How to make the best with less!

In our Facebook group, "Font Fixation's Fabulous Friends", we have new stampers joining the Font Fixation family every day. One of the first questions they ask is, "What is the best starter set if I'm new stamping?" The answers to that question are best searched for in the group, and you'll see answers that range from Shadows Into Light, to S'mores, to Margarita... and we have a great blog post you can search up on this website using the term "starter set".

 

But what do you do when you HAVE a starter set and you want to know what to add to it to get the maximum bang for your buck? To be totally honest, you don't need to break the bank and have *every* font set to be a superb and successful stamper. Some of the best stampers I've ever seen have a go-to stamping arsenal of 4 or 5 key fonts they use, mix, and combine in various ways to get the best impact spending less dollars. 

 

Knowing how to SEE a font, and then how to CATEGORIZE that font, will help you determine a base set of stamps for your workshop, yes... but more importantly, as you grow as a stamper you will begin to read phrases and think of how these categories translate to which words you stamp in which fonts! The ultimate tool to learning how to MIX AND MATCH your fonts!! 

 

What should your stamping arsenal have? A great, well rounded stamping arsenal has at least one font in the following categories:

  1. Feminine
  2. Masculine
  3. Fun
  4. Simple/Neutral 

FEMININE:

Fonts that are considered "feminine" are fonts that are 

cursive, scripty, calligraphic, and swirly. Fonts that fall into this category:

  • S'mores - a simple cursive font that looks great with each letter attached OR unattached. This font looks best when tape is used to keep the line straight across, but tape is also not needed if you are more of a free spirit. This font is also great because it is a super narrow cursive - meaning you can fit more letters in a small space than you can with a calligraphy font.

  • Sweetheart Script - another cursive font that's wider than S'mores and takes up more space. The letters are little more rounded than S'mores, but it still looks elegant and formal. Also best used with tape.

  • Hide Away - a little wide but super thin lined, this font looks great when letters are attached or unattached. The thin lines in this font work magically in harder metals, giving you a maximum impression with minimal effort. Tape or no tape, this font usually looks best when doing a feminine font sentiment, or when used as those "in between" words. 

  • Sofia - this feminine font is bubbly, rounded, playful, and more casual than Sweetheart Script. Great for a casual chat with a girlfriend or sweet message that isn't as emotionally heavy as something requiring a more elegant/formal font. This font looks best with tape, also.

  • Allura - a SUPER formal, high rightward slant font that gorgeous and ready to make a powerful, emotional, and/or elegant statement. Also looks best with tape.

  • Among the Wildflowers - You are going to see this font come up on the list again a little later when we get to "fun" fonts. ATWF comes in a couple of different versions on our site, but when used as just the "standard uppercase/lowercase" you are looking at a lovely, flowy cursive set. Three sizes of this font means you have the best size for the intention you need: 6.5mm = large sentiments ; 4.5mm = more words in medium size spaces ; 2.5mm = lots of words or perfect for in between words like "the" or "but" when you need a tiny word in between larger font words. This font looks great with or without tape, and attached or unattached letters.

  • Peony Blooms - one of our more popular calligraphy sets and meant to pair with Margarita (so if you have or are considering Margarita, you already know that Peony Blooms is intended to be used as the feminine font with it! YAY! And EASY decision!). This thicker lined font has a ton of personality and can be used with the "flourishes" of Peony Blooms or Grateful cursive or ATWF to have a leading or ending swirly flair. Because this font is a little thicker lined, the larger sizes of it are not recommended for stainless steel unless you have an amazing stamping post, heavy mallet, and/or you are an experienced stainless steel stamper. That being said, in soft metals like aluminum and pewter, you are good to go. Attached or unattached, this font looks best when tape is NOT used. Free flowing and no rules!

