Words do not only have to be sharper than any two-edged sword. Nowadays, they also need to have style. Aside from its content, a written word can be unique for its shape, form, and even color – all that typography brings to the table.
With that said, let’s take a quick look at the list of creative, current fonts that take the lead in 2021.
1) Serif Type Styles font trends
Serif can be described as a decorative line or stroke on a letter. Some research has revealed that serif fonts in print are considered easier to read than sans-serif fonts. For this reason, they are preferred within the body text of books, newspapers, and magazines.
Consequently, they are also linked to tradition and are seemingly more classy than other group of fonts. They are widely used by brands wanting to give the impression of luxury. Serif fonts portray the sophistication and reliability of a brand, which allows for the brand to express its authority in a visually effective manner. Often times, serif fonts are best suited for editorial, financial, and academic firms.
Old Style font trends
Sound familiar? Considering that it was developed by Renaissance typographers in the late 15th century, this font is one that is hard to miss. Old Style fonts look alike calligraphy’s pen and ink. They are seen as high-class letterforms that derive from traditional handwriting. It’s the best type of all the serif fonts for body texts on paper.
Examples of them include ‘Venetian’ family, which consists of Bembo, Centaur, Jensen, and Berkeley Oldstyle; or ‘Garalde’ group – Garamond, Goudy Oldstyle, Century Oldstyle, Palatino, and Sabon.
Transitional font trends
Another commonly known serif type font includes the famous Times New Roman. The ‘transitional’ name of this group of fonts come from the place where Old Style and Modern meets. Their historical origins date back to the Enlightenment era. Typically, transitional fonts‘ serifs are wide.
Neoclassical & Didone font trends
Neoclassical & Didone fonts arise from John Baskerville’s past inventions and later became a general-purpose printing style. They were named ‘Modern’ for the revolutionary role that they played.
The family of 50 serif typefaces ‘URW Bodoni’ was designed by Giambattista Bodoni in 1798 who was inspired by French type-founders, Pierre Simon Fournier and Firmin Didot.
As you can see below, Neoclassical & Didone font is characterized by the vertical axis, the utmost contrast between thick and thin strokes, hairline serifs, geometric construction, and narrower underlying structure with flat, unbracketed serifs.
Slab font trends
Slab fonts were a late variation of Modern. Chronologically, they came after Neoclassical and before Clarendon. Slab Serif was born in Britain, and somehow, its pseudonym is ‘The Egyptian’ (it’s Vincent Figgins’s fault actually). It was created along with the development of advertisement, and letterforms became bolder.
This font stands out from the crowd. It is creative and is characterized by super thick, slab-like, square-cut fonts, and blocky serifs (can be angled, blunt or rounded). Some examples of them include American Typewriter, Archer, Courier, and Rockwell.
Clarendon font trends
Clarendon typefaces were created in Fann Street Foundry in London in 1845. They arose from the Slab serif family which at that time, had already existed for 35 years. Due to their intense evolution, they became a new separate genre of fonts.
Clarendon was a way of making the Slab serif style work on smaller sizes, and it instantly became popular. It’s often used for posters printed on wooden material (like American Old West). They have less contrast than previous ‘Modern’ styles, and their shapes are more rounded. It’s classy, well-known and still fresh.
Glyphic font trends
They are recognizable by their sharp-pointed serifs, sometimes called ‘thorns’. Some Glyphic types show-up where a delicate, refined design touch and feminine energy is required. They are used in luxury and real estate brands. Some of their names include Albertus, Pompei, and Penumbra.
2) Sans Serif Type Styles font trends
This font trend is very classy and has been a highlight of the digital typography market since ever. ‘Sans’ is a French word for ‘without’, therefore , in this case, it refers to the lack of serifs. This group of fonts is destined to serve the web and screen since it was proved that these fonts are the easiest to read digitally.
In short, they emphasize readability and simplicity. So, whilst serifs win on paper, sans serif does score online. They’re used by LinkedIn, Calvin Klein, and The Guardian. They’re subdivided into following the families, and fortunately, many of them are available online for free.
Grotesque font trends
They are known for their idiosyncrasies, uneven weights and irregular curves (all error-like features). For this reason, fonts like News Gothic and Franklin Gothic are supposed to bring in some character to your piece of text.
Square font trends
These fonts are based on geometric shapes and closely mimics the shape of a square. Some examples are Futura, ITC Avant Garde, Gotham, and Montserrat. Short Xurkit Font is another fancy and free square font design that you can get for personal use. It can be used for posters, flyers or logos and are available for download online.
