assignment 5

Identify *two* pairs of typefaces from your collection of fonts and, for each pair, describe the context in which you would use them together. Robert Bringhurst suggests pairing type faces based on their type designer, cultural/historical attributes, or physical attributes (e.g., x-height, geometry). Bodoni and Futura, for example, have similarly geometric letter-forms and are often successfully paired in print design.

Post an image of your two chosen typeface pairs and your descriptions to the course website by next Sunday (March 9). You will use these typefaces in class next Monday.

Additionally, if you own a laptop, please bring it to class next Monday.

21 Responses to “assignment 5”

  1. 1

    Fonts that go together:



    I still feel like I don’t know enough about art and design to pick good “pairings,” but both of the above I decided on for a couple reasons. Both pair serif fonts with sans serif fonts for variety. The first pairing have similar weights and axis, the second pairing has similar x-heights and general letter shape.

    For both these pairs, I would probably use the serifed font for headings and the sans font for block text, since it’s easier to read.

  2. 2

    It appears to me that serif typefaces pair well with sans-serif typefaces since each functions in a different way while reading.

    I remember reading somewhere that sans-serif typefaces increased readability on screens, whereas serif typefaces increased readability on printed matter. I don’t know if this is actually true, but a do feel that a combination of the two definitely brings out more character to a work (such as a heading done in a serif typeface and the main text being done in a sans-serif typeface).

    Here are my typeface pairs:


    I think that “Sabon,” which was historically used for the King James Version of the Bible, is very crisp and easy to read - especially printed on paper. This pairs very well with “Frutiger,” which was designed to be legible from a distance, and therefore used in places such as Switzerland for road signs.

    Next, I think “Baskerville,” a transitional typeface which had been used by book publishers, has a good consistency of size and form. This pairs well with “Univers,” (a predecessor of “Frutiger”) which is very crisp and has distinctive curves. Some familiar places we see the typeface being used is on most keyboards, and several metro systems including the San Fransisco BART.



    Among other factors, I looked at x-height and the shape of the lowercase “t” to match these typefaces. I like how Lucida relates to Trade Gothic, but I do not find Lucida very readable in long stretches… despite the name. I think it’s because it is so regularized that the letterforms are actually quite similar.

    I find the pairing of Abadi and Goudy more readable, as the letterforms of Goudy are better differentiated from one another, and the rectilinear punctuation helps Goudy relate to the squared-off forms of Abadi.

  4. 4 Karen


    Though I typically like to pair serifed fonts with those that are sans-serifed, I thought this combination of Bodoni and Jenson Pro were aesthetically pleasing. I like that both fonts share similar x-heights, yet Bodoni provides a bolder, stronger look that is only enhanced by the high contrast of its characters (thickness btwn horizontal/vertical strokes). Jenson balances these characteristics out with its lighter, curvier characters. Though Bodoni and Jenson use different axises, I think here it looks more harmonious than clashing.

    Because Jenson doesn’t seem to be highly readable and Bodoni has strong characteristics, I don’t think I would apply these fonts in a header/body layout. Instead, I would probably use them at the same level with Jenson as default and Bodoni for emphasis.


    Here is a serifed and sans-serifed typeface pair that I like. The heavier weight of Franklin Gothic Med I feel balances out the serifs of Times New Roman. The x-heights of these two fonts are off by a bit (see “penguin”), but both have similarly geometric letter-forms that use the same axis. I might use the Frankin typeface for header text and Times New Roman for the body.


    I found this assignment very challenging. I kept finding spectacular fonts that I could easily pair…but cost money. Finally, I’ve had to settle on these free fonts…which I’m still not satisfied with but will have to do for now.

  6. 6 Seth Horrigan



    I would have uploaded these earlier, but I went looking for free fonts and got a little engrossed. In each of the pairings, I sought to balance a sans-serif with a serif font. In the first pairing, I would use these together when creating a header and subtext for a poster. In the second, I would use Calibri for headings and Cambria for the body of a document.

    In both of these, I choose the serif font for the majority of the text (also the smaller text), to allow the eye to read without excessive fatigue or trouble disambiguating.

    In the last, I reverse that. I cannot really say why, but with Gaelic lettering, I find the sans-serif font easier to read in bulk.

  7. 7 Nick Rabinowitz

    I tried to find two pairs of typefaces that would work well as heading/subheading type. The first uses a serif font for the heading and a sans-serif for the subhead, while the second does the reverse.


    The first pairing uses Georgia for the heading and Lacuna for the subhead. I thought these fonts went relatively well together for several reasons:

    - At the same point size, these fonts have a similar x-height, though Lacuna has both a higher x-height and taller ascenders.

    - The proportion of many of the letters seemed similar - for example, the proportions of the “e” and “o” in both typefaces defined a similar oval.

