What I Learned When Creating Font Pair
How it was made and what I learned along the way
It was December 31st, 2015 when I was off school for winter break when I decided to create Font Pair. The idea arose out of a personal need. I was having trouble finding free web fonts that paired well together. I searched a couple of hours on Google only to find a few font pairings that seemed to fit my need for the project I was working on.
Then it occurred to me that I could create an easier solution by simply aggregating a list of popular font pairs together on one website. There were others who had made similar lists but I knew I could make it even easier. I would make the content on the page editable and each font would be able to be downloaded from the same page.
I wrote down a few ideas of what I envisioned it working like and then I started aggregating font pairs from everywhere and anywhere I could find. Early on in this process I decided to only focus on Google Fonts because they had plenty to choose from and most importantly they were all free to use! I opened a Google Doc and started writing down all the pairs that I could find.
Once I had the pairs I began the tedious process of finding their links and putting them into a simple HTML file. After I had the links I decided it would make it even easier if the user didn’t have to go to Google Fonts to download the pairs but could do it straight from my site. After another tedious process of downloading fonts and organizing them into folders with their pairs I had a decent working prototype.
All in all, I was able to whip up the first version of Font Pair in a couple of hours. It only had a few font pairs but I didn’t care. I knew if I made more it would solve my font pairing problems.
I decided that it would be even easier for me to access if I bought a cheap domain with a memorable name and made a website out of it so I did. Fontpair.co was born. Over the next few weeks I would continue to add more font pairs to it but other than that I never touched the code base again.
Over three years later and 900,000 visitors Font Pair is helping others pair Google Fonts together. The number of visitors to the site and its index on Google searches has made me realize that I need to take better care of the site. I need to update it and make Font Pair into something even better. Over the next year you will see massive changes coming to the site! Get pumped typography lovers 🎉
In the meantime, here are a few of the things I learned while creating Font Pair…
Improvements Can Always Be Made
Google Fonts has a feature that allow users to input their own text. They also have a pairing feature for each font. However, they don’t allow users an easy way to test input text for each pair and see what they look like together. I simply improved upon these areas with Font Pair by aggregating a list of popular Google Font pairs and allowing them to be editable and easily downloadable.
Solve Your Own Problems
Font Pair came out of a personal need. A need for font pairing ideas. I needed this and it turns out others did too. By providing this solution it solved my problem and others like me who needed inspiration and examples of Google Font pairs that worked well together.
Focus on Your Main Frustration Points
I left a lot of features out of Font Pair with the first launch mainly because I wanted to launch a minimal solution that solved the main problems I was having with finding font pairs. The biggest problems I was encountering was the time it took to find good looking font pairs and the amount of clicks it took to download the fonts and test them out. The first version of Font Pair solved those problems. Nothing more and nothing less.
Share Your Solution to that Problem
Before I created Font Pair I was using a Google Doc with many different pairings that I liked organized by typeface category. This was the first iteration of Font Pair. It was helpful to me but I knew I could make something better. I could have easily made it and only used it for myself but I realized this could help other designers as well so I bought a domain and shared it with my friends online.
People Get Excited
People get excited when you make something useful that provides value to their lives. They tend to share that excitement with friends via social media. It’s a great feeling!
In summary, I learned so much by creating Font Pair and I would challenge anyone reading this to go out and make something! Share it with the Internet and you never know what could happen.