Humanistic font trends
Humanistic fonts look slightly calligraphic, with contrasted thick and thin strokes on letterforms. Examples of them include Gill Sans, Corbel, Adelle Sans, Freight Sans, Optima, and Whitney. As its name suggests, this style is organic, resembles the creation of a human’s hand, and evokes a sense of warmth.
The upper-case letters’ proportion to the rest is aesthetically similar to monumental Roman capital letters. Humanistic fonts make a viewer happy with its calming presence, hence why they work well for longer pieces of online texts. A contemporary example of this font type is Klaus KY which a great choice for editorials.
Geometric font trends
As opposed to Humanistic fonts, Geometric fonts can seem a little cold, but it all depends on how they are used. They are regular, their O’s are perfectly rounded and equidistant at all points. Nowadays, graphic designers love Geometric types, and you know what? They could not have made better choices!
Apart from them being available for download all over the internet, Geometric fonts just rock it! Their origin dates back to 1920, and they used to be referred to as the Bauhaus style. Their modern chic aesthetic is great for graphic designs and architecture ads. As an example, check out this Grey Cliff font below.
3) Script Type Styles font trends
Script type styles, just as their name suggests, are based on writing styles. They may be overwhelmingly official or pretty casual-looking. Think of the logos belonging to Cadillac, Instagram or Coca-Cola. They are kind of natural, kind of fun, and have an organic cursive style. However, they should be used wisely, since it is easy to make them hard to read.
Script type styles represent elegance, freedom, art, entertainment. They bring about a more personalized approach to designs that help evoke emotions in consumers.
Formal font trends
Wedding invitations, baby showers, formal events, we have all seen designs related to such occasions. Needless to say, Formal fonts are heavily used for these events as it elicits a more romantic or official style to the text. Significant examples of them include Edwardian, Dorchester, and Flamingo.
Casual font trends
Although Casual Scripts are also handwritten-like, they appear more digital than the rest. Casual styles intend to transmit a rustic or whimsical feeling to the text or overall design. They have this friendly, attractive appearance that brings out the modern business-social attitude. They are loose, playful, and personal. These fonts, unlike any other, helps bring you closer to the human side of the company.
Calligraphic font trends
Among Mistral, Mozart, and Vivaldi Script types, only Mendelssohn’s March is missing. It’s one of these moments when Script Type Formal font is not enough, and you just have to reach a higher degree of know-how. These types appear genuinely made with a calligraphy technique, and can be, again, hard to comprehend for a reader. However, when used well, they are considered to be highly appreciated and trendy.
Blackletter & Lombardic font trends
This font family is incredible because it goes way back in time. The Blackletter typeface was used in the Gutenberg Bible as melodramatic thin and thick strokes were the first to be printed in Europe. Other common styles include Gothic, Fraktur or Old English.
The Blackletter and Lombardic font trend is characterized by the elaborate swirls on the serifs. Some well-known types are Schwabache, Textura, and Rotunda. It became hard to read in some regions and was out-dated at a certain point, but it pretty much remained alive in Germany. This somewhat medieval-looking font is free to use and trendy among many modern brands. They diversely used by beer labels, rap singers, heavy metal bands, and even Disneyland.
4) Decorative font trends
Decorative fonts are special. Among many other purposes, they are used for poster writings, newspaper headings, graceful book covers, and graphic projects. Namely anything that has to be emphasized or presented in a unique manner, decorative font trends are there to help you out.
They convey creativity and uniqueness and are able to help a brand communicate its identity with greater specificity. They are appealing and tailored with care for short pieces of texts. They are ideal fonts to use for logos (think Toys R’ Us, Lego, and Fanta).
Grunge font trends
Grunge means urban or street-style-like, whichever way you wish to call it. It refers to this type of culture. Yet, despite this common understanding, grunge can also be just as pretty and dignified as an aristocratic old typewriter, a fountain pen, or a quill and ink. Either way, they can help sharpen the character of your design.
Psychedelic font trends
If you want your logo to be truly rare, consider using one of the psychedelic fonts. It doesn’t need to be explained at great length, but it can be said that they can be an amazing addition to your design. They’re aesthetically playful, which will give you many opportunities to get creative them.
Graffiti font trends
Whether to use graffiti type or not, remains a highly debatable topic between graphic designers in the creative industry. Despite the differing opinions of design experts on this matter, what’s most important is that brands choose a font that best fits their business. One that conveys its values and communicates precisely what they want to express to their clients.
If that font just so happens to be a Graffiti font type, then this could potentially to a very successful design. If you are a young, urban, or streetwear brand, you could consider using this font!
Overall, fonts are one of the most important elements that graphic designers must consider when designing a logo, packaging or any other kind of branding material for a business. As there are so many choices to choose from, selecting the right font can be a challenging task. However, once successful, it will help your business stand out like no other.
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.