‘Don’t ever use Comic Sans’ they said, when I opened up the discussion about coming up with the best font pairing. What is it about Comic Sans that makes it the werewolf of the font industry?
Although answering that question won’t be the central theme of this article, reading it will offer you some insight on why you should NEVER choose that font! It may look great on a teenager’s Android phone, but that’s about it.
Below we’ve selected thirty of the best font pairings. We’ve kept out the technical aspects that went into choosing them, but for the more curious out there, just keep on scrolling. By the end of the article you’ll find everything there is to know about font pairing, font families, and other stuff like that. Meanwhile, enjoy some typography!
A comprehensive list of the best font pairings right now
1. Abril Fatface & Lato
This Google font pair works for a multitude of scenarios, but where it really shines, in our humble opinion, at least, is in newsletters or blog articles. Abril Fatface allows for an imposing presence for your title and headings, which is contrasted by the more neutral but still elegant Lato.
The Archivo Black font was specifically designed for titles and headlines. With a focus on legibility, this font draws the viewer in with its bold presence. This is complemented by Roboto’s robustness. Roboto is a geometric font with slight curves that give it a more friendly look. These two combined work best for posters and reports, as their main goal is to draw attention immediately.
Another classical pair of Google fonts, these two belong to the same font family and it shows. The differences between them are slight, but enough for a well-rounded design. Combining them offers a fresh look, ideal for pamphlets, commercial stickers, or posters.
Already a classic, Oswald & Old Standard TT may just be the best font pairing for scientific papers. They strike at the nostalgic core, as these fonts resemble old typewriting. Nevertheless, they are incredibly effective, especially for literature, history, or the overall humanitarian sciences.
A Google font pairing worth a thousand words. Literally! This combination of fonts is excellent for a vintage typewriter look, sparkled with a bit of modernity. So if you’re in an Ernest Hemingway mood, this is the best font pairing for you. Books, essays, digital newspapers, this font combination meets all criteria for them.
A jolly-be-happy combination of fonts, Pacifico and Quicksand, work great for holiday brochures, travel agencies, restaurants, desserts menus, and so on. They are playful in nature, so you understand where we’re coming from.
Minion and Laudatio. These are not some spells from Harry Potter. They are actual fonts and are incredibly effective together. Their best use is, in our opinion, in design, especially in book cover design.
Rockwell Bold is that type of font that every headline, title, or website button likes. Coupled with Bembo, the end result is smooth, visually appealing, and highly professional. This is by far one of the best font pairings if you want to strike class.
This is one of the best font pairings for creating a really dynamic layout. Although it’s not really a combination, being the same font for both header and body, this combination works magnificently for e-books. By simply changing the size or style (going for italic, for instance), you gain a lot of design flexibility and space.
One of the most famous font pairings out there, Helvetica and Garamond, well deserve their popularity. Their combination works great for a multitude of different projects. Photo albums, portfolio designs, apps and blog posts, this Google font pairing really covers them all.
This sans serif and serif typeface combination seems timeless. There is a unique quality about these two fonts that makes them work perfectly together. Stylish, modern, visually appealing, this font pairing is a real eye-catcher.
There is a certain beauty in combining classical features with more modern ones. Cinzel is that font reminiscent of old Roman inscriptions, whereas Fauna One strikes a contrast with a more contemporary finish. When combined, these two offer a unique reading experience for any blog enthusiast out there.
This pair of regulars feel and look like they’ve been put together by some divine force. They blend seamlessly into one another, elevating your typography efforts. They’re great for business, real estate, events and personal branding.
We all recognize the power and importance of a proper presentation. Regardless of your domain, this font pairing is sure to get the job done. We definitely recommend it, especially for product presentation brochures.
This font combination may strike you as a bit formal, but that’s precisely why we have included it. For writers, this is a great ebook font pairing, whereas, for students or college personnel, you can’t really go wrong with this pair for your academic or research papers.
This font pairing is all about engaging the reader. Alfa Slab One’s density provides a contemporary look, whereas Gentium Book Basic contrasts it to provide clarity. The combination is perfect for magazines.
Although it slightly resembles Comic Sans, Lobster is a more visually pleasing, not at all hated, font. This in itself is a plus. Its playful nature, coupled with Arimo’s more grounded look, makes for one of the nicest Google font pairings out there. An ideal combination for menus or brochures.
Quando is one of those classical fonts that seem to have been around forever. Its earliest broad depiction has been in World War 2 Italian posters. Its slightly handwritten look is complemented well by the more digital present Judson. Together they still work wonders for posters.
One of the Internet’s best all-rounder font pairings, Playfair Display and Raleway, works for wedding invitations, events, and websites. Most likely than not, if you’ve ever seen a wedding invitation, then you most likely already met at least one of these fonts.
If you are somewhat of a typography puritan, Baskerville is amongst the best fonts you can choose for your written compositions. Its legibility and overall beauty work great with Libre Franklin’s slightly more classic look.
