Learn Type Connection’s methods for finding the right typeface pairing.
rely on family
You can utilize various weights from a single type family, extended family, or superfamily, because families were designed—many times by the same designer—to share a set of consistent traits. Bold, italic, extended, and condensed fonts introduce typographic color, while character alternates and ligatures can make familiar relationships seem novel.
seek the similar
Pairing typefaces that look alike can create visual consistency that will not distract readers from the writing itself. Use one face’s features as a match-making guide, and look for similar x-heights, cap heights, and ascenders/descenders, as well as correlating aperture size, axis tilt, terminal shape, and stroke consistency/geometry. Comparable lowercase a, g, e (and sometimes t, f, q) can also suggest a solid pair.
embrace the other
Pairing typefaces that contrast in weight, scale, width, and/or spacing can eliminate monotony and visually divide the text—making it easier for readers to understand hierarchy. Too much contrast can cause friction, so opt for just a few points of difference. Many successful pairs feature a serif typeface with a sans serif typeface. Assign distinct roles—headline, body copy, caption—to each to help readers deduce order of importance.
explore the past
Focusing on the context of a typeface’s creation can provide a better understanding of its nuances. You can create compatible matches by choosing typefaces designed for the same tool (pen, brush), output medium (metal, wood, screen), historic era, or concept. Old style serif typefaces go well with humanist sans despite being years apart, because both were inspired by the broad nib pen.