A quick tip regarding font weights in body text. To achieve a pleasant experience for your readers, your goal is to haven an even typographic color, right? And by color, I mean you should aim for sufficient contrast between text and background. The body text will set the expectations for that, so if you combine anything with it in a similar role, make it as similar as possible.
Let’s see an example here. I checked the typography for the eBook Losing my Religions by Matt Ball. His font choice is Lora for the body text and Raleway for pull quotes, captions, and page numbers. A decent font choice, but I see a little problem with the different weights.
Avoid light weights for small, longer text
Before, Matt used Raleway Regular for the quote. Compared to Lora Regular for the body text above it, it seems too delicate, having too little contrast to the background. This makes it harder to read. So I changed it to Raleway Medium. The same goes for the page number in the footer, which was Raleway Extra Light before.
I think the intention behind the light weight was to set it a bit more apart from the body text. But since Raleway is used for a different kind of text, which is also set differently, and over all a different typeface, it’s not necessary. I recommend achieving this by making it similar to the rest of the body text, regarding the contrast, even if that means setting it in Medium.
Both typefaces were Regular weights, why do they look different?
Across different typefaces, even if weights have the same weight, they do not look the same. There is no standard for font weights. And the font size will also play a role in that. So if you set something a bit smaller, you might have to increase the weight to make it a bit sturdier.
What do you think of my suggestions? Tell me in the comments below!