with ‘Quick question…’ related subject lines.)
This includes being able to easily recreate and update any graphics, thumbnails, or other branded elements you’ve created for their site.
Now, as much as you love it, chances are your client does not have Adobe Illustrator.
And to ask them to purchase and learn it for themselves just so they can take over from here would be pretty terrible customer service (and kinda cruel, given the crazy steep learning curve).
Canva is the super user-friendly, free alternative!
It’s is the perfect place to build out these little extras for your client’s site, because all the templates live online (meaning less file sharing, and no storage-hogging software to download to their dinosaur of a laptop!)
If you create them their own free account in Canva and use that to build their site’s graphic files/templates, everything they need to maintain their own site/brand, will be at their fingertips the day you go to hand off their site!
Like I mentioned earlier, to make your client’s life easy (and increase your chances of receiving that 5 star review you’re holding out for) you’ll want to make sure the fonts you are choosing/recommending are available in both softwares.
Hence this guide!
In a recent live Q+A call, one of my Square Secrets & Square Secrets Business students mentioned that finding and choosing the right font pairings was taking wayyyy too long for every client and totally holding up her design process.
And if you’ve ever DIY’d a site, you can prob relate – you can literally spend hours previewing font options, trying to narrow down just the right pairing that perfectly embodies your biz’s unique vibe.
What if I told you there’s a better way?
Now this probs goes against everything you’ve ever heard/believed about being a highly sought after web designer, but…
Do yourself a favor and release yourself from the pressure of this crazy ideal.
Like, right now.
Most successful designers actually have a short list of fav font pairings they turn to (but then maybe swap out one of those fonts if it makes sense to help create the vibe and style the client is looking for.)
So say for example the website your client is envisioning calls for something really creative and scripty.
Use your usual go-to pairings, but swap out Heading 1 or 2 (h1 or h2) with that creative font.
Et viola! Now you’re just looking for one font (not three) every time you design a new site.
Same thing, if the client is going for a super modern look, swapping out maybe your normally chosen Serif font for something ultra-modern and Sans Serif would make sense.
I remember hearing from fellow designer Meg Summerfield, and she said she used to beat herself up trying to come up with custom sections and new ideas for every part of a clients site and that totally burned her out.
So instead, now she just challenges herself to think of one creative new layout or design aspect per client site.
It’s the client’s unique content that guides the site, so even if she has just one new design/layout idea, and the rest is previously used layouts or styles, but mixed in with the new client’s brand, content, and layout, her clients sites always looks different and new!
No need to be so dang hard on yourself to come up with creative font pairings or completely never-before-seen designs for every single client!
Change one thing as it makes sense for the brand/business (and of course tailor the site in general, letting their content be what guides you) and you’ll produce different sites every time, without making your life really hard in the process!
Use #1: Find your core font pairings
Need a quick visual of all your options in one place? With the above time/sanity saving tips in mind, feel free to use the graphics below to find your go-to font pairings!
(I’ve grouped them all into their appropriate font-type categories to make pairing a cinch!)
Use #2: Quickly identify your unique font add-on
After you have your core fonts selected, bookmark this post to your browser (Command + D on a Mac, Control + D for Windows) so you can quickly reference it every time you come to the point in your design process when you need to look for that one unique font to add to the mix to totally set off you client’s design!
Use #3: Already have a font in mind, but you’re wondering if it can be found in both Canva and Squarespace? Hit command + F (Control + F for windows users) to quickly and easily search the A-Z list below!
It’s 100% possible that your clients had a little extra dime to invest in their biz, and are coming to you with a complete custom-created branding kit, which would pretty much dictate the exact fonts you need to be using.
BUT if it falls on you to recommend fonts for their site, this list will be your best friend.
Ready to save hours previewing font options when deciding on a look for your biz site and brand?
Use the graphics below to quickly and easily compare all your options side-by-side.
I also threw in a few tips and best practices in to consider when choosing from each category!
Happy font shopping!
Sans Serif fonts are the go-to choice if you want your brand vibe to feel modern, clean, and very with-the-times.
Often times, brands choose a font from the Serif family, one from the Sans Serif family and one from script or display fonts too.
To go for an ultra-modern brand vibe however, use only Sans Serif fonts.
Just picking 1 or 2 and then varying upper/lower case, bolding or color can be enough to have variety within your fonts and make certain headings stand out from a page full of text, while still only using Sans Serif fonts to get your ultra-modern vibe.
Serif fonts play well with others from different font families.
Having purely Serif fonts in your brand can get overwhelming and busy. (Generally, not in a good way).
So go ahead and pick a favorite Serif font, maybeee 2 Serif fonts, and then pair with a font from another font family for your 2nd or 3rd font option within your brand.
If just choosing 1 Serif font is feeling bland to you, try playing around with bolding, italicizing or coloring of your Serif fonts. That can be enough to add variety to your brand.
Script fonts add character!
If you’re going for an old-world, or classic or even down-to-earth-I-wrote-this-text-myself type feel for your brand, you want to reach for a script font.
But be very selective in it’s use. Use it for a word here or there or a sentence fragment. Maybeee a line of text.
But definitely stop short of using a script font for any long paragraphs of text, they’re often simply too hard to read.
Think of Script fonts like diamonds. They add a touch of elegance here and there, but overdo them, and things will start to look try-hard and cheap quick.
Display fonts are another way to add character – but are very different from script fonts.
Depending on the display font you choose, you could get a look that feels very cultural, down-to-earth, collegiate, etc.
Display fonts are another type where you just want to sprinkle them in sparingly here and there to add a certain vibe to your brand, but are not ideal for whole paragraphs of text.
Add a display font to your more basic Serif or Sans Serif font choices to add a hint of character to your brand.
Alfa Slab One
Black Ops One
Give You Glory
Hero Van Muellerhoff
IBX Plex Mono
IBX Plex Sans
IBX Plex Serif
Julius Sans One
Just Another Hand
Kumar One Outline
Over The Rainbow
Pathway Gothic One
Playfair Display SC
Racing Sans One
Sorts Mill Goudy
Source Sans Pro
Sue Ellen Francisco