12 Amazing Font Pairings (Free & Paid)
May 17, 2021 by Julija Popovic
How to combine fonts + 12 great font combos
Pairing fonts is a staple in digital design. Think about it -- we rarely see a design with only one font. It’s for a good reason, too. The simple answer is that it’s monotonous. Users respond to variety, and their attention is easy to lose.
That’s why the greatest designers love to mix and match fonts: Varied fonts elevate the design and keep the attention of the user.
They also make the design neater and more organised. This is also incredibly important.
Organisation is key in any kind of design; in digital design, doubly so. Keeping your design neat is one of the top priorities. Using different fonts can help you keep track of your ideas.
Different fonts also help you spot mistakes. It’s common advice when writing anything -- change your font to spot typos.
So, using different fonts is generally a good idea. But, most people know that, even if it’s only on a subconscious level.
A better question is how to combine different fonts. In this article we’ll take a look at a few pointers. We will also analyse some of the best font combos.
There are a lot of great options, and it’s impossible to list them all in one place.
Combining fonts is a creative process. There are infinite possibilities; finding one can be overwhelming.
Here are a few basic guidelines to make this process easier:
- Use a single font family: Font families are groups of fonts that have a similar design. They vary in style, weight and slant, but they have similar appearance. This is a good idea for novice designers. It has a limited range, so it’s easier to navigate. A single font family is great for minimalist designs. It gives the design sleekness and polish it needs.
- Use contrasting fonts: Contrasting fonts are different fonts that complement each other. They are like two sides of a coin. It’s a good idea to combine serif and sans serif fonts. Mix up weights. Play with the slants. Combine loud with quiet fonts. But, be sure that fonts enhance each other. Take care that they don’t clash. If you can, ask a second opinion. A fresh pair of eyes can be a godsend.
- Limit the number of fonts: It’s easy to go combo-crazy. There are a million amazing fonts and you might want to use as many as you can. That’s understandable, it really is. But, you should always aim for coherency. Gather a bunch of fonts you like the most and try to find different styles and weights. Then eliminate them one by one. Compare how they go with each other. This beauty pageant approach can save you a lot of overthinking. In the end you’ll be left with fonts you like the most.
Now, for those font pairings (free and paid):
1) Garamond and Helvetica Neue
This is a classic example. Garamond is a traditional serif font that lends a bit of gravitas to a design. It’s elegant and sophisticated.
Helvetica Neue is a sans-serif, suitable for longer texts. Its minimal and unobtrusive design is easy to read.
This combination is a good example of contrasting fonts. They complement each other and create a coherent unit.
It’s a safe duo that will fit a great variety of projects.
You can easily get Garamond for free here and Helvetica Neue here.
2) Fontin and Fontin Sans
As one might guess, these fonts are part of the same superfamily. The Dutch foundry exljbris developed this font family.
Fontin is an elegant modern serif.It has a distinctive look and will make a design pop.
Its sans-serif counterpart is another great typeface font. It’s almost a semi-serif. But they work together beautifully.
This combo is a great example why working with one font family pays off. Best of all? You can get them for free.
You can find them here: Fontin and Fontin Sans.
3) Museo and Calluna Sans
This sleek, modern combination works amazing with all sorts of projects. Both fonts have a rounded appearance.
Museo is a lovely serif font from the exljbris Font Foundry. It has groovy semi-slab serifs and rounded bowls. It doesn’t need to be edy (pun intended) -- it’s effortlessly cool.
Calluna also has rounded bowls, but they lean towards oval. It has just a pinch of elongation to make the design flow better.
Together, these playful designs create stunning visuals.
Check out Museo and Calluna Sans.
4) Begum Bold and Futura PT Book
Begum is an absolutely fabulous font family. It’s a favourite among designers across the board. Its appeal is obvious from the first sight.
Its sharp serifs give it a great edge and make it stand out from other fonts.
The bold weight is the perfect choice for an eye-catching title. It’s a flawless mix of power and elegance.
Futura PT Book is a versatile sans-serif font. It appears on many best sans-serif font lists for a reason. It’s sleek and perfect for digital design.
Together, these fonts create a beautiful visual experience for the user. The title wows them and the text calms them.
Check out the Begum font family. You can download the Futura PT family here.
5) Rockwell Bold and Bembo
This is another beautiful heavy-light combination.
Rockwell Bold is one of the most popular slab serif fonts out there. It’s a loud font, but not too flamboyant.
Rockwell Bold is a relatively old font, as it came out in 1934. But, its timeless look has been a favourite for a reason.
It gives your design a pop and makes it look vibrant.
On the other hand, Bembo is a subtle elegant font. It is easy to read, and as such it’s a great choice for the text body.
Bembo complements Rockwell with its simplicity. This pairing is one of the best complementary font combinations. It’s exactly what a good combination should be.
You can pick up Rockwell Bold font here, and the Bembo font family here.
The Letterpress Script is a lovely vintage-looking font. It might be a bit too ornate to use in body text.
