Typography pairing: perhaps the single most frustrating and time-consuming task you’ll face as a designer when starting any new graphic design project.
For many reasons, it’s something that’s extremely hard to get right, and despite the fact that there are literally thousands of typefaces to choose from, it’ll probably always seem as though the typeface you actually want simply doesn’t exist.
Even if you do manage to pick a winning primary typeface for your design, you’ll then need to begin the painstaking process all over again in order to find yet another typeface to compliment your original choice (help!).
Despite the fact that so many people struggle with this, there isn’t much help out there. Sure, you can use a typographic cheat sheet (such as this one for Google Fonts), but that doesn’t always get the job done.
So, we thought we’d scour the web for some stupendously stunning combinations, with the aim of giving you some inspiration.
Update: See here for 15 new professional font combinations.
Usually, when combining typefaces, it pays to keep things simple and follow well-established rules (such as combining a sans serif typeface with a serif one), and this is exactly what this site has opted to do.
For the large type, Minion Pro has been used. Minion Pro is a beautiful serif typeface that has an air of luxury about it. For smaller type, you can see Super Grotesk, a sans-serif typeface that appears quite thin, light and extremely modern.
It’s a perfect match that creates a luxurious yet minimalistic brand.
Montserrat & Courier New
Claire Marion has opted for a very minimalistic look here by making use of Montserrat and Courier New.
Montserrat is a widely used typeface these days (you’ll see it all across the web) and the reason for that is simple: it’s an elegant, modern, sans-serif typeface that is perfect for a variety of uses.
Courier New on the other hand is used less on the web, and as you can see, the styling is somewhat reminiscent of the sort of type that a typewriter might produce.
Rockwell Standard & Lora
Politicians for Change has made use of two great fonts here that aren’t all too different in their appearance.
Rockwell Standard (which has been used for main headings) is classified as a slab-serif typeface, whereas Lora (which is used for subheadings) is classified as a serif typeface.
They’re by no means the same, but when using a slab-serif/serif combination, the similarities are more pronounced than say a serif/sans-serif combo.
Still, it’s a great combination.
Copernicus isn’t typically a typeface that you see too often, which is a shame, as it’s a stunningly well-crafted typeface that deserves more attention.
In this design, it has been used primarily for headings and titles, with Proxima Nova being featured alongside it as the main body font.
The two typefaces compliment each other wonderfully (it’s a classic serif + sans serif combination). Copernicus ensures that the titles are eye-catching, while Proxima Nova does a great job of displaying paragraph text in a readable manner, even at small font sizes.
Here, we have another great sans serif + serif typeface combination, but this time we’ve got Century Gothic and PT Serif.
Clearly, PT Serif is the serif typeface, and it has been used primarily for the paragraph text. It’s a stylish typeface that is elegantly crafted, making it perfect for this brand.
The same goes for Century Gothic; it has a certain style to it that, for whatever reason, just seems to compliment PT Serif perfectly. It’s not all that dissimilar from Source Sans or even Proxima Nova.
Kaufmann and NeutriDemi might not be a combination you’ve necessarily seen before, but as you can see from the example above, it’s a combination that works extremely well.
NeutraDemi is a perfect example of a modern sans-serif typeface that oozes style and elegance, while Kaufmann adds flair to the design with it’s handwritten nature.
You probably wouldn’t automatically think of putting these two together as they’re just so different, but for the right project, it’s the perfect combo.
Brandon Grotesque & Minion Pro
We’ve seen Minion Pro featured already in this post (the first example) alongside Super Grotesk. Here though, it features alongside Brandon Grotesque and plays a slightly different role.
Whereas in the first example, Minion Pro was used for the large headings, here it is used predominantly as a body typeface. The great thing about Minion Pro is that it’s a classic, highly readable serif typeface, making it the perfect choice for smaller text.
Brandon Grotesque us used for the headings; it’s thick, bold and grabs your attention.
It’s often difficult to find a typeface that offers elegance, class and style without being too overly flamboyant and unreadable. Luckily, Playfair Display matches that brief perfectly.
