Has 2020 got you asking ‘What the font?!’ Don’t worry – we’re here to get you up to speed on this year's top font trends!
An industry known for its fluidity, design is a constant ebb and flow of styles and trends which are always evolving to fit the world around them. And fonts are no exception!
Any designer knows that choosing the right font can be crucial in communicating a message beyond just words on a screen or page. By wrapping up those words in the right lil’ package, you can convey an entirely different message, style or vibe – so, it’s important to keep on top of all the latest font trends to keep that messaging on point!
So, what fonts are trending this year? We consulted our Envato experts to see what font trends they’ve noticed popping up in 2020, as well as their predictions for what’s to come…
If you’re a 60’s or 70’s baby at heart, you’ll be happy to know that retro is still alive and well. Since making a comeback in late 2019, we’ve spotted more and more retro fonts and designs popping up, exhibiting iconic neon characters, bold typefaces and tight kerning that defined the decade’s style.
"Retro 60's and 70's fonts are growing in popularity this year. First seen in 2019, they elicit a nostalgic mood and pair really well with warm golden tones and floral prints," says Kate McInnes, Envato’s Content Specialist for Graphics.
On the flip side of the retro coin, we’ve also noticed 80’s, Glitch and Cyberpunk fonts resurfacing.
While always destined to make a comeback, this trend first returned with the creation of the Stranger Things type, a font clearly inspired by 80's pop culture.
Now, we're seeing the aesthetic of the great-y 80's popping up everywhere – particularly in projects like movie posters, live music flyers, TV Shows and event announcements.
When it comes to typography, some of the best ideas come from venturing outside the lines!
While frequently seen in fashion and editorial, outline fonts have been transitioning into the mainstream design space for a while now with their bold nature and open composition.
Alternatively, many type designers are also experimenting with fonts using negative space, creating letterforms using images and bold expansive shapes, resulting in an effect that is both airy and bold.
Envato's Senior Designer Sophie Dunn says, "Outline fonts are the quiet achievers!" She explains, "They’re modest and elegant in the way they hold their space, and ideal for making a statement that doesn’t shout from the rooftops. It’s the perfect pairing of confidence and class."
Evoking the weird, wacky and wonderful, experimental fonts have absolutely exploded in 2020. A trend all about pushing design boundaries to their limits, many designers have been tapping into more creative typography and experimental techniques to evoke an edgy and rebellious tone.
"I’ve been noticing a big rise of experimental typefaces appearing recently, particularly distorted, stretched, wavy or crooked fonts that push the boundaries of the traditional typography grid," says Envato Designer Taylor Conacher.
In 2019, we saw design stripped down to its most essential elements, resulting in a rise in more minimalist fonts such as the Tundra typeface. With minimalism still dominating both print and digital design this year – we think this trend is here to stay!
The modest, unassuming cousin of bold typography, simple sans serif fonts and minimalist typefaces are still proving to be huge design trend in 2020. Despite their simple, stripped-back nature, minimalist fonts actually have a strengthening effect by giving each letter plenty of breathing room to magnify your message.
Clean, simple and incredibly easy to work with, minimalist fonts are arguably the most powerful typeface when executed well.
"Minimalist fonts are built for longevity, which is why they’ve stood the test of time – and trends," says Sophie. "Purposefully designed for form and function (most prominently in the Bauhaus years), minimalist fonts continue to be best at communicating practicality, simplicity and quality."
Keep it simple with more minimalist fonts like Axon | Minimalist Sans Serif Family by sameehmedia, Connect - Font For Logos by arbuzu, and Hurst Sans Serif Font Family Pack by creativetacos.
From books, to music, to memes, to TV shows – there’s no denying that pop culture has always had a massive effect on our lives. So, it’s no surprise that it’s also had an effect on design trends too!
In the intersecting worlds of marketing and design, fonts can play a huge role in how we perceive a product or brand. In fact, studies around ‘font psychology’ have found that the style and characteristics commonly associated with different font types can greatly affect our perception of certain movies and TV shows.
"If you want to pull at the heartstrings – pop culture fonts are where it’s at! A little nostalgia can go a long way in evoking a feeling, memory or state of mind," says Sophie. "While they’re not an everyday go-to, use them in the right places to make for a super-fun and familiar experience."
From the classic and timeless Titanic typeface, to the kitschy American Idol typeface representative of the early 2000s, to the iconic Stranger Things font that captivated the internet in 2017, there’s no denying that pop-culture has always had a huge influence on font and design trends. In fact, this year Netflix have even released their very own custom Netflix font!
Going hand-in-hand (pun intended) with the resurgence of digital illustration are hand-written fonts. With artistic, crafty content trending right now, we’ve noticed a rise in unique and rustic hand-lettered fonts as more designers dabble in this increasingly creative, illustrative style.
A modern take on more feminine, schoolhouse typefaces and traditional cursive scripts, the development of hand-lettered fonts have seen more bold, rustic, and edgy hand-lettered styles flooding the scene.
"I’ve seen so many brands introduce this font treatment into their toolkits as a way of connecting more closely to hand-made, local and community," says Sophie. "Pairing a classic serif or minimalistic sans-serif font with a more delicate, hand-written one is a really simple way of humanising your design to be more accessible and relatable."
The super innovative SVG fonts trend has hit with full force, shaking up the status quo of traditional font formats. OpenType SVG Fonts – standing for Scalable Vector Graphics – format allows the characters to be displayed in multiple colors, different transparencies, and some may even be animated!
Also known as color fonts, SVG Fonts are particularly useful for designing brush-inspired fonts.
"SVG fonts are perfectly suited for editorial design, signage, and even logos," says Tuts+ contributor Laura Keung. "Querins SVG Brush Font by MaulanaCreative is created from an authentic brush, giving it that hand-crafted feel."