How can I manage this weird typographic palette?

Hello everybody,

I've been reading a lot about typefaces and how different kinds can be combined in order to create layers of meaning. Type foundries usually suggest pairings for their own fonts, most notably Hoefler & Frere Jones and Font Bureau. I am looking to create an unusual mix of moods for a personal branding project:

- Hearty, friendly
- Weird, quirky
- Contemplative, dramatic

You can think of this mix as the equivalent of a Wes Anderson, Sylvain Chomet, or even a Spike Jonze film. Sort of like what film critic Peter Rainer writes about Spike Jonze's film, Being John Malkovich:
“It is hard to mix moods -- the film is manic, subtle, comic and vaguely sad -- but [Jonze] does it masterfully.”

I looked at a lot of high-quality typefaces, one of which is H&FJ's Sentinel. I think it has that (hearty, friendly) edge to it alright, but I am looking to mix it up with other typefaces in order to give it those other layers I want to incorporate. Check out my attached file to see a sample letterhead for Sentinel. I feel that Sentinel is a good text font, but I am open to other suggestions. Whatever your other options are, I also want your thoughts on how I can keep it all consistent on printed as well as web platforms.

letterhead.jpg181.28 KB
Nick Shinn's picture

So far, this is the opposite of weird and quirky.
Turnip is a better choice than Sentinel, IMHO.
Check out the contrasts as it is used for Perka.

I think you have to go to such extremes to create contrast with a slab serif face, because they are so strong that the usual serif vs. sans method doesn’t work.

omfaonline's picture

Thank you for your reply Nick.
Perhaps Sentinel isn't weird/quirky on its own, but I was hoping to add a font or two to it in order to get the layers I want. I'm thinking of it like an x + y = z type of equation.
Although it sounds weird, I was thinking of using Century Schoolbook (or Grad) for the body text, Trade Gothic Bold Condensed for sub-headers, and (Futura Extra Bold??) as my main name font. Any thoughts on that?

kentlew's picture

Turnip is a better choice than Sentinel, IMHO.
Check out the contrasts as it is used for Perka.

Actually, I don’t think Perka is using any Turnip, Nick. That mostly looks like variations of Freight.

Freight Micro (as in the logotype) is easily confused with Turnip, especially in lower-res environments.

Nick Shinn's picture

Thanks Kent.

sanderpe's picture

Your descriptions makes me think of Emigre typefaces.

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