Category Archives: Great Pairs

FF Tisa and Pilcrow


Bringing us a type palette with a subtle bounce today is the pairing of a long-held personal favorite, Mitja Miklavčič’s FF Tisa, and Satya Rajpurohit’s recently released Pilcrow. Though Satya’s work through his own Indian Type Foundry focuses mainly on Indic scripts such as Devanagari, Tamil, or Gurmukhi, his latest release demonstrates a developed understanding of the Latin alphabet, and a new perspective at the intersection of geometric and industrial gothic.


Pilcrow offers enough structural reinforcement to complement well FF Tisa’s casual demeanor. Unifying the two is Pilcrow’s own playful take on what would otherwise be featureless curves and joins. This is particularly evident in the heavier weights of the blunted variant, Pilcrow Soft.


As Tisa progresses in weight, the face advances from a relatively narrow fit to a comfortably wide stance.

FF-Tisa-and-Pilcrow-2 FF-Tisa-and-Pilcrow-3

That’s all. Catch Great Pairs here each Wednesday.

Le Monde Journal and Parisine

Today we pair a couple of Jean François Porchez’s masterfully understated faces, Le Monde Journal and Parisine.

Le-Monde-Journal-and-Parisine-1 Le-Monde-Journal-and-Parisine-2

From Le Monde Journal emanates a certain strength, mostly due to its forceful rhythm and its forms’ careful balance between robust gestures and delicate details. The face is designed to set compactly both horizontally and vertically, with a narrow fit, a large x-height and modest extenders. It also comes in a range of tightly-stepped weights to accommodate various factors of scale and output. As a companion to Le Monde Journal, Parisine operates as a sophisticated humanist sans, adding a softer dimension to the pairing. Together the two create a versatile set that lends care and credibility to its message. Should you require something even more playful, see Parisine Plus.Le-Monde-Journal-and-Parisine-3 Le-Monde-Journal-and-Parisine-4 Le-Monde-Journal-and-Parisine-5

Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.

FF Yoga and FF Sero

Today we look at Xavier Dupré’s FF Yoga and Jörg Hemker FF Sero.

FF-Yoga-and-FF-Sero-1 FF-Yoga-and-FF-Sero-2

FF Sero’s understated humanized gothic, fully capable of text setting on its own, puts the emphasis on FF Yoga’s statelier qualities. Together the two create a warm, firm, yet flexible feel, suitable for contemporary work. If FF Yoga looks familiar, it’s because the face is heavily influenced by Eric Gill’s Joanna, but not without a fresh take all its own.FF-Yoga-and-FF-Sero-3 FF-Yoga-and-FF-Sero-4 FF-Yoga-and-FF-Sero-5

Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.

Athelas and Domus Titling

Today we’ll take a quick look at  Veronika Burian & José Scaglione’s Athelas with Tim Ahrens & Shoko Mugikura’s Domus Titling.

Athelas-and-Domus-Titling-1 Athelas-and-Domus-Titling-2

Both drawing from classical models, but introducing their own twist, the pair support each other nicely. Domus Titling is based on and carries the proportions of formal inscriptional lettering, but its rounded corners and soft stroke endings create some contemporary interest. Athelas likewise plays with the transitional or neoclassical Roman model, introducing updated touches here and there. Its italic particularly breaks from convention, pursing a feel much more calligraphic than drafted or engraved.Athelas-and-Domus-Titling-3 Athelas-and-Domus-Titling-4 Athelas-and-Domus-Titling-5That’s it. Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.

Colvert and MVB Solitaire

Today we look at Jonathan Perez’s Colvert with Mark van Bronkhorst’s MVB Solitaire. I guess I should also mention Natalia Chuvatin, Kristyan Sarkis, and Irene Vlachou; Colvert covers four scripts — Latin, Arabic, Cyrillic & Greek — each drawn natively, though we’ll look most closely at the Latin.

Colvert-and-MVB-Solitaire-1 Colvert-and-MVB-Solitaire-2

Colvert’s rich, French Renaissance texture is unmistakeable. In creating this work Perez updates the tone, leaving behind something fresh and familiar. Solitaire achieves a sophisticated humanist feel both thanks to and in spite of its wholehearted pursuit of generality. Together, the two create a versatile partnership with a feel that covers the spectrum between the ancient and contemporary.

