Tired of being played?
Here are 20 type combinations to try.
a self-sufficient neutral: Adobe Garamond Prostrategy: Rely on Family
Adobe Garamond Pro has three weights with corresponding italics, small caps, swash capitals, and ligatures. It is a traditional (relatively small), roman typeface family that is based on 16th-century metal type. A handful of other “Garamond” revivals bear resemblance to it. They, too, were inspired by the work of Robert Granjon and Claude Garamond (or Jean Jannon, whose punches were mistakenly attributed to Garamond). There are differences in angularity, x->height, and width among these renditions, so Adobe Garamond Pro should not be combined with other Garamond revivals.
the happy couple: Adobe Garamond Pro & Chaparral Prostrategy: Seek the Similar
Adobe Garamond Pro and Chaparral Pro constitute a masculine, trustworthy pair that honors, with a pinch of grit, the tradition of 16th-century letterforms. Their precision, double-story a’s and g’s, diagonal wedge serifs, and humanist axes recall the tactility of metal type. Chaparral may accompany Garamond inline or as a headline. Chaparral’s more lineal strokes and noticeable feet bring nuance and heft to the text.
the happy couple: Adobe Garamond Pro & Maplestrategy: Embrace the Other
Adobe Garamond Pro and Maple combine professionalism with good cheer. Garamond presents the facts, and quirky Maple bring warmth to the relationship. As a text face, Garamond is buttoned-up and reserved with its sharp wedge serifs, thin weight, and subtle lachrymal terminals. Garamond’s quietly neutral voice leaves room for a colleague with a strong personality. Enter Maple: eccentric, unpredictable, and entertaining.
the happy couple: Adobe Garamond Pro & Cronos Prostrategy: Explore the Past
Adobe Garamond Pro and Cronos Pro both reference Renaissance calligraphy and the broad nib pen. In metal and on screen, their modulated strokes flow like those of handwritten letterforms. The couple’s connection with the hand is seen especially in the humanist axis, true italic, and double-story a and g.
adobe garamond pro
a seasoned superfamily:
Rely on Family
ITC Century & ITC Century Handtooled
ITC Century (1975) was designed nearly a century after the original Century Roman (1896). Other iterations designed in the meantime include Century Broad-Face, Century Number 2, Century Expanded, Century Old Style, Century Catalog, Century Schoolbook, and Century Nova. Unlike its predecessors, ITC Century is an extensive superfamily of 16 styles that balances legibility and condensed proportions. ITC Century Handtooled is a stylish accompaniment that adds flavor atop ITC Century’s exact forms. Otherwise, use only one Century iteration at a time to ensure visual consistency.
the happy couple: ITC Century & ITC Franklin Gothicstrategy: Explore the Past
ITC Century and ITC Franklin Gothic are revivals that date back to American industry at the turn of the 20th century. Originally designed by Morris Fuller Benton or his father, Linn Boyd Benton, both exhibit the strength needed for typecasting machines. Tall x-heights and protruding ears—serif or not—represent the utilitarian voice of periodicals and magazines at that time.
the happy couple: ITC Century & Futurastrategy: Embrace the Other
In the battle of moderns, ITC Century and Futura juxtapose ornament and sleek lines. Century’s buoyant intricacies highlight Futura’s elemental purities, while Futura’s limitless ascenders emphasize Century’s predominant x-height. Their lowercase letters and uppercase G couldn’t be more different from each other, so their vertical axis and roundness introduce cohesion. With the right difference in scale, either face could steal the stage.
the happy couple: ITC Century & LinoLetterstrategy: Seek the Similar
As a pair, ITC Century and LinoLetter champion the identity of the serif, both bracketed and modeled. LinoLetter’s bookish quality lets Century’s details shine at bigger sizes. Their common slender forms, large counters, and high x-height are fit for extensive printing. Despite their different stroke and terminal styles, both typefaces claim legibility as their prime concern.
a homogeneous body: Universstrategy: Rely on Family
Univers is considered one of the first typographic “superfamilies.” Adrian Frutiger conceived a modular design that would include 21 unique variations to be interchanged freely in designs. The combinations of different weights and widths are identified by number pairs, where the first digit indicates the font’s weight (thin to extra black), and the second digit reflects the font’s width and slope (extended to ultra condensed, roman or oblique). This distinctly Swiss-style family quickly grew to 27 faces, and the latest iteration from 2010, Univers Next, boasts 63.
the happy couple: Univers & Glyphastrategy: Seek the Similar
Adrian Frutiger designed Glypha as a revised version of his earlier slab serif based on Univers. Glypha and Univers share ascender/descender heights, tall x-heights, open counters, closed apertures, and a slanted lowercase t. Glypha distinguishes itself with feminine spurs and angular feet, while Univers is unique for its compression capabilities. A powerful duo, this couple was meant to be.
