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!

Why Learning Centric Instruction is the Future of Training

By: Jordan Orzolek

Very few announcements induce a sense of irritation in employees more than that of mandatory training. Who can blame them? This means that they will soon be subjected to hours of lecturing by a speaker who repeats things already known, ventures into irrelevant topics, or drones on while the learners are watching the clock, eager to leave. This seems inevitable but truthfully, it isn’t. Through a system I refer to as Learner Centric Instruction (LCI), I believe that this common behavior can be averted and replaced with a more palatable experience.

In this system, e-learning (computer-based instruction) takes precedence over traditional instructor-led learning experiences. The focus on e-learning allows for the learning experience to be controlled and delivered uniformly, thus eliminating the variance that instructor-led training is often subject to (though it is not to say that instructor led training would be eliminated entirely – it simply would be used for circumstances that specifically require it). In LCI, the learning is broken up into convenient micro-modules that cover specific content, and is paced appropriately for the target audience. These micro-modules would be short (5-10 minutes) with more complex subjects broken up into multiple modules. This may seem like too little time for a topic to be appropriately covered, but it is necessary given that the average human attention span is a mere 8 seconds. The allotted time for the micro-modules allows them to be taken at the learner’s convenience.

How does LCI become a fun experience? It comes down to the way in which the content is presented. Humans have a natural affinity for stories (especially well-written ones). Through engaging stories and scenarios, the learner can envision the content in context. The media of LCI is fast-paced and engaging, with content presented in a manner that allows the learner to have a multi-sensory experience. The screen is not over crowded with massive blocks of text; instead, voiceovers narrate the content in a casual, engaging manner. In compliance with 508 requirements, a complete transcript of the narration is also available to the learners.

What about the experience surrounding LCI? In order for LCI to be effective, it must be easily accessible. If the learning experiences are not easily accessible, the learner’s interest will be lost before they even reach the content. This requires the use of a quality Learning Management System (LMS) as a convenient portal for learners to access the content in a single location. The completion of a micro-module would be automatically logged into the LMS and viewable to administrators.

LCI presents a “win-win” situation: employers can train their employees in an effective manner and reach company goals, and employees can receive training in subjects areas of interest to them and find it exciting and engaging in the process.

Then again, some scientists are highly visual communicators

Contrary to our blog last week, where we highlighted another post by an engineer discussing  his profession’s woeful lack of communications skills, this week we discover that some scientists are actually highly skilled visual communicators. Continue reading Then again, some scientists are highly visual communicators

Visualizing a Year’s Worth of Food

Our Visualization of the Week comes from GOOD magazine, profiling New York City-based designer Lauren Manning‘s data visualization.  She kept track of all the food she consumed for a year, and then used 40 graphs and charts to visualize the data she collected as part of her thesis. Continue reading Visualizing a Year’s Worth of Food