    - The general shape of the “a” is the same in both fonts, as are most of the other letterforms, including the “g” (though you can’t see this above).

    - The few slab serifs in Lacuna, at the bottoms of the “i” and “r”, seem to echo the standard serifs in Georgia. Similarly, the tail of the lowercase “t” in Lacuna seemed like a nice sans-serif companion to the “t” in Georgia.


    The second pairing uses Cicle for the header and Garamond for the subheading. Again, there were several reasons why I thought these fonts might go well together:

    - I liked how both seemed relatively light and thin. At the weights shown above, the thickest parts of the Garamond letters are approximately the same width as the lines in the Cicle heading.

    - As above, the aspect ratio of the round letters like the “o” and “e” seemed very similar in both typefaces - much rounder than those in the first pair.

    - Although the Cicle x-height is higher than that of Garamond, the ascenders are slightly lower, so that overall the two fonts seem relatively balanced with each other.

    - As above, most of the letters seem to be formed in the same way in both fonts.

    - I liked how Cicle looked as a header font - it’s so light that it can be fairly large without being imposing - but a heavier subheading font might have made it look too flimsy. Garamond seems somewhat thin but well-balanced, and I thought it made a nice counterpoint.

  8. 8 Bayram


    In the first pairing, both fonts are serifed, though the serifs on the Blurmix are rectangular, which I think makes it work with the vertical nature of Bodoni.

    In the second pairing, we have a serif and a sans-serif font. However, they both share very rounded letter profiles. At the same time, the lines of SwComp are much thinner than those on Lucida so we get an interesting contrast effect between the two.

  9. 9 anselm

    My first combination of fonts should be used for print media, e.g. a reference book or an academic script. The typeface I used for the headline is “Myriad Pro”, the body text is in “Adobe Garamond”.
    I think that serif typefaces are the better choice for print, why I chose Garamond, my favorite font, for the main text. To add a contrast in the headline with a sans serif typeface, but still a very dynamic grotesque one, I used Myriad. I think it bears a likeness to Frutiger which would have been another great combination with Garamond.


    As a second combination I came up with two typefaces which should be used for web design purposes. “Verdana” for the body is not the most innovative choice, but in my opinion still the best font for text on websites.
    The typeface, I chose for the headline is “Kozuka Gothik Pro EL”, another Adobe font. I think it’s a very modern typeface, which could be used e.g. for a fashion website.


  10. 10 nicolas

    My first choice of typefaces is a combination of Onyx and Edwardian Script. I personally like to combine serif with sans serif typefaces. Their basic differences create a nice contrast, which makes it easy to generate a certain hierarchy among them. With a combination of these two typefaces you can for example create logos.
    In my second example I wanted to combine two typefaces that could be used as heading and subheading for example for a print article. For the heading I chose a bold version of Gill Sans. The subheading is in Bell MT. Basically I like this combination because of the same reason as my first choice. A combination of serif and sans serif typefaces simply go good together, because they can be distinguished pretty easy.

  11. 11

    Pairing fonts is definitely not easy. I kept dragging different Sans & Serif fonts together, but they would lack any shared characteristics that would really pair them together. Perhaps the most easily paired are serif & sans variations of fonts from the same family.

    For the first one, I tried to contrast an old-style readable font with a ultra modern font and test how well they go along together. Also, I like the italic capitals of Helvetica a lot. Thinking back, Garamond would have been a better substiture for Bodoni, which almost seems to stand-up.


    For the second one, I played around a lot with kerning, sizes & emphasis. The effect is, it adds a lot of playfulness to the produced result. The x-heights of these two are made the same, so it doesn’t seem like a forced pairing.


  12. 12 jess

    Minion/Myriad and Birch/Rosewood


    I chose the Minion and Myriad combination for its physical attributes. They have similar geometry (round insides of the a’s/b’s/d’s as well as a vertical center) and similar x-heights. I find these fonts very simple and friendly; perhaps useful in a variety of contexts, ranging from ads in the economist magazine to cookbook recipes.

    And I chose the Birch and Rosewood combination for its cultural (rather than physical) attributes. Each of these fonts look like they originated from the south. Specifically, the Rosewood font resembles text from a brand iron and the Birch font looks like the text from a cowboy “Wanted” poster. I would use these fonts for the website/menu/ads for a BBQ restaurant.

  13. 13
  14. 14

    I’ve tried several pairs of fonts and compare them at 20pt. For me, it is obvious that serif faces pair well with sans serif faces, and sans serif faces pair well with serif faces.


    The first example is “Times New Roman” pairing with “Tw Cen Condensed.” I chose “Times New Roman” because it is the most popular and common font. Although “Times New Roman” has wider letter spacing than “Tw Cen MT Condensed”, both fonts have similar geometry, the same X-height and kerning spacing.