Finishing off with a font pairing for the digital age, Oswald and Garamond work beautifully together for website design. Readability, legibility, you are sure to tick all boxes by going with this pairing.
What to consider when searching for the best font pairing
Typography is a graphic design basic for a reason. The best font pairing is that that grabs attention and holds on to it. You want your readers engaged, with their eyeballs focused on the text. Glasses and eye surgeries are expensive, so it’s best not to tamper with your audience’s attention, and use that pair of fonts that make reading as engaging as possible.
But we’ll talk more about this in a minute. Before getting there a thought crossed my mind and I might as well share it with you:
Typography is pretty much all around us
Think about it. Do you remember the last concert you went to? Music festival posters have their distinctive look and feel to them, and that’s partly because of fonts. You wouldn’t want a Rammstein poster covered up in Celine Dion-like fonts. The best font pairing will help you tell the story, not bring about confusion.
Movie posters are another example. Behind every great poster’s design art there is a carefully chosen pair or combination of fonts that get the message across.
Just wanted to get that out of my system. Moving on.
What is font pairing?
This may be the first question that comes to mind when talking about the best font pairing out there.
Let’s break them down and stare at the soul of fonts!
Basically, font pairing is coming up with a combination of fonts that complement each other. There are some general rules to be followed here. I will not insist on them, just merely name them. Although it’s an article about fonts, words, and typography, I don’t want to drown you in context. Right, here are the basic principles of font pairing:
Consider LEGIBILITY – or, in plain English, the ease with which your reader gets what you’ve written
Don’t ever forget about READABILITY – this principle should answer the question, ‘Is my text easy to read? Or does it look like something from an ancient civilization?’
It boils down to COMFORT – how do your readers feel when they’re going through your text? Are they relaxed, or are they on the brink of declaring war?
Along came STYLE – serif, sans-serif, slabs, typewriter, etc., etc., these are all styles that you’ll see at work in the examples we provided.
Which font is most pleasing to the eye?
Generally speaking, people love sans serif fonts, such as Helvetica, Coolvetica, Lato, Roboto, and so on. They are easy to read, pleasing to the eye, and they stand the test of time pretty well.
But it entirely depends on what you are looking for and what you are trying to do. A wedding invitation, for instance, will be better fitted with a combination like Playfair Display and Montserrat Light.
Didot and Georgia work incredibly well for resumes. So you get the idea. The best font pairing, or the most pleasing one, will depend, in part, on its purpose.
Note: Fonts need to elicit some kind of emotion. Can you imagine The Shining’s title written like Pride and Prejudice? No, because Jack Torrance isn’t a misunderstood Darcy.
We’ve mentioned something about serifs and sans-serifs. What are these more exactly? They are called font families. Remember those history classes that had drawings of royal family trees? Or even Game of Thrones, for that matter. Well, font families are basically the same. There are five major families:
Serifs fonts include:
Times New Roman
Famous example: The New York Times
Famous example: Facebook
Cursive fonts include:
Famous example: Kellog’s
Fantasy fonts include:
Famous example: Blizzard Entertainment
Monospace fonts include:
Deja vu Sans Mono
Droid Sans Mono
IBM Plex Mono
Famous example: IBM
That’s all fine and dandy. But those are only logos, you might say. And you’re right. Those are logos, but already we see something happening there. Take another look at the Blizzard logo. You’ll notice a font combination there.
I wanted to show you how big brands use different fonts to create their identity. The best font pairings are the ones that don’t compete with each other but complement one another.
What fonts go good together?
As pointed earlier, choosing font pairs from the same family ensures that you’ll stay consistent and get your message across. The best font pairings don’t need to strike us as radically different. Whatever font you choose, be sure to respect the principles highlighted above and you should be all good.
The glossary above will, hopefully, shed some light on how you choose to go with your font pairing.
As you can see, the first column refers to the font family, the second to style, and the third to the design principles that go behind them. So you should always have in mind these three aspects:
Remember, even professional designers have a hard time figuring out what font works best for given scenarios. And sometimes, the best font pairing can be achieved with a single font.
Useful tools for Google font pairing
Below you will find some of the tools that I’ve found provide immense value when searching for the best font pairings.
Typewolf abunds in font recommendations, and even paid guides, for those of you willing to do some investing. They also have a blog highlighting the various use of fonts across pop culture. So definitely check them out.
If you ever stumbled across a website with amazing fonts and didn’t know their name or how to find them, then WhatFont is your answer. WhatFont is a Google Chrome extension, free, and incredibly easy to use. Think of it as the Shazam of the font world.
Typing some conclusions
As you can see there are o multitude of options regarding the best font pairing out there. Depending on your objective and, in some cases, amount of patience, you can definitely find your own favorite font pairing. You know, the one that almost types itself for you.
We’ve highlighted the ones that we consider to be amongst the more popular out there. All of them are magnificent choices but, feel free to leave a comment if you feel like we’ve missed some.