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The Preposterously Huge Book of Google Font Combinations

You now have in your possession the single largest collection of Google font combinations yet produced anywhere in the world! It’s so huge, it’s preposterous, which is why it’s aptly named “The Preposterously Huge Book of Google Font Combinations” at nearly 8000 pages!

Why is there a need for a such preposterously huge book of Google font combinations like The Preposterously Huge Book of Font Combinations? Why not just rely on the Google Fonts search and preview tool, as well as Google and other search engines to find inspiring font pairing ideas? Here are some great reasons for the PHBOGFC to exist and why you should consider using it, namely:

  • You don’t want to spend time searching through hundreds dud Google fonts
  • You don’t want to download dozens and dozens of fonts
  • You don’t want to install dozens and dozens of fonts
  • You don’t want to activate dozens and dozens of fonts
  • You don’t want to apply dozens and dozens of fonts to appropriately complete text samples
  • You don’t want to lose time playing with dozens and dozens of fonts
  • You don’t want to lose creative energy wandering through dozens and dozens of fonts

If any of these pain points speak to you, then you're in good hands with the PHBOGFCs!


Inside page samples:


Font Index


Ubuntu / PT Serif


Let’s jump right into Frequently Asked Questions and see what the PHBOGFC is all about.


WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR?

It is for professional designers, students, and hobbyists alike. Students will learn the names and visual characteristics of some of the most popular Google typefaces in use right now. Professionals will find inspiration and save valuable time in the process. In most cases, a designer has to sort through a typeface collection using a type manager application (like Suitcase Fusion), turning individual fonts on and off for use in their design program. After locating and activating a font in the type manager, they then have to flip back to their design application, or create a CSS rule in their web app, and apply the font to a selection of text. There might be something therapeutic in this slow process for some people, but it does take a lot of time. The PHBOGFC is a little aid to speed that process up.


IS THIS MEANT TO BE A VISUAL GUIDE OR SET OF RULES?

The PHBOGFC is not meant to provide a formulaic set of type ideas. It is primarily meant to be a learning tool and a time-saving and inspirational resource for designers. While many combos may work right out of this book, many others serve as examples of contrast. Some examples have more harmony than others, and some have more discord than others, as presented.

It is important to note that no attempt was made to fine-tune each type sample to best match another type sample. This was done so that all the type samples would remain consistent from page to page to help the designer become familiar with the same text, font size, and relative leading and kerning, etc. from page to page. This consistency helps form a mental picture of not only the samples in the book and how they relate, but perhaps how another font on their computer might work with an example they are familiar with.

Again, while some combinations of fonts with their respective tracking and leading as shown in each sample might work as-is, they may also be greatly improved by carefully optimizing their individual attributes for even better results. We leave the fine-tuning of those attributes up to you!


WHAT THIS BOOK IS NOT

It is not intended as a showcase of typography. It is a tool. A workbook. A sketchpad. Your favorite layout application document captured 7900+ times in the process of trying different typefaces on for size. It is a whiteboard, chalkboard, napkin, conversation, a walk in the wild Typographic Forest. It is like a color chip ink sample book for selected classic typefaces.

It is not a manifesto of formulaic results. It is conversation amongst free, available typefaces from Google. You will find some great ideas right off, and come across other ideas not so useful at the moment, and you will come up with your own great ideas. If this conversation sounds interesting to you, this is a resource you’ll enjoy.


SHOULD DESIGNERS BUY NEW TYPEFACES INSTEAD OF JUST USING FREE GOOGLE FONTS?

Yes. The typefaces included in this book are very popular for a reason: they meet client or personal requirements at no cost. But designers must expand into current type design vocabulary in order to be the best designer possible. Please support the work of living typographers. Do yourself and them a favor and purchase new, relevant work. Expand your typographic repertoire and make pairs out of old and new typefaces when licensing and budget concerns allow for it!


WHY NOT JUST DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL THE FONTS TO SEE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE?

Does your example text have examples of regular, bold, italic, bold italic, numbers, all caps, small caps, special characters, reverse fonts, different sizes. If it does, that’s great! But now after installing your font of choice you may also have to now select all those various texts and apply the right font, like bold, italic, and bold italic. By the time you did that, you could have glanced through and studied several dozen options closely.


HOW DO I USE THIS ENORMOUS BOOK?

It's so easy! Just go to the index and click on the font you are interested in. From there you can scroll around forwards and back. And if you want to choose another typeface, just go back to the index and click again. This is so much easier and more fulfilling (because the examples are so big) than trying to select and change fonts from a dropdown menu only to see lackluster results.


WHY NOT JUST GOOGLE FOR FONT COMBINATIONS?

You’ve likely tried that, but are now thinking about buying this book as a result. If you haven’t tried it, you’ll notice that many articles are more or less “click bait”, filled with examples of combinations that are too small to really see what is going on, and don’t have enough text for you to make a decision. You might see something interesting, and then realize you have to go somewhere else to try the combination, or just go ahead and download the fonts, install them, open your app, set your text with the two new fonts…you get the picture.


WHY IS SUCH A HUGE BOOK FOCUSED ON JUST GOOGLE FONTS?

Google fonts have become wildly popular, and googling for combinations reveals a lot of articles and tools where some people in good faith are trying to help, but some are not. So much information is lacking in the examples, that it tends to leave you no better off than just taking arbitrary guesses at pairing them yourself. We take all the guesswork out and have focused on a subset of the most useful and broadly popular Google fonts, combined them with each other, made it all super-easy to navigate, and it did it in one totally humongous PDF. You can’t get a better set of font examples so quickly any other way.


