There’s more to type than Times New Roman and Helvetica. In the year ahead, designers will be spoiled with options.
A stylish font is at the center of every compelling design—but what’s stylish one year isn’t necessarily stylish the next. Trends come and go. With that in mind, what typefaces are going to be big in 2022?
Well, there’s no crystal ball for making that sort of prediction. (Although, wouldn’t it be great if there were?) To come up with this list, we combed search data, recent agency projects, and current type trends for insights.
Borsa serif display vector font via contributor Beyond Everything.
Fonts As a Reflection of the Times
Fonts are as much about our cultural, social, and even psychological leanings as they are about design. So, it’s no wonder that, as the pandemic continues to shape the world around us, type is feeling some side effects.
For example, retro styles, which offer comfort in uncertain times, still remain popular. But, next year they’ll have a generally cleaner, fuss-free mood, which makes type for branding and display feel at once both nostalgic and cutting-edge.
Scroll down to unpack the biggest font trends for 2022, which include:
1930s sans serifMixed widthFluid displaySimple serifFriendly groteskMincho serifReadable retroSuper chunky
1. 1930s Sans Serifs
These gentle, carved sans serifs don’t display quite the Gatsby decadence of Art Deco; instead, they take their cues from the later phase of the Jazz Age.
These calming sans serif fonts will make perfect companions for quiet, high-end branding or lifestyle products. Use in place of an elaborate serif style for the ultimate in understated luxury, and team with gentle, earthy color palettes.
Brand identity for soap brand CRUDO by Serena Studio.
Visual identity and logotype design for design studio The Nieuw, created in-house.
2. Mixed Width
The most novel of our 2022 font trends, mixed-width typographies have a simple, graphic appeal that makes them a bold and beautiful choice for a range of designs—packaging, book covers, etc.
Opt for a chunky sans serif style to maximize the font’s legibility, and choose high-contrast color palettes to make your messaging stand out.
Mixed-width fonts are naturally playful, so use them for projects that require a little more quirk.
Double vector font via contributor Alhovik.
Image by Art Grootfontein.
Flexible variable width typeface by Art Grootfontein.
3. Fluid Display
Fluid display fonts are romantic and ethereal—if it looks like your typeface has been dipped in water, you’re on the right track—making them a natural fit for informal designs, as well as fashion or lifestyle brands.
Combine with sepia-tinted photography and a seventies-infused color scheme to play up the relaxed nature of these beautiful typefaces.
Packaging design for Re Skincare by Ankita Goswami.
Regista Grande modern display font.
4. Simple Serif
To keep your serif fonts on trend in the year ahead, tread the middle ground between serif and sans serif, keeping the serifs themselves (the extra elements on the ends of letterforms) barely visible.
These simple serif fonts are extremely versatile and can fit in a wide range of projects—website designs, magazine layouts, etc.
The suggestion of a serif on an otherwise sans serif style will ensure your typography remains effortlessly elegant.
Larken serif typeface by Ellen Luff.
Varel luxury vector font via contributor Zea.lab.
5. Friendly Grotesk
Grotesk typefaces are sans serif fonts with a slight dose of quirk and humanism. The term “grotesk” stems from the German word meaning “from the grotto,” and it refers to the general reception of these type styles in the early 19th century.
Once thought to be primitive and, in some cases, downright ugly, today grotesks are some of the most widely-used and designer-appreciated typefaces.
If serif fonts aren’t going to cut the mustard for your minimalist projects this year, try a friendly grotesk out for size. Open and ultra-legible, these humanist sans serifs have an easygoing personality that makes designs feel more accessible and welcoming.
Look for grotesk styles with quirky characters, chunky weights, or low x-heights to up the friendly factor. These types of font are particularly suited to children’s branding or other designs which need to feel more enthusiastic than coolly elegant.
Zovas vector font via contributor Beyond Everything.
Attitude sans serif vector font via contributor Zea.lab.
6. Mincho Serif
Mincho serifs take their cues from old Japanese type styles, with high-contrast ligatures and a calligraphic look. The modern wave of mincho fonts are particularly understated, and while their Eastern origins aren’t overtly obvious, they have a calm and collected mood that feels distinctly Japanese in tone.
Mincho serifs are not only beautiful to look out, they’re also notably readable, making them excellent serifs for use on websites or signage. They also have an intellectual personality, making them a good fit for book design, or typesetting in general, where their subtle elegance is enhanced in simple black and white.
Self Modern mincho typeface created by Bretagne Bretagne type foundry.
Shippori Mincho by FONTDASU, available on Google Fonts.
7. Readable Retro
A heightened awareness of online accessibility issues has had a welcome effect on the type world. At one point, novelty fonts that were barely readable were considered de rigueur, but these illegible typefaces simply won’t cut it on sites that require greater ease for visually impaired users.
Enter the simplified and altogether more legible incarnation of some of these funkier font styles. Readable retro fonts preserve the essence of these throwback type styles, but get rid of unnecessary excess. Sleeker and chunkier, they blend vintage and modernity to strike just the right nostalgic note.
One of the most notable examples of readable retro type in action is &Walsh’s recent brand identity for vertical farming company Plenty.
The retro-infused typography helps the products to feel both approachable and delicious, with a serious dose of fun. Expect to see this identity trigger more readable retro typefaces in the months ahead.
Dubbo retro typeface.
Brand identity for salad retailer Plenty by &Walsh.
8. Super Chunky
In 2022, brands will continue looking for more ways to stand out in a sea of competitors. Bold and super-chunky type is eye-catching and memorable, and looks particularly effective set at large scale.
Use on packaging designs in place of graphics or illustrations, and team with strong, high-contrast color to maximize the impact.
For extra style points, use these chunky letterforms as individual graphics for backgrounds or icons. Jumble characters with jaunty style to bring more fun and individualism to type-based designs.
Packaging design for Brewis Beer by Tom Sutton and Luke Dryden.
Mega Bold vector font via contributor Mott Jordan.
Fight heavy vector font via contributor fontStocker.
Cover image via &Walsh.
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