5 of Our Favorite Google Font Combinations

One of the most important tools our designers have at their disposal is a font library. Typography is a vitally important aspect of design and most designers will develop a number of go-to font pairings that they can count on when pressed for time. Most graphic designers have a collection of thousands of typefaces that they mix and match to their heart’s content.

My personal font library includes nearly 13,000 different fonts within over 1,200 different type families. I’m constantly scouring the Lost Type Co-Op and Typewolf to discover new typefaces and new ways to combine the fonts I’ve already grabbed. I can describe from memory every classification of type out there and have spent hours agonizing over which pairings will work best for specific projects. And it’s an emotional process; I’ve been thrilled to discover that the latest typeface I’ve fallen for is affordable, and bitter when I’ve had to forsake my preference because clients aren’t willing to pay licensing fees for particular type families.

Font licensing can be a particularly tricky subject since many people do not realize that most typefaces are copy written materials that you have to purchase in order to use. Before Google Fonts launched in 2010, designers had to go through the lengthy and often expensive process of sourcing and purchasing typefaces from various type foundries. Adding to this challenge was the fact that most of these typefaces were not optimized for online use. Google Fonts changed the game in making a variety of web fonts freely available through open source licensing.


Here at Maga Design, we’re big fans of Google Fonts. Today, we thought we’d share five of our favorite combinations that feature these typefaces!

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Up first are Sans Pro and Source Sans Pro. Sans Pro’s highly contrasting stroke weights and lively accents add a bit of fun to the modern and serious nature of Source Sans Pro.

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Secondly, we have Muli and Domine. Muli is a unique sans serif that manages to be loud and powerful without venturing into the overbearing or austere realms that other popular sans serifs tend to occupy. It pairs nicely with Domine’s professional, yet approachable, style for a combination that will instantly grab the reader’s attention.

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In third place is Open Sans and Fanwood Text. Open Sans is known for being a universal font – it pairs well with pretty much any typeface out there. However, because of this it can often come across as monotonous and repetitive. However, when used as a display type and paired with a font as light and airy as Fanwood Text, the result is a unique balance between feminine and masculine.

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Next is Oswald and Quattrocento. Oswald is a unique display type in that it’s much more condensed than the majority of sans serifs. This, in addition to its angular nature, makes it a natural pairing for the equally angular Quattrocento. When paired together, these typefaces create an aesthetic that’s at once authoritative and approachable.

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Lastly we have Roboto and Crimson Text. Roboto is a great sans serif alternative to typefaces like Helvetica and Gotham. Paired with a traditional oldstyle typeface like Crimson Text, the result is a classic and well-balanced combination.


Which of these is your favorite combination? Are you a Google Fonts fanatic, too? Let us know in the comments!

Pokémon Go Augmented Reality Caught Us All: Here’s Why You Should Get Catching

Contributors: Maga Design Team Members
Graphic designed by: Afsaneh@magadesign.com

pokemon_go-v5The most talked-about, downloaded, acclaimed, and debated hit of the summer isn’t the latest Kardashian drama, but rather a mobile game reminiscent of years gone by, Pokémon GO. Due to the element of nostalgia, opportunity for exploration, and user connectivity, this app has created an explosive user base of fans (and skeptics) that will likely change the way we think about the future of gaming.

With the average gamer searching for Pokémon companions for roughly 45 minutes a day, the questions must be asked, “Why?” and “Who?”.  While the “why” is the most heavily debated part of this game, the “who” is actually the most interesting part of this 2016 application phenomenon.

Typically when a game (or similar artifact of mobile society) is released to the public, its adoption follows the typical life cycle bell-curve that we studied in our business and marketing classes. Innovators first, early adopters second, and the combo of early majority and late majority filling up the middle and end of the curve.

What this game did is make Augmented Reality technology, or AR, (which is still relatively “new” in terms of its mass consumption) easily digestible (i.e, fun and easy to use) for the larger percentage of the population. It did this by tapping into the ways we most commonly use our devices – GPS and our cameras, combined with a multigenerational franchise. Pokémon Go didn’t follow the typical curve, it seemed to explode all at once with all types of users adopting.

To note, Pokémon Go isn’t the first geocaching mobile game, nor is it possibly the best. Niantic, the developers of Pokémon Go, previously made another app known as Ingress. Not surprisingly, the gameplay for both apps are very similar, to the extent where much of the real-world data from Ingress has gotten pulled into Pokémon Go. In fact, Ingress could arguably be superior to Pokémon Go in terms of usability. In our opinion, Pokémon Go has considerable server issues and is rather limited in terms of what players can do. Much of this could be underpreparedness for the bandwidth needed for its release. Ingress also has been around for about three years and has undergone substantial gameplay tailoring.

Understanding “who”, we have to toss a nod to the favorite Pokémon cartoon characters like Pikachu. Now that the Pokémon franchise is roughly 20 years old, we find the average age of players are in their mid twenties to early thirties. These are the users who remember Pokémon from its early days when the first games were released for Nintendo’s Game Boy, and a card game and children’s show followed shortly after. We have an inherent desire to experience parts of our youth again, in just more relevant ways.