Colvert-and-MVB-Solitaire-3 Colvert-and-MVB-Solitaire-4

Colvert’s bold has a nice bite to it.

Adding to its versatility is the fact that in this pair, either typeface is quite proficient at setting text.
Colvert-and-MVB-Solitaire-7 Colvert-and-MVB-Solitaire-8
Colvert-and-MVB-Solitaire-6That’s it. Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.

FF Ernestine and Directors Gothic

Today we look at something a little less conventional: Nina Stössinger’s FF Ernestine paired with Neil Summerour’s redrawing of the Lettering Inc. series, Directors Gothic.

FF-Ernestine-and-Directors-Gothic-1 FF-Ernestine-and-Directors-Gothic-2
FF Ernestine’s delicate finish and casual, wide stance are accentuated by Directors Gothic’s plain (and compact) nature. The American sans captures a classic ad-lettering style, with tightly controlled strokes, and a subtle human touch. The face comes in an astonishing 90 styles, each of the five sets growing incrementally wider, by the numbers.
FF-Ernestine-and-Directors-Gothic-3 FF-Ernestine-and-Directors-Gothic-4 Placed in proximity to the spare all-caps line of Directors Gothic, FF Ernestine’s texture is nothing short of luxurious.

That’s it. Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.

Alda and Flex

Today we look at Berton Hasebe’s Alda with Paul van der Laan’s Flex.

Alda’s an unconventional family in that it varies in hardness along its weight axis. This is most visible in its italic, which ranges from a soft, smooth texture to one much more rough-hewn. Flex’s strong, even, humanist feel accentuates the range Alda demonstrates and allows its forms to take the primary position of interest.
Alda-and-Flex-2 Alda-and-Flex-3 Alda-and-Flex-4 Alda-and-Flex-5Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.

FF Kievit Slab and FF Kievit

Today we look at the unison pairing of Michael Abbink & Paul van der Laan’s FF Kievit Slab with the original FF Kievit.

FF-Kievit-Slab-and-FF-Kievit-1 FF-Kievit-Slab-and-FF-Kievit-2
The overall feeling between the two is difficult to describe; the humanistic forms create an air both American and European, and at once neither. Either of the Kievits are at home setting body text, but just to demonstrate opposing roles, I pair here various weights of the sans with FF Kievit Slab’s book weight. Both variants come in a complete set of nine weights from Thin to Black.
FF-Kievit-Slab-and-FF-Kievit-3 FF-Kievit-Slab-and-FF-Kievit-6 FF-Kievit-Slab-and-FF-Kievit-4 FF-Kievit-Slab-and-FF-Kievit-5

Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.

FF Absara and Klavika

Today we look at Xavier Dupré’s FF Absara paired with Eric Olson’s Klavika.

FF-Absara-and-Klavika-1You’ve doubtless seen Klavika before; its popular uses include high-profile identities and campaigns for Comcast, NBC, General Motors, others. The contemporary geometric sans finds a nice complement in FF Absara’s reductionist humanism. The faces’ carefully-placed hooks and overall low contrast serve as common threads to keep the two cohesive.

FF Absara comes in two optical sizes, a tightly-fitting headline, and text for setting body copy, above, (left and middle columns). Klavika additionally offers condensed weights for greater flexibility in editorial or other work. Together the two achieve a fully contemporary feel.
FF-Absara-and-Klavika-3 FF-Absara-and-Klavika-6 FF-Absara-and-Klavika-4 FF-Absara-and-Klavika-5 Great Pairs continue here each Wednesday.

Sovereign and Global (and Free Fonts)

A quick look today at Nick Cooke’s Sovereign and Dino dos Santos’s Global; well, it’s that, and also a made-up reason to talk about free fonts. If you’ve kept up with our weekly New Fonts posts, you’re likely already aware that certain foundries, such as exljbris or Hoftype, commonly offer a single weight of a new release free. As it happens, lots of other foundries do this too, so today I’m limiting our pairing to just fonts that appear on our new, site-comprehensive Free Fonts page. All the type shown here is available from FontShop for $0.
Sovereign is an extensively developed, relaxed-fit, semi-serif. As a text face, it offers a nicely open texture, with surprises here and there. Global’s wide-stanced, simply stylized monolinear forms serve as a support to Sovereign’s quick-stroke humanist quirks.
Sovereign-and-Global-2 Sovereign-and-Global-3
In addition to Global’s OpenType fonts being available free in the three styles above, the same faces are also free as webfonts.Sovereign-and-Global-5That’s all. Great Pairs is a regular Wednesday thing here on the blog.

