Finding the right font combinations can be a challenge, even if you’re well-versed in typography. Great typography combinations can convey a limitless range of messages, so understanding which typefaces work best together is a crucial skill for graphic designers.
If you’re looking for great examples of font pairings that work in perfect harmony, turn to this excerpt from Tony Seddon’s book, Type Teams. In Typography Inspiration: Medieval, Neoclassical and Victorian Font Pairings, you’ll find 28 examples of typefaces that were made to go together.
Explore the history of typography and learn which typefaces convey each time period.
This design book excerpt is an amazing typography guide that is ideal for graphic designers, type enthusiasts and creatives who work in print or on the web. In this guide, you’ll discover the perfect typeface combination for any project.
Every typeface for every project is chosen for specific reasons. If you’re picking two or three (or more) typefaces, finding the most harmonious pairings can be especially tricky. It’s crucial to consider how the font pairings relate to one another and to the subject matter of the text. Font pairings may be chosen because they convey a specific time period, such as art deco, Victorian or modern typography. They may also be reminiscent of the amazing typography that appears in science fiction films, famous magazines and other realms of pop culture. Designers may create their best typography designs by choosing typefaces for their legibility, the way they complement the mood of the text, or their eye-catching letterforms.
So, what are the best typeface combinations? According to Seddon, there’s no straight answer. Fortunately, he also explains which font pairings work harmoniously together and why some work better than others by breaking them down into “type teams,” or groups of typefaces that share similar moods and origins. He also provides plenty of typography design inspiration and examples of great font pairings along the way. These combinations are the key incorporating great typography into your design work.
In this excerpt, Seddon specifically explores from pairings from past time periods, including Medieval, Renaissance, Neoclassical and Victorian type combinations.
Renaissance & Medieval Font Combinations
Typeface design didn’t exist in Western typographic history before the introduction of movable type in the fifteenth century, so handwritten letterforms are a natural model for early typeface designs. When you’re adding a Medieval flavor to your designs, it’s helpful to choose typefaces inspired by these handwritten and calligraphic fonts. Utilize Gothic or Blackletter font pairings for a throwback to the Middle Ages. For a more poetic, yet formal Renaissance feel, choose Humanist style serif fonts or readable Caslon fonts.
Neoclassical Typography Inspiration
By the Neoclassical period, metal type had developed a unique character. Seddon advises choosing quintessential serif fonts such as Baskerville, along with a select few sans serif fonts to accompany them without detracting from the historical mood. Using the Neoclassical look in your type choices offers a distinctively formal, yet fresh feel.
Expressive Typography: Romanticism
Turn to Romanticism for optical elegance in your typeface pairings. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Modern serifs and Didones became very popular, with subtle thinning that doesn’t sacrifice legibility. These font pairings can be very indulgent and sensual, characteristics that are particularly apparent in the Lust type family, which pairs well with a typeface like Archer that works well in smaller sizes without detracting from the effect.
Victorian Font Families
Font pairings reminiscent of the Victorian Era include “Egyptian” Slab serif fonts and Clarndons, while a few choice calligraphic scripts such as Aquiline Two can help recreate antique-style handwriting. Victorian typography also includes a wider range of sans serif font revivals that maintain a sense of antiquity, as well as some lovely and versatile Formal script fonts.
Keen to learn about these great typography combinations in detail? Download this guide to harmonious typefaces to find some great typography inspiration.
Whether you’re interested in the history of typefaces or you’re looking for the perfect type pairings for your next design project, this excerpt from Type Teams is the perfect resource for you. From the Medieval to the Victorian era, these typography examples will help you identify which fonts will give your text the most timely and appropriate mood.
In addition, this excerpt also includes helpful typographic design principles and tricks to help you understand the subtleties of typeface design. This download includes a detailed examination of stress and a look at big typeface with big personalities.
This guide to typography design inspiration and visual harmony offers excellent insight into lettering of the past, from the earliest typeface combinations to the elegant font pairings reminiscent of the Victorian Era. You’ll find the information and the inspiration required to make the best choices you can when bringing typefaces together.