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Display typefaces usually have some very specific stylings that convey a particular mood or tone. They may recall some period design attributes, or some special cultural aspects of a time or place.

Because such stylings may require the typeface design to move away from the standards that readers expect for lengthy texts, display faces are best used in short texts such as headlines and decks, or on labels and logos.

When using display faces, it's important to select a text typeface that works well with the display face. Some guidelines include:

  • Using strongly-contrasting structures, such as Finerliner with Really;
  • Using matching structures, such as Munchies with ITC Avant Garde;
  • Using matching detail but contrasting structures, such as PepRally with Ergo;
  • Using contrasting detail but similar structures, such as Meter with Times Roman;
  • Using serif display with sans serif text, such as UrbanScrawl with Clavier;
  • Using sans serif display with serif text, such as Meter with Globe text

It's also important to avoid using display typefaces together (in display lines and with short texts) that have insufficient contrast, or are very different expressions of similar techniques. This is especially important when using handwriting-based type; neither Finerliner nor Nanogram would be a good match to each other, or to a text face such as Calligraphic. Better matches would have less of the hand motion evident in the letterforms, and would be constructivist like Meter or Munchies.