However, it’s beautiful for titles and headlines.
Brandon Grotesque is an almost utilitarian sans serif font family. It’s no frills, but still accessible. Its rounded bowls soften its edge just enough to go with the Letterpress Script font.
It has different weights and styles. Overall, the light weight might be best to pair with Letterpress Script.
Together they make an extremely interesting pair. They might not be the best choice for longer projects like books. But it can be amazing for sites, event invitations and product designs.
You can get the Letterpress font family here and Brandon Grotesque here.
7) Patua One and Lora
Patua One is a very interesting font. It’s a somewhat heavy font, but you can use it for smaller designs. This means it’s perfect for projects like mobile apps.
Patua One is a serif font, and its serifs have slight curves. This means it’s a rounded, smooth font.
In contrast to it, the Lora font is thin and quite a bit pointer. It’s also a serif font, so the two can work quite nicely. The serifs of the Lora font are sharp and go well with the thick stems of the letters.
Together they create a lovely balance. They manage to achieve that contrasting quality without being a serif and a sans serif font.
Patua One is free for download and use - get it here. You can download the Lora font from Adobe right here.
8) Roslindale and Avenir
Roslindale is a beautiful typeface serif font. Its designer, David Jonathan, Ross drew inspiration from the De Vinne font from the late 19th century.
As such, Roslindale is classic and timeless. It has thick stems and triangular serifs. Even though this might sound a bit heavy, it’s incredibly elegant. Its elongated bowls have a beautiful, graceful shape.
It’s a lovely and eye-catching font. As such, it works best for titles and headlines. Roslindale makes a statement without being too loud.
That’s why you should pair it with an understated font like Avenir. It’s a sans-serif, simple and practical. In this combination the Roslindale is the star.
Avenir is a geometric sans, and it has similarity to Futura (along with a cheeky nod in its name). But it’s a bit softer. It isn’t as rigid as other geometric sans fonts.
You can get the Roslindale font here and the Avenir family here.
9) Oswald Bold and Montserrat Light
This is a sans-sans combination. The trouble with combinations like that is that they might seem utilitarian. But, if you do it right they can be quite playful and fun.
Oswald is a heavy sans-serif font. It’s almost like a newspaper headline font.
If you’re a comic book nerd, it might evoke a Gotham City newspaper. Though that might just be me.
Still, it’s a great sans-serif font for a wide variety of projects. When you pair it with a dainty font such as Montserrat Light you get something really special.
Montserrat is one of the most popular sans fonts. It’s easy to see why. It’s graceful and rounded, perfect for a touch of class.
You can get the Oswald font family and Montserrat.
10) Bubblegum Sans and Nunito
Bubblegum Sans is one of those really in-your-face fonts. It’s thick, round, and playful as a puppy.
It has an almost script quality. And yes, script fonts are notoriously tricky to combine.
Moderation is key with the Bubblegum font. In small amounts it gives your design a pop of fun. But you can easily have too much of a good thing with it.
That’s why you have a more serious font like Nunito. It reigns the Bubblegum in and keeps it grounded.
That being said, it’s also a bit rounded so it doesn’t clash with Bubblegum.
Together they can create an awesome balance of pizzaz and elegance. It might not work for more serious projects like pitch decks. But, it can make other designs really pop.
You can find the Bubblegum Sans font here and Nunito here.
11) Traulha Jornau and Nimbus Sans
Traulha Jornau is an elegant serif font. It has long serifs that make the design even more graceful.
It’s a sharp font and it can really elevate a design.
The designer Yoann Minet created a font family featuring both serif and sans fonts.
You can combine the fonts in the same family. They are a tried and true combo. It’s a great idea especially if you’re new to the field of design.
That being said, it’s also a bit rounded so it doesn’t clash with Bubblegum.But here we’ll take a different approach. Nimbus Sans is a sans-serif typeface. It has some similarity with Helvetica, but with a big number of different cuts.
You can find the entire Traulha font family here and get the Nimbus Sans here.
12) Egizio URW Bold and Perpetua
Egizio URW is a font family by the URW foundry. It is a serif typeface font. Its serifs are quite big and triangular.
It is a classic font and it works best for business designs such as pitches, reports and the like.
Perpetua is another elegant serif font. It was first released in 1929. and has enjoyed popularity ever since.
It’s a bit lighter than the Egizio. It’s pleasant for the eyes. It is a great option as a main text font. It makes sense, since designers used it as a bookface for a long time.
Find the Egzio URW font family on Adobe. You can download the Perpetua font family here.
Anyway, we hope that this has been helpful in your next project. Whether you're looking for font combinations for inspiration or you need to get to work right away, there's something in here for just about any type of project. Whether you’re needing something modern, classic, or in-between -- there’s a little bit of everything in this roundup. Now you can start creating your own perfect design, with the help of some of these free and premium fonts.
So, happy designing and best of luck on your next UI design project, whatever it may be!