    The second pairing is “Gill Sans” and “Bell MT.” There are even more geometric similarities between these two typefaces. They have the same kerning spacing, X-height, ascender and descender height. Most importantly, the curvature of the letter “j” and slant-ness of the letter “y” are also very alike.

    I’ve also paired four other fonts. The picture can be found here:


  15. 15


    Pair #1:
    Heading - Big Caslon
    Subheading - Abadi MT Condensed Light

    After testing out various size combinations, I thought this pairing of the larger serif font with the smaller sans-serif subheading was the most aesthetically pleasing. The Big Caslon serif “headline” immediately commands a kind of stately presence, while the Abadi MT Condensed Light reflects a modern, simple and playful element underneath. Interestingly, I tried replacing Big Caslon with Times New Roman and some other serif fonts, with less of an effect. Big Caslon has greater contrast in its line weights and rounder enclosures which I feel gives it a stronger presence on the page.

    Pair #2:
    Normal Text - Cochin
    Weighted Text - Trebuchet MS

    Here I used Trebuchet as a mostly sans-serif font to highlight certain words out of the serif text. I thought these paired well together, because while the two are obviously different, it’s not a complete departure from the serif fontface, due to the fact that Trebuchet contains remnants of feet on a few of the letters. Also, the obvious difference in x-height turned out to be appropriate to help further distinguish the highlighted words from the rest of the text.

  16. 16 aylin


    Like a lot of other people, I also paired serif and sans-serif fonts for contrast.

    When starting this assignment I first looked through all of the fonts I already had and then I went off and explored some nice free fonts via the links I sent out to the list.

    After the long search, I ended up really loving two serif fonts and envisioning them as body text. My next step was then to find nice companion typefaces.

    My first pairing is Goudy Old Style (18 pt) for the body text with Gill Sans (36 pt) as the companion title/header typeface. Goudy Old Style, like other old style fonts, is very readable which is why I like it for the body text. The serifs are very shapely, rounded with a gentle curve. Look how fluid the “f” and “g” are–so beautiful and graceful. I love that the ear on the g is slightly curved upwards and that the dots on the i and j are diamond shaped (though you can only really tell at large point sizes). Also, there is a strong diagonal emphasis (look at the oblique terminus of the vertical stroke on the t, j and the rest of the serif tops).

    I think Gill Sans, a humanist sans-serif typeface, complements this font very well. Like other humanist sans-serifs, it’s more similar to the serifs in that it’s less mechanical in appearance than some other sans-serifs (e.g. ones that are more geometrical like Futura). I like that the “t” in Gill Sans also has the oblique terminus of the vertical stroke. When compared at the same point size, both fonts have the same x-height and their descenders are both the same height as well, relatively short just barely dipping below the baseline. Also, I like how the capital letters were modeled off the monumental Roman capitals, the proportions look very pleasing (i.e. I like that you could divide the space up into a grid and it would just all be very square/rectangular, it gives the letters an air of importance).

    My other pair is Fontin Sans Small Caps (36 pt) for the heading/title with Didot (18 pt). I like how Didot has very curly serifs for the “j” and “y” descenders and for the “f” ascender. I think the small caps version of Fontin Sans acts as a very good header and a nice contrast to Didot.

  17. 17 Sia A.


    The two typefaces I chose were Curlz MT & the abhorrently infamous Comic sans. I wanted to have two oddly unique type fonts in contrast with one another. While Curlz MT is unique and interesting, it does run the risk of being used out of context, and it’s use must be taken very carefully. Comic sans however has the 99.99999% chance of not working within any context and is used here as a warning for what it can make one look like in the design world. The following illustration is also something I was thinking about doing in class (the relationship of image & font. Please give me feedback!

  18. 18 Devin

    I started off by trying to match something more fanciful. I was trying to find something to match OCR A Extended. I love this font because it is so cold and inorganic. Featuring no curves and only angles, this font sums up hard-digital aesthetic for me. Also be because the kerning is absolutely absurd. In the end I decided I really like it with Arabic typesetting. While they are both serif fonts, I find them a nice contrast without going overboard. The Arabic is rather compact in comparison to OCR A Extended, but not as compact as some.

    The other I attempted to pair was one I had not seen before, called Poor Richard. While not as simple as many other fonts, and possibly not fully professional, there are a great many things about this font that are extremely beautiful and elegant. The use of curves is beautiful and I find it somewhat whimsical. Note the curving serif (not quite sure what to call a serif on the top of a letter, inverse serif?) on the top of the capital L, as well as the lines curving inward on the lowercase a.
    This font was also difficult for me to match, due to its very low center of gravity. The ascenders on the d and l are very tall in relation to the x-height, and finding a sans-serf with ascenders that long was difficult. The best I found was Calibri. I think they do work, but will keep my eyes open for a sans with the lower center of gravity.



  20. 20 ASHKAN


  21. 21


Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.