  • Grateful Cursive - where the font before it is thicker lined and not recommended for hard metals unless you are mega-experienced --- Grateful Cursive is a SUPER thin lined calligraphy font and works like butter in hard metals (such as stainless steel). It is fun, spunky, feminine, flowing, and WIDE. The calligraphic nature makes this font take up a lot of space on a blank, so you'll need to practice and plan your spacing accordingly. The good news: no tape, and letters attached or unattached -- you have no rules with this font! The swirly set you can add on to this font is also amazing with Peony Blooms and ATWF. 

  • Limon - If ever a font was beloved in the group, it is Limon. A mix of all the best feminine attributes, Limon is a cursive but also a tad calligraphic... looks great with tape or not... attached or unattached.... fun or flirty, strong and sentimental, Limon hits the nail on the head almost every time. This font makes brand new stampers and seasoned stampers squeal with delight because it is SO easy to use in all metals (yes, including stainless steel!) and almost no skills are required. This font comes in several sizes and is on the wide side, so plan your font size accordingly to the size stuff you love to make.

  • Hello Sweetheart - If you like hearts and love, this is your font! I'll talk again about this font in the "fun" section, but it IS *VERY* feminine! Each uppercase letter has a single heart, and the lowercase letters are meant to also work with Hero and Hero Lite -- making the lowercase of this font SUPER versatile in your stamping arsenal! The serifs are cute and playful, the hearts are fun and flirty. With or without tape, this thin-lined font stamps like butter in all metals.

MASCULINE:

Masculine fonts and neutral fonts are kind of parallel ideas, but we like to consider SERIF fonts more masculine. 

You may see a couple of fonts on this list that also pop up on the neutral list, 

but that just means you have a font that works in two places! More for less, right? 

  • Canterbury - a serif font that looks amazing as all uppercase or all lowercase. That means you don't need to stress too much about which font case to get because both will look beautiful on anything you stamp. This font looks great with and without tape, and the thicker lines give it a ton of personality in soft metals. The largest size of this font is not recommended in hard metals like stainless steel because the thick lines make it difficult to fill in with color.

  • Salvador - this font is going to pop up again in the neutral font section. Like Canterbury, Salvador looks amazing in all caps or all lowers, and the narrow characters make it best to fit in small spaces. If you have a lot to say in a small space, Sal may be your best go-to for neutral/masculine fonts. This font looks cleanest and neatest when tape is used.

  • Bigelow Rules - popping up again on the fun/quirky list, Bigelow is a thicker lined serif with some quirky lowercase letters. This font looks great as a masculine font when all uppers are used -- and when you introduce the lowers to your stamped sentiments, you start to cross over to the fun side. This font looks best when tape is not used because the spunk and quirk is meant to be a little staggered with letter placement. Again, thicker lines make this a perfect font for softer metals, and only recommended for stainless steel with skilled stainless stampers. 

  • Detective - you'll see this font pop up again on the neutral list, but this serif typewriter font is the go to for anything. It is VERY wide and comes in several sizes so you can plan your work accordingly. This font is super thin lined and works perfectly in all metals. Many stampers use just the lowercase of this font because it works and assimilates so well in just about every stamped piece. This font looks best when tape is used to keep the line straight.

  • Penny Candy - another typewriter font, but this one is a little thicker lined and a little trickier to line up. I recommend Detective over PC, so I won't spend much time here. But know, it IS an option for a masculine font!

  • Hero Lite - another borderline neutral font, Hero Lite has serifs and pizzazz, and can be paired with Hello Sweetheart's *lowercase* font so that it has uppers and lowers that can be used together. 

Tender - a wide, thin-lined font that has a ton of personality for having such basic lettering. This font comes in a few different sizes, and personally, it is one of my go-to fonts in 2mm for the in between words I want to sneak into a sentiment that doesn't take up much vertical space. The lowercase letters feel smaller than they should, making them a good suggestion for people who do standard width rings. This font looks best with tape and a lot of space if you choose the larger font style. 

