20. Gilroy and Jura
This pair of sans serifs pair nicely to create a trendy, industrial look. Gilroy's geometric style in ExtraBold weight is ideal for headers, while Jura Light has a wiry, structured shape that offsets it nicely. The combination is ideal for adding a strong, technical feel to your creative projects.
21. Playfair Display and Source Sans Pro
Dedicated display typeface Playfair Display sports high-contrast that exude old-fashioned charm. Source Sans Pro is a modern sans-serif designed specifically for use in user interfaces. Together, they make a perfect pairing of old and new, with the understated Source Sans Pro letting Playfair Display really shine.
22. Scala and Scala Sans
FontFont's superfamily Scala started with a serif version in 1990, followed in 92 by its sans serif companion. With small caps, various ligatures and old-style figures, this family is hugely versatile and widely used in publishing.
23. Bebas Neue and Montserrat Light
Its clean, condensed letterforms make Bebas Neue an excellent choice for headlines. It's free to download and open source – so you can edit it to your own particular needs through the GitHub repo, if you have the desire and skills to do so. Montserrat offers a nice contrast; especially the Light version.
24. Rockwell Bold and Bembo
One of the classic slab serifs, Rockwell was designed in the 1930s and has a huge amount of personality and attention-grabbing potential when used bold. The much more conservative serif Bembo is neutral but versatile, making for a perfectly contrasting font pairing.
25. Myriad Black and Minion
Myriad and Minion have already cropped up in different font pairings elsewhere in this list, but this combination is definitely worth a look. The shouty, ultra-bold Black version of the former and the text weight of the latter can help you create a clear hierarchy in your designs.
26. Souvenir and Futura Bold
Mixing two strong typographic personalities rarely works, as they end up fighting. However, this is an exception. Souvenir is softer and more playful than many of its Old Style serif counterparts, while Futura Bold is quirky without being too dominant.
27. Dax Bold and Caslon
One of the most versatile Old Style serifs, Caslon has also appeared elsewhere on this list. Its neutrality plays off against the informal, modern Dax Bold, enabling the latter to deliver its strong personality. Dax Bold is a great choice for a headline, and the understated Caslon won't compete for attention.
28. Roboto and Montserrat
These two simple sans-serif typefaces make for a clean and modern font pairing. Roboto combines geometric forms with friendly, open curves, and has been designed to offer a natural reading rhythm. Montserrat – named after designer Julieta Ulanovsky's neighbourhood in Buenos Aires – is currently being developed into an extended family, which will give you more type pairing options to play around with.
29. Antique Olive Bold and Chaparral
Initially designed as an alternative to Helvetica and Univers, Antique Olive has a very tall x-height with short ascenders and descenders, which make it highly distinctive in display form. Chaparral has a modern feeling but is a much more neutral slab serif. The two together work in perfect harmony.
30. Aviano and Aviano Sans
Only available in all-caps varieties, Aviano has sharp, edgy serifs that give it a distinctive personality. Its sans-serif variant is smoother. Combine these two tilting typefaces together to create create hierarchy in your designs.
31. TheSerif and TheSans
The rather straightforward naming strategy within LucasFonts’ Thesis typeface superfamily makes the foundry's intentions pretty clear. These two variants are totally complementary, and each comes with its own sub-varieties.
32. Renault Light and Apex-New
An ideal font pairing for formal or corporate use. Both Renault and Apex-New have a very similar ratio of x-height to body height for an effortless partnership between contemporary sans serif and authoritative serif.
33. Calluna and Calluna Sans
An exljbris creation, Calluna was born out of an experiment in adding slab serifs to Museo, giving designer Jos Buivenga the idea of 'serifs with direction'. The result is a highly distinctive text face that later spawned a sans-serif companion.
Top tips for perfect font pairs
Tip 1: Use font superfamilies
The easiest way to find perfect font pairings is by using different fonts within the same overarching typeface family. Find a so-called 'superfamily' and you'll have a ready-made range of weights, styles and classifications that are specifically designed to work together.
A good superfamily will include serif and a sans-serif version of the same typeface: famous examples include Lucida/Lucida Sans and Meta/Meta Sans.
Tip 2: Pair contrasting typefaces
Contrast, as the name implies, is about finding totally different – but still complementary – typefaces that are each fit for their intended application. Traditionally, this involves pairing a serif with a sans serif.
Typefaces will generally conflict if they are too similar: two ever-so-slightly different serifs or sans serifs rarely create nice font pairings.
As a designer, the important thing is to establish a clear hierarchy. This could be as simple as varying the size and weight of the same typeface – but where the typeface varies, careful font pairing is crucial. If you have a display face packed with unique personality, you'll need something more neutral to do the hard work.
Tip 3: Pair type sub-categories
Of course, 'serif' and 'sans serif' are themselves broad classifications – each split into several sub-categories. Generally speaking, Old Style serifs such as Bembo, Caslon and Garamond will combine well with Humanist sans serifs, such as Gill Sans and Lucida Grande.
Meanwhile, Transitional serifs have a stronger contrast between thick and thin strokes – examples include Bookman, Mrs. Eaves, Perpetua and Times. These pair with Geometric sans serifs such as Avant Garde, Avenir, Century Gothic, Eurostile, Futura and Univers.
Finally, Modern serifs have an often very dramatic contrast between thick and thin for a more pronounced, stylised effect, as well as a larger x-height. Included in this third sub-category are Bodoni, Didot, New Century Schoolbook and Walbaum. Again, Geometric sans serifs marry best with these.
So what does all this actually look like in practice? Here's our reference list of tried-and-testing font pairings that are guaranteed to avoid conflict.