Century Expanded and Reservation Wide

Let’s take a look at Morris Fuller Benton’s Century Expanded with Silas Dilworth’s Reservation Wide.
The two together have a warm, unmistakeably American feel. Century’s bright text is complemented by Reservation Wide’s confident lettering-inspired gestures. Reservation Wide was initially designed as part of a branding package for The Food Network, and can be seen in associated broadcast and print applications.
Century-and-Reservation-2 Century-and-Reservation-3
Owing to its popularity, Century’s history is quite fragmented and spans lots of different foundries’ interpretations and reappropriations of the same basic style, so if there’s something you need but don’t see here, it likely exists. The below cut of Century Expanded is one Adobe licensed to Linotype (it’s slightly more complicated than that).

That’s it. Catch Great Pairs here each Wednesday.

FF Dora and Chevin

Fun one today. Let’s look at Slávka Pauliková’s FF Dora, paired with Nick Cooke’s Chevin.



Both these, while quite capable of communicating their message in a clear, straight-faced manner, let you know they’re enjoying it. FF Dora flirts with unconventional constructions while flaunting a confident mastery of roman and italic pen-derived forms. Chevin’s pleasure comes from its rigid adherence to the templates from which its shapes are derived. Together, the two harmonize well in their text weights, and don’t hold back in their ability to dazzle with their display cuts.

FF-Dora-and-Chevin-3 FF-Dora-and-Chevin-4 FF-Dora-and-Chevin-5
Great Pairs continue here Wednesday.

Tanger Serif and Relay

Today’s great pair is Jarno Lukkarila’s Tanger Serif and Cyrus Highsmith’s Relay.

Tanger-Serif-and-Relay-1 Tanger-Serif-and-Relay-2

Up close, Tanger Serif’s playful handwork is undeniable, but at size it softens nicely into a vigorous overall texture. With Relay, its texture is enhanced with size. The nearer you get, the clearer the liberties taken with the strokes of its geometric construction. Together, the two create a nice tension between social fluency and awkwardness. And this might be a first: Our extensively developed secondary face, Relay—no slouch mind you—even with five weights across three widths is outnumbered by the styles available in the primary body text face Tanger Serif, with 48 styles spread across three widths in eight weights.

Tanger Serif sets economically, but comes in an even narrower width should you need it. For the samples, I play it down the middle.

Great Pairs flow in each Wednesday.

Novel and Auto

Let’s take a quick look today at the pairing of Christoph Dunst’s Novel and Underware’s Auto (that’s Akiem Helmling, Bas Jacobs and Sami Kortemäki).

Novel-and-Auto-1 Novel-and-Auto-2
Novel prominently displays its calligraphic roots, particularly in its compact italic. This naturally extends a close relation to Auto, a low contrast sans with a well-developed calligraphic flair. That’s understating it. Auto is to my knowledge the first typeface to initially ship with multiple sets of italics, each in a distinct style.

Together, Auto’s young voice and Novel’s classic finish strike a chord full of depth and interest.



As is somewhat commonly the case with newer text faces, Novel has its own companion sans already, Novel Sans, complete with a condensed weight, and rounded and monospaced variants.

Cooper and Brandon Grotesque

It may surprise you to find out that Cooper Black is only one weight of Oz Cooper’s self-titled work, Cooper, which also includes a light weight, and a medium weight for text. Today we pair the Cooper family with Hannes von Döhren’s Brandon Grotesque.

Cooper-and-Brandon-Grotesque-1 Cooper-and-Brandon-Grotesque-2Together, the historic influences and softened details of each serve as a solid enough area of cohesion, while the overall difference in tone allows Brandon to ably direct the reader’s path. Just one note on Cooper—consider spacing the type more loosely to perform better at smaller sizes. The below example is set without any added spacing.
Cooper-and-Brandon-Grotesque-4 Cooper-and-Brandon-Grotesque-5

Brandon Grotesque additionally comes in a text variant, Brandon Text, for setting body copy. Inverting our relationship, here’s Cooper in the role of display face, with Brandon Text’s refit lowercase ably handling the opposing task.

Great Pairs land here each week.