It is not easy to find the right combination of fonts that are harmonising and have the right balance to each other. Sometimes your chosen headline font is too bold for the soft and fragile body text font, sometimes they are not matching in their character or the tones of a font are not working together. There are many reasons why combinations won’t work. Well, here are a few articles that might help you finding the right pairing.
Pimp My Type
Oliver Schöndorfer has started Pimp My Type not too long ago, but already built a good resource when it comes to useful and handy tipps and tricks for your work with fonts and typography. Next to the website, he has started a YouTube channel with short, entertaining and educating videos.
In this article and this video Oliver gives you three tipps to get your font pairing right.
This article Jeff Cardello also gives you a good number of tipps to find the right combination for your website. Next to writing about how to experiment with different weights and tones or playing with the contrast between fonts, he gives you visual examples as an inspiration.
Ruth Hamilton has written a long article about font pairing for the Creative Bloq with many examples for different use cases.
Frank has collected a good amount of examples for font combinations he likes. A good visual resource either.
In general I can only recommend to not necessarily stick with your first choice of fonts, but compare your choices side by side. Not only consider how they harmonise, but first of all, what you use them for! If you have you favourite pairing, then maybe put is aside and have a new and fresh look when you had a night of sleep. Also consider testing them on different devices and screens of different formats and resolutions – if you use them on a website and not in print. Whether you use a free font or one that you have to buy does not really matter. There are many high quality free fonts available these days. But if you decide to use a font you need to buy, then please DO BUY the font and don’t ask friends if they have a copy of that font!