the happy couple: Univers & Apollostrategy: Explore the Past
Designed within ten years of each other by the same Swiss designer, Univers and Apollo were both created to meet the demands of photosetting—a then-popular cold type printing method fit for Univers and Apollo’s unemotional, consistent weights. Apollo’s sharp terminals and open apertures contrast with Univers’ flat terminals and closed forms, but they share equivalent x-heights, minimal stroke modulation, and ease with longer texts.
the happy couple: Univers & Linotype Centennialstrategy: Embrace the Other
As a couple, Univers and Linotype Centennial balance discipline and refinement. Univers’ precise cuts lack the embellishment that Linotype Centennial’s terminals and tails provide; simple, monolinear strokes meet delicate thicks and thins. Even with contrasting forms, they share tall dimensions, oval counters, and closed apertures. In their inception, both typefaces were designed to contest the dominant faces of their respective eras.
a sprightly headliner: Archerstrategy: Rely on Family
Archer’s family introduces a consistent voice without being dull. Archer features eight weights ranging from hairline to bold in both roman and italic. Small caps and a variety of numerical figures (fractions, indices, tabular numbers) support its application to columns of heavy data. Archer is equipped to work elegantly at both small sizes and headlines. When on its own, restraint should be used to temper its sweetness.
the happy couple: Archer & Bryantstrategy: Explore the Past
Archer and Bryant, designed within a year of each other in the U.S., restore touches of American vernacular and honor the tools of lost typographic craft (typewriters, antique wood letters, drafting stencils). Even though Bryant is wider with soft strokes and rounded terminals, both celebrate clean geometry. They appear neat and tidy but not uptight, thanks to handcrafted features that express a whimsical sense of humor.
the happy couple: Archer & Avenirstrategy: Seek the Similar
Together, Archer and Avenir embody a love of geometry. They aim to please readers with open, nearly-circular counters, and a medium x-height. Flattened vertices and clean, consistent strokes keep the mood playful. Avenir’s heavier weights supplement Archer’s lightness, though both can comfortably occupy headlines. Rounded letters throughout deemphasize their dissimilar terminals.
the happy couple: Archer & Eurostilestrategy: Embrace the Other
Archer and Eurostile know their shapes. Archer is a slab that praises circles, while Eurostile is a sans that follows widened squares. Archer’s lighter weights, open forms, and tall ascenders find company in Eurostile’s thick monolinearity and compact letters. Intentional curves, a double-story a, and a single-story g define both, as does their perceived overuse.
a tight-knit group:
Rely on Family
ITC Stone Sans, ITC Stone Serif & ITC Stone Informal
Sumner Stone set out to create a group of typefaces that would work together effortlessly. His solution, the superfamily of ITC Stone Sans, ITC Stone Serif, and ITC Stone Informal, is a digital printing trifecta. The typefaces share similar heights, weights, and proportions. Each comes in three weights (medium, semibold, bold) with accompanying italics. A 2010 reworked version of ITC Stone Sans includes a condensed width and spans from light to extra bold. Outside the immediate family, ITC Stone Humanist, designed in 2005, brings out handwritten influences with its tapered terminals and double-story lowercase. It is uncannily similar to ITC Stone Sans, so only use it as an alternative.
the happy couple: ITC Stone Sans & Utopiastrategy: Explore the Past
ITC Stone Sans and Utopia epitomize type design in the onset of desktop publishing. As American designs from the late ’80s/early ’90s, the typefaces aim for a friendly, businesslike functionality, while maintaining clarity despite the poor resolution of the existing output devices. Neither imitates a specific typographic forebear; instead, the pair uses smooth curves and space-saving widths as the result of the new ways designers were creating and using digital type.
the happy couple: ITC Stone Sans & PMN Caeciliastrategy: Seek the Similar
ITC Stone Sans and PMN Caecilia make a cordial couple, sincere and easy to read. The two typefaces find harmony in their shared humanistic undertones, subtle shifts in line thickness, and strength at low resolutions. Caecilia presents wider forms, but its serifs give the illusion of a contained letter. Large counters and high x-heights soften the differences between alphabets.
the happy couple: ITC Stone Sans & ITC Cerigostrategy: Embrace the Other
ITC Stone Sans and ITC Cerigo come from different worlds. Stone Sans resides in corporate identities and laser printers, while Cerigo hails from scripts and independent italics. Cerigo’s pointed crossbars and modulated stroke widths add sophistication to Stone Sans’ everyday letters. Hints of handwriting, condensed proportions, and short ascenders/descenders allow the two types to inhabit the same world.