Playfair Display is a classic serif typeface, but as you can see from the image above, it’s much more than that. It has a sense of class and elegance (just look at the styling of the “&” above, for example), while still coming across as a relatively simple font that isn’t too “in-your-face”.
Museo Sans – a sans-serif typeface – is the perfect partner, as it’s simplicity helps to counteract some of Playfair Displays flair.
Raleway & Lusitana
If you’ve ever visited the website of any freelance SEO specialists before, you’ll no doubt have come across something poorly designed that holds very little regard for typographic beauty.
Obviously, this is a bit of a generalisation, and while it’s true for most of these kinds of sites, there are outliers, such as this site.
Mary has used Raleway (a free font from Google Fonts) and Lusiana to create a warm, welcoming and down-to-earth brand for herself. Again, it’s a serif + sans-serif combination that hasn’t been overthought.
Alternate Gothic & Georgia
Simplicity is the name of the game here, as you can tell from the minimalistic and relatively flat design of the site.
There’s a reason for this simplicity too: it keeps the product centre stage and makes sure not to detract your attention with unnecessarily flamboyant design elements.
The typography used throughout the site also adheres to this design philosophy. It’s yet another class sans-serif + serif combination making use of Georgia and Alternative Gothic.
Alternate Gothic is a simple sans-serif typeface, and Georgia is perhaps one of the most elegant, yet understated, serif typefaces out there. Perfect.
Helvetica & Garamond
Here’s another site that keeps things relatively simple, with the use of Helvetica and Garamond.
Helvetica is the primary typeface used throughout the site, which helps to keep things as simple as possible. It’s a portfolio site, so it’s important that nothing detracts from the content, which is what makes Helvetica the perfect choice.
Garamond is used sparingly and quite rightly so too, as in it’s italic form, it can become overbearing when used in large quantities.
Cubano and Nunito isn’t the most common typographic combination out there, and it’s not hard to see why: it combines to create quite a unique design that would only be appropriate for certain brands.
Despite this though, it’s still a stunning combination. It would work particularly well for a non-profit organisation, a charity, or perhaps a business with sustainability at its heart.
You’ll notice that both of these typefaces are sans serif; this can often cause a clash of styles due to typeface similarity, but in this instance, the two fonts are so different that there’s no fear of this.
Source Sans Pro & Times New Roman
Times New Roman is seldom used on the web these days, primarily because most designers opt for newer and seemingly more modern typefaces in their designs.
However, it’s important to remember that Times New Roman is a great typeface, especially if you’re looking for a highly readable serif typeface that will no doubt bring a sense of familiarity to your design.
Source Sans Pro is a slightly more common typography choice, which works beautifully alongside Times New Roman, especially if you’re looking to create a simple and elegant brand.
Proxima Nova and Georgia is becoming a classic typographic combination, especially on the web.
In fact, you’ve probably seen the combination across numerous websites, and there are a couple of perfectly valid reasons for this. Firstly, it’s a stunning combination and secondly, it’s perfectly suited to a variety of different brands and styles.
Unsurprisingly, it’s a sans serif + serif combination, with Georgia being used for smaller body text, and Proxima Nova being used for headings/subheadings.
Nimbus Sans Condensed & Athelas
If you want to create a brand that oozes elegance and luxuriousness, there aren’t many typographic combinations more suitable than Nimbus Sans Condensed and Athelas.
Athelas is a stunning serif typeface that isn’t all too dissimilar from Georgia, albeit with a little more class and personality to it. Nimbus Sans Condensed, on the other hand, is the complete opposite: a chunky, condensed sans-serif typeface.
As per usual in the world of typography, opposites attract, and that’s certainly the case here.
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Further Font / Typeface Resources
- 30 Fonts That All Designers Must Know & Should Own
- The Top 100 Best Fonts Of All Time
- 27 Classic & Elegant Fonts
- Illustrator & Type Tips Worth Knowing
- How to Use Custom Fonts with @font-face on WordPress
- Classic Fonts For Contemporary Design
- 20 Typefaces To Start A Designer’s Career
Google Font Combinations
Bio: Josh loves typography; he spends much of his spare time sifting through Google Fonts, searching for the perfect combo for his clients. He also loves working out, keeping fit, and cooking.