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I'm far from knowledgeable about fonts, and I'm dealing with a real beast; Bookman Old Style Bold.

I've been looking for hours but I can't seem to find a sans-serif that balances well with it.

I have to use Bookman for the company name on a business card, but I can choose another font for all other text.

Could anyone help me with this please, what should I be looking for in a sans-serif font to pair it with Bookman?

Additionally, because it's for a business card it needs to be easy to read at small sizes (<9pt), so what do I need to look for in the font I choose regarding that as well?

Also, one of the reasons I chose to ask here is because I'm aware there are some typography experts from an older generation that use this site, and I'm hoping maybe one of them has already encountered this task, considering the age of Bookman.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think a nice sans-serif, thin line font would complement the bold, thick lettering that Bookman is giving. My suggestion is Avenir LT Std, or a Century Gothic:

enter image description here

The large x-height is in reference to legibility usually, but it also affords a bit more space with the kearning because of the shape of the letter forms.

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Thanks for your suggestion, I was also looking at thin fonts similar to this before I remembered they are generally a bad idea for the size I'm designing at. It would be OK if I was just writing in black text on a plain background but I'm writing in white with a drop shadow over a fairly noisy picture. With one of these it would be almost impossible to read. +1 for alternative though :) –  DumbNic Feb 21 at 22:54
yw. that info should go in the question too then. the more the community has, the better. ...on another note... an image/picture on a business card?? Might I suggest that you suggest a cleaner design for a card?? Also, avenir as a style has many many variants and the heavy is almost as thick as bookman. –  Phlume Feb 22 at 13:14
I included the part about small sizes in the question, but I think the noisy background is too much information and too localised. Better to keep it a teensy bit broad. –  DumbNic Feb 25 at 0:32

You're looking for a large x-height, open shapes, and a warm demeanor. To keep it simple and readily available I'd recommend one of these:

  • Frutiger
  • Myriad
  • Open Sans
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Quite happy with Source Sans Pro Semibold. Thanks for the advice. If you could expand a little bit on why the large x-height and open shapes, I'd be grateful and more than happy to accept. –  DumbNic Feb 21 at 10:09
Bookman has a very tall x-height so it helps to coordinate with that. Though it's shapes are strictly "open" it does have a sort of friendly, casual style to it. Openness in a sans builds on that. –  plainclothes Feb 21 at 19:22

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