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typography

Mastering Font Pairing: A Case Study with SFT Schrifted Serif and Sans

This article explores the development of SFT Schrifted Serif alongside the existing SFT Schrifted Sans, expanding the typeface family while exemplifying core principles of effective font pairing.
BY YULIA GONINA
June 20, 2024 ∙ 7 min. read
SFT Schrifted Serif and SFT Schrifted Sans font pair
From Sans to Serif: Expanding the SFT Schrifted Font Family
SFT Schrifted Sans was a hit among users and performed well in the market, so expanding the Schrifted family further seemed like a good idea. The most logical and beneficial next step was to create an Antiqua font pair.

Drawing inspiration from the same source as SFT Schrifted Sans, I set out to create SFT Schrifted Serif, once again influenced by the unique visual environment of Stockholm. At that time, I returned to the city, where I had the opportunity to live for nine months — just the right amount of time to design a new typeface.
The Essentials of Effective Font Pairing
Whether you’re creating a new typeface or choosing from existing ones, understanding the core principles of font pairing is crucial. Combining fonts effectively is a puzzle that even experienced designers can find challenging.

Let’s explore these principles through the lens of developing a font pair—it’s a unique opportunity to delve into these concepts from the inside out and truly grasp their essence.
1. Matching Letter Constructions
When pairing Serif and Sans fonts, using the similar character skeletons is key. The skeleton refers to the basic structure upon which each letter is built. By keeping them consistent, the fonts naturally create a visual link.
Letters skeleton of SFT Schrifted Sans and SFT Schrifted Serif

The constructions of key characters in SFT Schrifted Serif and Sans are identical or similar.

Additionally, maintaining comparable proportions across both fonts is important. This includes ensuring that straight, round, and triangular characters have matching widths. These proportional similarities help to unify the fonts without needing to replicate every detail precisely.
Matching proportions of SFT Schrifted Serif and SFT Schrifted Sans

Similar proportions of characters in SFT Schrifted Serif and Sans.

Guided by these principles, I crafted SFT Schrifted Serif using the characters from SFT Schrifted Sans as a foundation. While not every construction is identical, the core structures resonate with each other, ensuring a harmonious visual relationship between the two fonts.
2. Aligned Font Concepts
Fonts harmonize best when they share a common conceptual foundation. This means their designs are inspired by similar ideas, creating a natural visual and thematic connection. In our case, both SFT Schrifted Sans and Serif find inspiration in Stockholm.

SFT Schrifted Sans reflects the city’s modernity — its rationality, modular design, and business-oriented atmosphere. It’s like the sleek architecture and efficient urban planning that define Stockholm’s contemporary look.

This makes it particularly well-suited for projects requiring a clean and professional aesthetic, such as corporate branding, digital interfaces, and editorial designs where clarity and readability are paramount.
Modern architecture of Stockholm. An inspiration for SFT Schrifted Sans

These photos capture the essence of Stockholm, the inspiration behind SFT Schrifted Sans: simple, geometric, and functional, yet stylish.

On the other hand, SFT Schrifted Serif draws from the city’s history and charm, mirroring the elegance and historic allure of Stockholm’s old town and Södermalm district.

This makes it an excellent choice for projects that require a touch of sophistication and tradition, such as editorial design, book covers or luxury branding.
Historical architecture of Stockholm. An inspiration for SFT Schrifted Serif

Exploring Stockholm’s romantic side inspired the creation of SFT Schrifted Serif.

Historical architecture, arches, intricate details, Art Nouveau, and Baroque elements abound. But still, these features overlay the same rational geometric foundation.

Together, these fonts not only complement each other visually but also resonate with the cultural and aesthetic essence of Stockholm.

When used together, SFT Schrifted Serif and Sans create a perfect balance of elegance and functionality. This combination is ideal for projects that require a clear hierarchy and visual interest.

For instance, you can use SFT Schrifted Serif to catch attention with sophisticated headlines, while SFT Schrifted Sans provides clean and readable information. It’s useful for creating elegant invitations and programs for events, designing upscale restaurant menus with clear sections, developing stylish newsletters, and crafting refined advertising materials where both aesthetic appeal and readability are crucial.
SFT Schrifted Serif in headlines and SFT Schrifted Sans in texts font pair.

SFT Schrifted Serif Display and Text in the headline, SFT Schrifted Sans in the captions.

You can also reverse the roles, using SFT Schrifted Sans for headlines and SFT Schrifted Serif for body text to achieve a different effect. For instance, you can use SFT Schrifted Sans for bold and clear headlines, while SFT Schrifted Serif adds elegance and readability to the body text.

This combination is ideal for creating professional reports and whitepapers, designing clean and modern blogs, crafting readable and stylish annual reports, or producing clear instructional manuals. This approach ensures that your headings stand out with clarity while maintaining an elegant and readable text layout.
SFT Schrifted Sans in headlines and SFT Schrifted Serif in texts font pair.

SFT Schrifted Sans and in the headline, SFT Schrifted Serif Text in the captions.

3. Contrasting Styles for Visual Impact
When combining fonts, it’s important to find visual contrast. One effective method is by adding serifs to a sans-serif font, which many designers use to good effect. However, you can achieve even more interesting results by exploring deeper stylistic contrasts.

In our case, SFT Schrifted Serif introduces graceful curves and historic charm, while SFT Schrifted Sans offers straightforward functionality. This contrast mirrors Stockholm’s architecture, where historic buildings stand alongside modern structures.
Combination of modern and historical architecture of Stockholm as an inspiration for SFT Schrifted Serif and SFT Schrifted Sans font pair.

Just like the contrast between modern geometric architecture and historic buildings in Stockholm, the SFT Schrifted Sans and Serif font pair captures the blend of contemporary and classical design elements.

It’s like the blend of Sweden’s rugged stone landscapes with the delicate beauty of its forests — bushes, birches, berries, and mushrooms. Together, they create a harmonious yet visually distinct duo.
Swedish nature as an inspiration for SFT Schrifted Serif and SFT Schrifted Sans font pair.

Mirroring the contrast between the rocky landscapes and the lush vegetation growing on them, the SFT Schrifted Sans and Serif font pair combines robustness with liveliness.

By keeping these ideas in mind, you can confidently pair fonts to create designs that are both visually appealing and effective.

These are just a few key principles for successful font pairing. There are many more to explore, and we’ll cover them in future articles. Stay tuned and subscribe to our updates to continue learning about creating harmonious and effective typography.
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