Mixing fonts: Waiter! I Want A Font-Cocktail!


Mixing fonts

Ever wondered if it is good “Mixing fonts”?

Ghee that was quite an interesting discussion yesterday. Enjoyed it very much.

To answer one of the questions straight ahead:
Yes you can mix fonts.
Actually you somehow want to mix fonts.

Guess everybody knows by now that we need different fonts to get our message out. The right font is part of the message and helps us to communicate with our readers.

We want our text to be interesting. Everybody knows these days that content counts!

The right font is part of that content.

You have seen that I have bolded the words “content counts”. One method to highlight important statements. You can also set words italic, or bolditalic, or work with colors, which is self-explanatory.

To do that properly your font needs different weights. Some fonts have just 3 or 4 weights: regular which is also called roman or book, bold which can be medium, semibold or demi, italic, which is also know as oblique, and bolditalic.

There are other fonts, which have many more weights.

By using the different weights you are mixing in between the font family.

We have also heard about font clans, remember Lucida Handwriting, a lovely member of the font-clan of the Lucidas. Could be a good idea to mix inbetween the clan.

One rule for successful font mixing is:

Create obvious font differences!
Keep it harmonic!

So when the members of the font clan are too similar, that you can mistake them:

Usually you are going to mix a serif font with a san-serif font.

Don’t mix script fonts with italic fonts. Both are slanted but they might not slant in the same way.


I have prepared some examples of font mixing. As text I have used the well know dummy text “Lore Ipsum”. Just have a look at the examples and decide for yourself

I have used a big headline and a smaller one. And I have also set up a marginal part.

You can use that e.g. for pictures or special tip.


First example is set in Times, just plain Times.


Headlines and Marginal Times

Bodytext Helvetica with tagging “bold” and “italic


Headline Garamond

Bodytext Frutiger

Marginal Amoeba

Hardcore Mixing Fonts
Hardcore Mixing Fonts


Headline eurostile

Bodytext kabel

Marginal agent orange


Headline Gabriel Extended

Bodytext GillSans

Marginal Gabriel Condensed

If you go more into font history, it is also a good idea to mix fonts of the same time.

  • Never mix more than three different fonts.
  • Never mix different Blackletters.
  • Never mix Mediaeval with Didone.
  • Never mix English script with Garalde.
  • Never mix Didone with Transitional.
  • Never mix different Didone font

Nice mixtures

  • Caslon/Frutiger
  • Concorde/Univers
  • Minion/Syntax
  • Frutiger/Times
  • Bodoni/KünstlerScript
  • Centennial/Egyptienne/Univers
  • Futura/Galliard
  • Futura/Walbaum
  • Futura/Caecillia
  • Futura/Claredon
  • ITC Stone Serif/ ITC Stone Sans/ ITC Stone Informal
  • Thesis: TheSerif/TheMisx/TheSans