  • Foxtrot - quirky and masculine, Foxtrot has a few letters that are love-em or hate-em for some customers. The thin lines and wide lettering work well in all metals, and is a great go-to for fun words as well as masculine pieces. This font looks best when tape is used because the letter base is wide and lining it up is more visually appealing. Be sure to check out the font before purchasing to make sure the quirky letters won't be an issue. 

  • Devious - super masculine and versatile, Devious base has a standard serif look and is super narrow. This font stamps beautifully in all metals, and when paired with the Expansion set it takes on a whole new life. Tape looks best when using this font (and it's expansions), but when it comes to a font you can do a lot with in layers, considering the expansion sets for Devious is a good idea. It takes practice to master lining up the base set with the swirly set and nestling in the mini letters, but once you have it, you have it.

FUN:

Some sets you look at and think "WHEN would I use that?" and those are the fonts we like to call "fun". 

They have a TON of personality. 

They scream a visual message and look best when they are used as ONE or TWO emphasis words mixed in with other font(s) in a full, stamped sentiment. 

This list is going to be a long one because we have so much fun making fun fonts! I'm not going to go into a ton of detail on these fonts because they either appeal to you or not (and you know your stamped work and your plans better than I do), but I will briefly mention tape and metal recommendations. 

  • Merry Merry - all metals - tape or no tape. Only comes in uppercase, so it is an easy unicase to set to use.

  • Fiddlestix - all metals - tape or no tape. Both uppers/lowers look great together or on their own.

  • Hero - Just like Hello Sweetheart, but with a star instead of a heart. Perfect for all metals - tape or no tape. The stars are only on the uppercase set, and the lowercase set from Hello Sweetheart pairs with these uppers perfectly. 

  • Hello Sweetheart mentioned earlier in the feminine section because each uppercase letter has a single heart. All metals - tape or no tape. 

  • Y2K Pop Muzik all metals - no tape looks best. The "alternate" set as different letters to pop in the place of the uppercase letters to give words a different look and feel even when using the same letters. Take a look at the alternate "o"!

  • Rennie Mackintosh Glasgow - all metals due to super thin lines - tape or no tape. This font has huge uppers and smaller lowers and has a fantastic "Great Gatsby" feel to it.

  • CRM American Horror - Soft metals only due to super thick lines. Tape looks best with this font. It is trixy to think of this font as anything other than a horror font -- but even words like "stars" or "love" take on a whole, new feel in CRM American Horror. 

  • Among The Wildflowers Alternates - mentioned earlier in this list in the "feminine" section were the uppercase and lowercase sets. However, if you take a look at the two alternate sets, you'll see a completely different look when mixing and matching alt sets 1 and 2 together! Endless personality and flexibility with just these two, alternate font sets. Thin lines means perfect for all metals, and looks best with no tape. 

  • Margarita - thick lined and spunky, this unicase font doesn't have a set "uppercase" or "lowercase" set making it super versatile and an easy go-to for new and seasoned stampers. This font IS thick lined, so the larger font size is not recommended for stainless steel unless you have a stamping post or are a seasoned stainless stamper. Tape or no tape.

  • Gingerbread - all metals, with tape. Super thin lines and very narrow letters make this font great in small spaces.

  • Likely Not - holy spunk! All metals, no tape. Each letter is so uniquely different from the next letter, this font embodies "organized chaos". 

  • Pasketti Os - fun and flirty - all metals, no tape.

  • Ale and Wenches - more along the lines of Celtic than "fun", Ale still looks amazing for just about any use. Thicker lines, but still stamps well in stainless steel. Recommended with tape.  

  • Roseroot Cottage - unicase, so no "uppers" or "lowers" - all metals, tape or no tape. Pairs well with Limon, too! This font is very close to Margarita in style-terms because it was created by the same foundry. That means you know it will work with Margarita and Peony Blooms, too, but because Margarita and Roseroot are both considered "fun" fonts, you may only want to get ONE of the two and not both. 

  • Lonely Heart - with and without chevrons so you can use as a tattoo font or fun tribe-type font. All metals. With tape.