WHAT GOOGLE FONTS ARE INCLUDED, AND WHY?

We included a very specific subset of fonts, because not all fonts are created equal. All the typefaces had to have at least four fonts: regular, bold, italic, and bold italic. With about 1000 typefaces to choose from, this narrows the range down considerably. Then, the font must include all the normal expected special characters and they have to be usable. Some fonts have special characters that look like they were borrowed from the left-over parts bin and don’t work well at all.

Nothing is more frustrating for a designer who is setting type to have chosen a typeface, found a good typeface to pair with it after some time and effort only to be halfway through some project and realize there's no em-dash, or to see an ampersand borrowed from some other font like Times or Arial, or not have a proper bullet or caret. We've made sure all the typefaces have those characters so you’ll never be left wondering!


SOME OF THE FONT COMBINATIONS ARE UGLY. WHY ARE THEY INCLUDED?

We purposely took all of the typefaces that we decided to work with and combined them among themselves, and didn’t edit out the combinations that don’t work. For instance, if you combine two very similar style sans serif fonts with each other, the result is going to be unusable in a design. At first glance, the combination will just look off until you realize why. But now you have a learning moment! Now that you see these two faces together, you might notice how different, for instance, the lowercase “a” is between the two. And then there are obvious bad choices due to the disparity between faces. You might take a look at a serif font with a very low x-height, in combination with a sans serif font with a very high x-height, and be shocked by how bad it looks. But had you noticed how low the serif x-height was before? And did you not only realize how tall the x-height on the sans serif is, but also how wide? 


WHY ARE THERE NO DEDICATED DISPLAY FONTS, LIKE OSWALD, OR IMPACT OR [INSERT YOUR FAVORITE DISPLAY FONT HERE]?

The size of The Preposterously Huge Book of Google Font Combinations would have been astoundingly preposterous if we had included display fonts. Many display typefaces, however, don’t have the requisite fonts that were our main criteria for filtering: normal, bold, italic, bold italic. That said, there are some fantastic font combinations you can make with dedicated display fonts, but we didn’t want to include those in this book, or it would be easily over 10,000 pages. At more than 7500 pages, we think the size is preposterous enough.


WILL THERE BE A PRINT VERSION?

The Preposterously Huge Book of Google Font Combinations will never, ever be printed! Many other editions of our typography books will continue to be available at all major book sellers, just not this one!


HOW WILL THE BOOK SAVE ME TIME?

Think of how long it takes to select a typeface after playing with the Google Fonts filter settings, then download, unzip, install, and activate that font. Then think how long it takes to go back to your application or webpage and apply or install the font to the selected text or CSS rule, make sure it’s updated in all the right places, visually speaking. Now imagine repeating that process for the second font you’ve chosen. And even further, imagine not liking one of the fonts you’ve chosen. Now repeat that search process all over again and guess at what might look good. Install, apply, reevaluate. Oh, did the font you just picked have all its special characters? Does it have a bold italic? Did you forget to check?

Or just find the font you like in the PHBOGFC, and scroll through pages. You can evaluate 50 font combinations while quickly scrolling, noting what you like as you go. You can cycle through 50 options in 5 minutes.

This is how the PHBOGFC will not only save you a lot of time, but will inspire and give you energy, rather than being a laborious chore that drains you.


HOW WILL THIS BOOK INSPIRE ME?

The PHBOGFC will inspire you by giving you context with font combinations you otherwise would never have the time to create yourself. The context is already created, over 7500 pages worth. All you have to do is browse by scrolling or hitting the next arrow, and feast on the eye candy until you see what inspires you. There is no curiosity tax with the PHBOGFC.


CAN'T I JUST PLAY WITH SAMPLES IN MY FAVORITE FONT MANAGER?

You most certainly can. But when you do that, you only get to see the one font sample you are looking at. How do you see that font in context with another one to evaluate what looks good? And if you took the time to download, install, activate, and then set the right text with the right formatting, and don’t like it, you have to go back to Google Fonts, apply a similar set of filters, repeat the process of wandering through the results until you find something you like. Then you have to download that typeface and repeat the usual steps…just to see if you like it!

So, yes: you can play with samples in your font manager, if that’s what you really want to do with your time! But there is a better way, as you no doubt have discovered by now!


ISN'T THIS BOOK TOO LARGE TO USE?

The magically-hyperlinked index is your best friend. All you need to do is have a main typeface in mind either from experience, recent browsing on Google Fonts, or some font combination article you just read. Take that knowledge of your main typeface and find the page where that typeface starts in the index and click on it. That takes you directly to that page in the PDF instantly. Or, from the index you can read down through the list of pairs based on that typeface and find the exact pairing you are looking for. Very easy, very fast, no fonts to install, no buttons to click.


HOW DID THIS BOOK GET SO HUGE?

We’ve carefully chosen over 80 typefaces for reasons you can read above. And then we took those 80+ typefaces and combined them each with every other typeface in our curated list. This yields almost 8000 pages. But, the list is so comprehensive and all the typefaces so eminently useful in terms of design or just learning what goes and doesn’t go, you’ll agree that at nearly 8000 pages, the PHBOGFC is just about the right size.

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