It’s back to the future with Futura and the well time-travelled question of what other typefaces go with it! As with any typeface with a lot of personality like Futura, you have to choose what to pair it with carefully. No matter what typeface you are trying to match, you have to repeat that golden rule to yourself. So let’s get right to it. I’ll toss out some suggestions and a few words about each font. As usual, we are going to stick with the most popular classic typefaces and not venture off into the world of random free fonts.
5 Fonts that look great with Futura
I created five custom-tailored samples for our discussion. Now, let’s dive in:
With Futura and Bodoni, we have an interesting play between the authoritative Bodoni and the optimistic Futura. There is nice contrast of x-height and glyph widths. This is a great example of how contrast works well here.
2. New Baskerville
With Futura and New Baskerville, I think we have an interesting mixture. New Baskerville is wider and more “friendly” than a typeface like Times New Roman, and this warmth, I think, plays to the optimism of Futura. It’s like Futura can bark out a command, and New Baskerville steps in to explain the command. I think this looks great.
Ok, we are going out on a bit of an over-contrast limb here with Futura and Rockwell. Yet, it works. One of the things about creating interesting font combinations is how you can stumble on something that works, that shouldn’t work, but your eyes aren’t lying. There are no set rules, just some principles to help guide you in the right direction. The idea of contrast is strong here. A bold sans-serif with a slab-serif. By all accounts it should not work. If Rockwell was bigger compared to Futura in this example, it probably wouldn’t work. We at least have a clear typographic hierarchy, and I think it works.
With Futura and Sabon, we have a totally respectable combination that is ready to do a lot of heavy lifting with no controversy. The combination works because it’s bold, classy, and functional. I really like how, for instance, the lower-case “a” in Sabon plays off the even and parallel x-heights of Futura in the example above. The combination is ready to go.
There is no reason these two typefaces, from two different time periods, created for different purposes by very different people (I’m not going into the history of any of these typefaces as you may have noticed), but yet, they do. The slightly goofy smile of Souvenir plays into the bold optimism of Futura in a way that lightens the mood of Futura. Souvenir is a strange typeface. It was hugely popular 30-40 years ago and was a poster child for typeface overuse. In some ways, it’s the original “Comic Sans”. It’s history aside (go look it up, it’s kind of cool), it is given a new lease on life when associated with Futura. It’s almost like Abbot and Costello: the loud funny man paired with the straight thin man, all for a laugh.
Yo, Font-Addict! Make sure to check out The Big Book of Font Combinations. Go grab a copy from Amazon or B&N and stare at all 350+ examples of informative font combinations for web and print. You know you want to!
So there you have 5 cool fonts that go with Futura , and some rationalization about why they work. You may disagree. Why? Remember, you can rationalize anything if you want to. Just be ready to defend your choices with your client or team, and have your own examples on hand showing your choices in their best light.