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I am a UX designer and am in the process of visual design for a website for my company. I've been looking around for typefaces which convey adaptability, relevance, security, and innovation (but also some degree of nostalgia). These are all traits that the site's primary persona wants.

Here is what I'm trying to achieve in terms of typographic moods:

  • Slightly more formal than informal
  • Slightly more dramatic than light. It needs to be friendly but also convey that we aren't a cheap/low-cost brand.
  • More modern than traditional (but possibly hearkening back to the 1920s, which was a golden age for our industry)
  • More warm than cool
  • Not moodless or boring; needs to look creative
  • Slightly feminine (our primary persona is somewhat feminine, but our secondary persona is very masculine and needs to not be driven away by our type choices)

So a lot of searching showed me the Aviano typefaces, which seem to do the job. Following any link to a typeface on that page shows that the Aviano typefaces are recommended for pairing with one another. Unfortunately, these typefaces only have capital letters.

Since I'm in the usability business and promote web accessibility improvements as one of my services, I need to use, at least, body fonts that have both upper- and lowercase letters.

Keeping in mind the needs of my persona and the moods that I want to achieve, which fonts (with both upper- and lowercase letters) would you suggest pairing with the following display fonts as copy fonts?

  1. Aviano (regular)
  2. Aviano Sans
  3. Aviano Gothic
  4. Aviano Contrast
  5. Aviano Wedge
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    A lot of these adjectives can be applied to a design as a whole, but don't in and of themselves define any particular typeface. It's more about how you use the typefaces you go with. As it stands, asking what font pairs well with another is going to be mainly a matter of personal opinion and not really answerable in this format. – DA01 Jul 22 '14 at 6:36
  • Aviano is quite similar to the more well-known (and, massively over-used, especially in movie posters...) Trajan, so you could get ideas by searching on suggestions for fonts to pair with Trajan, e.g. this thread at Typophile – user56reinstatemonica8 Jul 22 '14 at 8:13
  • Also, I'd disagree with DA01 - I'd love it if the briefs I got were this open yet specific! Aviano seems like a good choice. – user56reinstatemonica8 Jul 22 '14 at 8:15
  • Comic Sans. It fits everything. – Scott Feb 26 '15 at 22:37
  • @Scott: -1 if I could. :-) – David Feb 27 '15 at 20:26
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There's a lot to address here, but I'll start by saying that usually type designs are created to address a specific technical need, and it may be easier for you to try to select a typeface based on definable needs rather than emotional tones or what a typeface “conveys” which will be different for everyone (just try showing your selections to a few peers and ask for a few adjectives, I doubt any of them will hit all of your moods exactly). From a usability standpoint, you should definitely put usability first over the mood of a typeface—therefore I would rule out Aviano Sans for body copy since it only has majuscules. It is also not acceptable to just have “at least, body fonts that have both upper- and lowercase letters,” since there are many other things to consider from a usability standpoint, like language support, legibility, load speed (using less fonts means faster page loads) and others, all of which should probably be considered over emotional tone.

One possible solution is to use Insigne's body copy face Savigny since typographers often pair typefaces from the same designer. In a cursory glance at Savigny, it seems to have a wide set-width that would match the Avianos with some other characteristics that would contrast well, like the high ascenders and generous spacing. It's also inspired by 1930's art deco (meaning modern) with calligraphic aspects (meaning warmth) and as a superfamily will have all the weights and widths you'll need to create varied layouts. It was also designed for the screen, which seems like your primary medium here. Additionally it has great language support and some bells and whistles like OpenType ligatures and oldstyle numerals.

At the very least, you could try pairing the regular weight (or condensed if the set-width is too wide for you) and seeing how it looks for body copy, or you could just ditch Aviano and use Savigny as a super family for everything on the site (it has titling faces as well).

In either case, you're likely to convey some of the moods you want without all the usability issues of using a display face like Aviano as your only typeface.

  • Great suggestion. I ultimately didn't use Aviano in this project, but I chose another font by the same designer (Steagal) for the body copy. After discussing with that designer, I paired Steagal with Century Schoolbook for longform blog articles and some headers. – David Feb 27 '15 at 20:28
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Try Windsor, it has a serious and royal look to it, as well as having some nice and fun serifs.

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    Windsor is great, but doesn't feel very modern, more traditional in the Frederic Goudy vein of type design. – yawnercreative Feb 26 '15 at 22:25
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I would recommend Optima. The slight flares give the font a slightly feminine look while it's mid-high contrast lines pair well against Aviano's thicker characters.

Optima Sample

  • Thanks for the contribution and welcome to GraphicDesign! Let us know if you have any questions – Zach Saucier Feb 27 '15 at 2:55

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