Font Friday

Inria Sans & Serif (free font)

The typeface Irina Serif on a mobile phone in a headline and pull quote. The typeface Irina Sans in the body text, and the labels of a button and navigation.

Sans & Serif font family

by Black Foundry on Google Fonts

12 Styles

3 weights Light to Bold with matching italics
both for sans-serif and serif

License

Free

Best for

Specialty

Very cool arrows and lively uppercase letters with some swashes in a stylistic set.

My thoughts on Inria Sans & Inria Serif

I love a good type family, and Inria is one of them. A type family is a collection of fonts that cover more than one style. In Inria’s case it is sans-serif and serif. This makes it a practical choice for beginning but also experienced typographers, who are looking for a nice combination, but don’t want to spend too much time pairing fonts. Inria was designed by Black Foundry from Paris for – surprise – Inria, a French national institute dedicated to computer science and research in automation. And a slightly technical feeling it conveys.

The text set in both Inria Sans ans Inria Serif: Inria Sans-ery and Inria Serif-ery work together in perfect harmony.
… side by side on my piano … Best caption ever, right? Here you see how well Inria Sans and Serif can be combined. That’s the power of a type family, baby!

Inria Sans has a very clean and friendly look. It’s squarish and rather condensed design make it suitable for UI or mobile design when you have to fit more words on a tiny screen. Even in smaller sizes it remains it readability. The bold weight is pretty light which could be a bit too subtle for strong emphasis, as you can see in the sample text on top.

To get these beauties, activate Stylistic Set 1 in the OpenType features. They give your initials or heading a whole other atmosphere.

Inria Serif is more contrasting and beautiful for display text and running text as well. I adore the thin straight serifs that give you that fancy Didone feel, like it could be on the cover of Vouge, just more contemporary. I would not use this style for functional text though, it might be too delicate for small sizes.

Arrows hidden in the stylistic sets as well. Super useful for web design or buttons.

If I had one wish it would be that Inria Sans would come with a medium weight. This would be super handy for UI design in smaller sizes when bold is too much and regular too light. Overall I appreciate the stylistic alternates for most capital letters that add a nice swash to it.

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4 Comments

  1. Just because two typefaces share a name in front of their Sans or Serif, that is no promise they pair well, right? It takes some degree of thought, planning, and effort to make the pairing unnoticeable —except to trained eyes like Oliver, right?

    So thank you for giving me a note for my “design” book. Every little bit helps.

    1. Absolutely. It always depends on how and where you apply it. You obviously need a reason to mix typefaces, you should not just do it for fun.

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