To be more specific, is it acceptable to have two different typefaces used for headers?

One will be used for web content and the other for print or more static content where the type won't be at the mercy of someone else's font collection.

And along these lines, is it acceptable to use two very similar typefaces for these two cases or would it be a dilution of brand identity?

3 Answers 3


There is a better way

The old approach to branded web type:

A. Render type in images to avoid font availability issues.
B. Use a system font that's close but waaaay more clunky.

Don't do that. Use web fonts. There are plenty of quality sources.

On a budget but still need high quality?
Go to Google Fonts. You can even download them for print. Font Squirrel has more but quality is variable.

Have a font for the brand already but now you need a web license?
It's probably on either MyFonts or Typekit.

  • Web fonts are a great idea but I personally don't like how they render. Sometimes the rendering is so different that you can hardly tell it's the same font. I think Cufon is the only solution that renders fonts the way a designer would like them to render. Cufon: cufon.shoqolate.com/generate
    – Komental
    Apr 29, 2014 at 21:03
  • 1
    Cufon is dead. Use well-designed web fonts and you'll be surprised at the level of consistency. Try a good commercial outfit like Typekit if you're nervous. Apr 29, 2014 at 21:05
  • I wouldn't call it dead. Cufon always renders perfectly which is not the case for many web fonts. Cufon is free. Cufon is reliable. When you go to Typekit site, you can see some fonts that are not anti-aliased at all. I don't understand what they charge for?! Any web font generator can achieve the same results.
    – Komental
    Apr 29, 2014 at 21:34

I think it's less of a question of if it's ok, and more of a question of do you have any other options?

Often when working on a project that spans the realms of both web and print, compromises and/or sacrifices are hard to avoid.


I'm working on marketing materials for a company that was founded long before the internet was a tool for businesses. They use a pretty old typeface in the logo and printed materials that is too distinctive to be replaced by any other system fonts.

Therefore, to achieve partial consistency on website headings, I found the absolute closest one I could on Google Fonts. My other option was to use Typekit and the exact font I wanted, but for various reasons that was not viable.

I won't use any more fonts; this is my absolute furthest compromise.

You shouldn't need more than two fonts for one branding element, as the second webfont should only be a compromise for the first print font.

Do not choose a different style of typeface just because you can't use the exact same one, use the closest fallback that you can find.

Now, if you have chosen two distinctive font styles, one for headings (serif) and another for body text (sans-serif) you might then need four in total; two primary print fonts and two almost identical fallback webfonts.

In most cases, two different fonts on one design is the most you should use.

Whether they know why or not, I assume the general public are subconsciously aware and have accepted that websites do not have as much of a diverse range of typefaces as print mediums.

My advice, evaluate all your options and then make a decision. Look at Typekit and see if their model is suitable for your project; if you feel it is, you should still look at Google Fonts just in case they have the same font for free.

To conclude, Yes it is acceptable to use two different - but as similar as possible - fonts for web and print, as long as you have truly evaluated all of your options against your project constraints.

If, after exploring your options you find that you can viably use the exact same font, it is your duty as a designer to achieve the greatest consistency that you're able to.


its perfectly ok

under popular conventions, you should already be doing this with a print style sheet, which for most people essentially turns images off, and swaps your web sans-serif font, for a print serif font, as generally it has been accepted that sans-serif are better for readability on web, whereas serif are actually better for print.
i don't subscribe to that, but that's the "general idea"....

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