How to Pair Serif & Sans-Serif Fonts

Written by laura leiva
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How to Pair Serif & Sans-Serif Fonts
Fonts are usually serif or sans serif. (the letter v image by feisty from

When doing any type of creative project that includes applying typefaces, special attention to typeface-detail can help your work stand out not only artistically, but also cohesively. When looking at typefaces, or fonts, you can generally tell which ones are serif and which are sans serif. Sans serif fonts do not have the tails on their letters that serif fonts do; hence the term 'sans' which means 'without' in French. Its has become commonplace to pair the well-known serif font Georgia with the popular sans serif font Verdana to create a readable but eye-catching document.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Identify some serif and sans serif fonts that are similar in size and structure, such as Stella for sans serif and Minion for serif, and make pairs of the fonts that complement each other.

  2. 2

    Keep serif fonts as the main typeface when creating your document, since their distinctive lettering makes them easier to read than sans serif fonts. And, as suggested by, use sans serif fonts for headings. An example of this styling choice would be to use Braggadocio for the heading, and Goudy Old Style for the body of work.

  3. 3

    Approach the work creatively to keep the viewer's eye interested. Use fonts with different widths or variations in a single document. For example, pairing the serif font Clarendon with sans serif Monotype Grotesque offers two distinct fonts that still complement each other.

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