  • Grateful Handwritten - the same font maker as Grateful Cursive and meant to be paired with one another. These two together make super fun and flirty message. All metals, no tape.

NEUTRAL:

Fonts that fall in this category are fonts I like to call "every day" fonts, or "speech fonts". 

These are the fonts that you were read as the words in this paragraph: 

a standard message with no male/female intonation. 

A font that is perfect for everything and anything, every day.

  • Shadows Into Light - I recommend this font as a starter set font because it is SO easy to use and line up, looks crisp and clean, works for everything, doesn't have a male/female intonation, and is perfect for that every-day-speech-type font. Our very first font ever made, it is STILL my go-to with customers when they ask me to design something for them. This thin-lined font looks best with tape, but works well without it, and is like butter in all metals.  

  • Rockford - if you were to take Shadows Into Light and give it 25% more personality, you're looking at Rockford. Some of the letters are little oversized to the font, really changing the look and feel of the font and keeping it comfortably neutral. The lowercase of this font in 2.5mm looks amazing as those in between "fun" and "feminine" words on your stamped pieced. Thin lined means all metals. 

  • Rah Rah Rah - giving off a more casual vibe, Rah has a beachy-feel that works with any neutrally intended phrase or sentiment. Thin lines means all metals, tape or no tape, and a little wider than the Rockford and Shadows fonts.

  • Taffy - if the question came up to decide between Taffy and Tender, I would recommend Tender. That being said, Taffy is super neutral, little personality, and is great for casual pieces. The tiniest lowercase (1.5mm) works well on super thin rings, too! All metals, looks best when lined up with tape.

  • Tender - flipping the coin between Taffy and Tender, Tender has a tad bit more personality. The wide, rounded letters look best when lined up with tape, but it is not critical with this font. Deliberately staggered letters also work with Tender. All metals.

  • Detective - also mentioned in the masculine section, Detective is a typewriter font that has a wide base, fun serif, and thin lines that stamp like butter in all metals. I love this font in all lowercase letters on just about anything. One of the perfect every day speech fonts.

  • Salvador - also mentioned in the masculine section, Sal is narrow and looks great as that every day speech font where you need to fit a ton of words on a smaller piece. There is a slightly thicker line to this font that makes it not super recommended in stainless steel in the 5mm size for non-seasoned-stainless-steel-stampers, but it is doable. Looks best with tape, and for the most versatile size, I recommend the 2.5mm or 3.5mm size, either all uppercase or all lowercase.

  • Hero Lite (with Hello Sweetheart lowers) thin lined and serif style, this font is neutral, whereas its partner fonts (Hero and Hello Sweetheart Uppercase) have unique star or heart adornments. Hero Lite and Hello Sweetheart lowers work great as a more casual, almost child-like font. Rounded, upbeat, and positive looking when used in inspirational pieces. All metals, tape is recommended but not imperative.

  • Mocha Latte - fun and spunky, super narrow, you can fit a ton of words on a blank with mocha latte and hammer home a hilarious or snarky message. Something about this font screams sarcasm, so if you are the sarcastic type, this may be a must in your stamping arsenal. Thin lines mean all metals, and definitely no tape for this font. 

  • Farmhouse Lemonade - along the same lines as Mocha Latte, you're looking at a neutral font with personality. This font can be used in a fun and quirky sense, a funny anecdote, or sarcastically stamped sentiment. Thin lines means all metals, and no tape. 




Our font list is ever growing and this list won't be updated as frequently as I would like as we add new fonts to our website -- but I hope it gives you a starting off point for how to SEE a font, how to CATEGORIZE a font, and how to organize it in your stamping arsenal and workshop. 

 

Leveling up will be seeing phrases and thinking, "that word is a feminine word! I can use that as the emphasis word in this phrase..." or "look at the funny quote! It needs that one word to be 'fun' word -- I know the perfect font to emphasize that word!" That, my Fixationist friends, is when you'll realize you have leveled up as a stamper! 

 

Happy stamping, Fixationists! You've got this!