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I'm in the process of an identity design for an online magazine and I've come up with what I feel is appropriate logotype, and a heading/body copy pair that I also think work well. But when treating the logo as the top-level heading and looking at the overall hierarchy of the page, the logotype and headings don't pair too well. It isn't "ugly" by any means; they just don't compliment each other.

Does this matter? I know the simple solution would be to change one font to match the other, but if I make the headings the same font as the logo, doesn't this make the logo less distinctive? They also don't quite fit in each other's shoes, as they both have different functions: the logo is meant to be simple and versatile, while the headings bold and singular in focus.

So, in short: A.) Should I attempt to reconcile this? B.) If so, how?

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2 Answers

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If the logo and the heading/body pair are just close enough to cause friction without actually matching, then go the other direction. If both are serif, make the headline/body pair a complementary sans serif, or vice-versa. If both are heavy, make one light. Et cetera.

That should address both problems: your logotype stays distinctive, and your content copy is both readable and lower-key than your logotype.

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In this case, they were both heavy, sans-serif. I made the headings lighter and that seemed to do the trick! I also found that if I just set the logo on a dark background and left the headings as-is, that worked too. Thanks! –  Hugh Guiney Nov 5 '11 at 17:52
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For starters, a periodical's logo is traditionally called the masthead. You typically want it to stand apart from, yet compliment the other branding elements being used (just as with any product logo).

So, yes, you should fix it. How? Well, there's no specific answer to that. It's a design problem now. Perhaps it's an issue of the masthead's design. Perhaps the design of the typeface. Or perhaps it's an issue of color, or layout, or scale, or flow, or hierarchy, etc. It can be a number of things. As such, the solution is to just keep at it. Keep working on variations until you get it working.

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Accepted the other answer because it was a bit more specific, but I still found this useful (and marked it as such), particularly about the term "masthead", which I didn't know. I'm still in the early stages of the design and was looking for a purely typographic solution but in reality yes, there are many factors to consider. –  Hugh Guiney Nov 5 '11 at 18:01
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