Of course there are younger and older people playing this game too, which takes us back to the massive impact this game has had on the user adoption process of gamification. If it was any other character-based game released (instead of using characters from a popular franchise), would the impact have been the same? Maybe. But, for now, only time will tell as the stage has been set for mass adoption of mobile AR gaming all in part to a little yellow-orangish creature.

But is the impact of Pokémon Go something that many are misinterpreting?

Some may give it a negative spin like it’s another distraction, but the core meaning of what this app has is truly something special. It’s creating an experience for people to go outside and play a truly social game, not social in the sense of over the internet (like Xbox Live and other services) or physically near each other. The placement of Pokémon in the real world has increased traffic to landmarks and cultural locations – resulting in positive and negative results.

The app tears AR away from its seemingly limited application to gaming and artificial intelligence, broadening it to entertainment, fitness, and possibly a lot more. Pokémon Go feels comparable to arcades of the past, only this time the arcade is everywhere. No doubt,  businesses will figure out how they can profit from leveraging in-game advertising and purchases to entice ‘trainers’ to their business.

While many naysayers are torn on the “why” people are out looking for Pokémon instead of, say, picking up litter, there’s something to be said about a game that unifies and bonds complete strangers across cultures and age brackets in public spaces. The Pokémon journey is a new frontier in convergence and is the start of bigger and better AR experiences to come.

Uncovering the Mystery of Blockchain in 2 Minutes

By: Trevor Brown, Senior Project Manager

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So Blockchain…what is it? Let’s start with what it isn’t. The term is tossed around quite a bit, as it relates to Bitcoin, on sites such as The Silk Road. Blockchain, at least in some circles, seems to be synonymous with nefarious activities and shady online personas,  but that shouldn’t be the case. Blockchain technology, in all of its forms, has many reasonable and perfectly legitimate business, government, academic, and social applications. So while Bitcoin certainly uses Blockchain technology, that particular cryptocurrency is a very small example of the overall power of Blockchain.  

Now, what IS Blockchain? Most of the time, people are talking about distributed ledgers, i.e. a list of transactions that is shared among a number of computers, rather than being stored on a central server. A decent working definition is “a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records hardened against tampering and revision,” according to The Economist.     

Confused yet? Yeah, the concept, and the underlying technology, can each be a bit obtuse. Let’s use an example to illustrate:

I think one of the best commercial applications would be an aggregated rewards program, maintained in a closed Blockchain system by a series of horizontal industries that do not compete in a direct manner, but rather share many clients across a spectrum. The rewards, we’ll call them “MagaPoints” for simplicity, would be used to buy services at all participants. Picture a car rental company, a national coffee chain, an airline, and a hotel chain.  

One customer will likely use this collection of services during a single trip, whether for business or leisure. So within the confines of the closed network, a client could use their rewards points from a coffee purchase to upgrade a flight or use the rewards points from a car rental to acquire a hotel room.   

The client has ease of transaction, without having to juggle multiple rewards programs, while having peace of mind, knowing that at no time was their personal information utilized. Therefore, saving them from exposure to identify theft or fraud. The entire transaction, and all of its parts, are stored in an open public forum, allowing for a seamless transaction that was 100% transparent.

The storage functionality of Blockchain is literally without limit. It could store your car title, the information on postal packages, or your bank records – just to mention a few uses. Because the technology is stored on a decentralized ledger that is accessible to nearly everyone, each of those would be nearly tamper-proof. This is because changes to the ledger are added instantly and are accessible by any user. So where does it go now? The technology has endless possibilities across data storage, monetary transfer, government transparency, and more. I say embrace it and enjoy the ride…

Beyond Graphic Design: Maga Design on The Tech Life Podcast

It’s better to show than to tell. Most people have had the experience of trying to explain something in words, but couldn’t. “It’s just easier if I show you.”

And that’s true. But how do you show someone something they can’t see? An idea, a vision of where you want to go, something you want to accomplish that has never been done. You’d need some sort of magic.

Listen to the following podcast with CEO and Founder of Maga, Scott Williams and Rachel Link, Director of Client Services, as they chat with Rich Conte of the Tech Life podcast about:

  • The meaning of “Maga” means magician
  • How we support organizations that are facing communication challenges
  • Why businesses today, more than ever, need to clearly communicate with engaging content to an ever-growing variety of people.

This isn’t an easy task. And effective solutions aren’t by accident, they’re by design.

Maga’s in-house team of designers, UX/UI experts, and strategists are a creative powerhouse of innovative solutions, applying the power of visualization to communication methods across the board– maps, point-of-sale kits, interactive displays, apps, whatever the situation calls for.

And people are taking notice, from the U.S Navy and multi-national tech companies to local start-ups and the Lowcountry Food Bank. Check out the conversation right here!

What is Skeuomorphism?

Skeuomorphism is a mouthful of a word, that’s for sure. If you’ve read any reviews for the newly redesigned iPhone interface in iOS 7, you’ve probably seen it pop up. Pronounced “skew-a-morph-ism”, it concept of design that makes an object imitate the look or feel of another. Continue reading What is Skeuomorphism?