family that contains both Serif and Sans Serif

Can anyone out there suggest a font family that contains a serif AND sans serif.

A good example would be The Cholla family

or Sackers,

or Expert,


Ideally I'm after a condensed font.

Suggestions appreciated!


Thesis (TheSerif, TheSans, TheMix)
Rotis (Sans, Semi, Serif)

Officina (somewhat condensed)

Although not condensed,

FontShop's newsletter on Serif and Sans Families.

Quadraat (serif, sans serif and condensed sans)
both by Fred Smeijers

Productus and Proforma. Hmm. Does this count?

Although not 'official' mates, Gerard Unger's Swift (2.0) and Argo work well together ... naturally.

I would like to suggest Michael Harvey's Ellington and Strayhorn. They are designed to complement each other as typefaces, the way the jazzmen did in their actual lives. They've always been favorites of mine.

- Mike Yanega

One of my favorites is Emigre's Base 9 and Base 12, two large families, with sans and serif. Includes condensed. I've used Base 9 and 12 together to set a whole magazine; it took a delicate touch with type size, leading and letterspacing, but it worked well in the end.


Apex New and Apex Serif by Chester, available exclusively from Village:

Gerard Unger’s Swift (2.0) and Argo work well together

His slab serif Oranda might also be used together with Argo. (Am I the only one who likes it?)


Veer / G-Type

Nick Cooke

The Original serif/sans companions: Clearface + Clearface Gothic by MFB.

- Lex

We have compiled a page of these so-called "super families":
(this page is part of a frameset...)

I see there are a few more to add from this thread ;-)


Jacob, That's a great List. I can think of a few more: ITC Humana, DTL Haarlemmer, DTL Documenta and maybe Storm's Baskerville/John Sans.

- Mike Yanega

Again not "official," again not condensed: (Gill Sans) and (Joanna or Perpetua).

C'mon Maurice the question was about font families. The only thing in common with the three you list is that they're all by the same designer.

There are more of these hybrid superfamilies out there now than ever used to be. Stone and Lucida were both early attempts at this and are probably listed at Jacob's site. If Ali would like to see an elegant TITLING variant on this idea, there is also Lance Hidy's Penumbra MM.

We have updated our page of "super families".

Keep 'em coming! ;-)


absara and absara sans


Look at Gill next to (especially) Joanna and tell me they don't look like the serif and sans of the same family. The resemblance is maybe most pronouced in the italic faces, but it's all over the place.

Martin Majoor, the man behind Scala, Seria, and Nexus, pointed precisely this resemblance out in his essay "My Type Design Philosophy." Have a go yourself; you don't have to take my word for it, but maybe you'll take his.

Besides, Nick (above) broke the ice.

Edit: That's Nick Giusto, I mean.

Maurice I'm not going to argue with you. Believe what you want to.

Good work Jacob. I received a current Fontshop catalogue this week and that list of hybrids just keeps growing... Did anyone here mention Charlotte? I notice the foundry has taken to calling them 'clans' – seems that 'family' just wasn't big enough.

I agree with Maurice! Just because two (or more) typefaces were not marketed as belonging to the same family, doesn't mean that they can't be paired or that they, in fact, weren't thought out as serif/sans counterparts.

That said, I think that several typefaces by Adrian Frutiger follow the same structure/skeleton, and so they can easily be paired and could even be part of the same family. Example Univers and Glypha.

The same is true for some Hermann Zapf's typefaces: Optima and Palatino.

But, hey Ben, don't get upset. Here are two examples of super duper type families:
Corporate (A, S, E), and Compatil (Exquisit, Fact, Letter, Text).

(BTW, would you have paired the Compatil typefaces, had they been marketed separately? ;^)

Hey Miguel why would I be upset? I've never said that one couldn't pair (two or more) typefaces that were not marketed as belonging to the same family. Indeed, I've paired Gill Sans and Perpetua together in book design myself... had they been designed as a related family, you might have less idea about which of the two I used as a text face, but I think you can guess.

As you'll know, the design motive is to pair them for their structural differences. I think Bringhurst says something about it, but you can see it in practice all around.

In point of fact, what Majoor says is supposition. Had Eric Gill planned Joanna and Gill Sans as one family he would have been the first in history to design a family of serif and sans, but he made them as separate designs with separate names. And, I might add, at separate times for separate reasons.

Reading the Essay on Typography (which is set in Joanna but details the design of Gill Sans) gives one an idea of what Gill would have said about the very idea of a hybrid typeface, and it wouldn't have been complimentary. Gill Sans and Joanna had very different origins; one in signage and the other as a text face. One was an external commission and the other a self-initiated project. Some similarities arise because the same man designed them, but it is ridiculous to claim that they were conceived as sans/serif counterparts of the same type family.

Random Thoughts:

Perpetua had its birth, of sorts, in the signage Gill did for a facia. I'd argue that Perpetua Titling was born before Perpetua proper.

Perpetua might have been used as a text face, it might still be, but it wasn't and still isn't a workhorse textface, it is more of a show pony.

Both Gill Sans and Perpetua have their roots in the stone carving of Eric Gill. Which is, more or less, display type.

Enigma and Shaker by Jeremy Tankard.

Nick Cooke

KofiPure from

That one's kind of nice and quirky, although I'm not sure about the comma accent in place of the cedilla.

- Lex