Fonts are not just letters. They say a lot about you or your brand and help convey certain messages and emotions. Whether you are designing your logo, a business card, a website or a birthday card fonts will help you achieve the look and feel you are going for. A great place to start? Looking at the latest font trends.
Like colors in the rainbow, there are so many options. Foundries, the design studios that specialize in fonts, are constantly crafting new ones. So, how do you choose the right fonts? And why is that important? These are all questions we will answer in the article below. Plus, we have gathered 10 font trends to try in 2020, to give you a taste of what designers are working on, and ideas on how to use them in your designs.
Why fonts are so important in design
Typography is the art of arranging type fonts to make written language readable and appealing to the eye by selecting fonts, its sizes, and the spacing between letters and lines of text.
Fonts are an integral part of a brand's visual identity, like building blocks. Choosing the right font for a design can make or break the message that you are trying to communicate.
Fonts build brand recognition
Using a unique but consistent set of fonts across all your communication materials sets you apart from other brands. In a market oversaturated with visual stimulation, you need to make sure people can recognize your brand immediately.
Fonts help organize information
By using different fonts and font sizes you can arrange a chunk of text so you establish what is a headline, subheadlines, a call-to-action, or the body copy of your content.
Fonts make reading content easier
Choosing a clean font and the appropriate spacing could make reading a dense text feel like a breeze. But you can also call attention to a piece of content with more impactful fonts.
Fonts basic terminology - Serif vs Sans serif
A serif is a decorative stroke at the end of a letter stem or “foot.” So, a serif font is a font that has serifs; a sans serif font doesn’t – “sans” means “without” in French.
As a rule of thumb, serif fonts have a more traditional and established look. Sans serif fonts say modern, approachable, and clean.
Serif fonts are historically perceived to be more readable. They are used in books, newspapers, magazines. The “Times” font is an example of serif, named after The Times newspaper in the UK. The first sans serif font was created in the early 19th century, as a modern approach to design. You can see san serif now in many websites, short text, like captions, credits, charts and graphs, because it's still readable in small sizes. “Helvetica,” and “Futura” are classic san serif fonts.
How to choose a font
Here’s a quick tip. First, ask yourself what is the personality of your brand, what are you trying to communicate? Are you a spa offering natural skin care products to an urban clientele? Or are you a snowboard designer? Your message is going to be quite different. The fonts in your logo and other communication materials should speak your brand.
Then, answer the question, what function does the font need to serve. Is it your logo, your website, a social post, an annual report… As a rule of thumb, use simple, readable fonts for long copy, but get creative with shorter text like logos and headlines. If you go with a combo of fonts, make sure they don't compete for attention.
10 font trends in 2020
This year anything goes. From vintage styles to minimalism and digital imprints. A rich crop of fonts straddle between the past and the future – some a fresh look at the past, others a sure bet on new tech.
Here’re the 10 font trends we have compiled to help you design your next project this year.
Let’s start with the sans serif fonts. Geometric sans serif fonts have been the go-to font on the internet for years. Clean, sleek and functional, they’re also a favorite among brands because they work across the board, from print to digital. The look is modern, contemporary, associated with tech companies and startups.
Here are some of Canva’s favorite geometric sans fonts applied to a Red Food State Fair Facebook Post annual report template and Theatre Actor Portfolio Website, so you can see how they look on paper and on screen.
Try pairing these fonts with a bold color palette background as seen in Canvas’ designs below.
03. New storytelling
Moving on to serif fonts, a leading trend this year is adding a fresh, human touch to these traditional, storied fonts. The fact is that they have been around for centuries, as the best storytellers in editorial platforms. They add a grounding and nostalgic vibe, and in this over digitalized age, more and more brands are adopting them for logos and websites, like Mailchimp did recently with “Cooper Light,” its primary font. It’s an elegant serif with a quirky warmth, that transmits optimism and sincerity.
Take a look at these fonts and how they work on these two customizable web templates, Dark Blue and Red Dynamic Software Solutions Website and Health and Fitness Business/Advertising Website.
04. Back to the 50s
The European mid-century font design movement informally known as Swiss style (referring to the International Typographic Style) is making a comeback, due to its readability and simplicity, so adept to the digital screen. Even if back then it was only used in print pieces like pamphlets, posters or collateral, it has proven to be perfect in modern grid-based design like the one used in websites.
See how to apply this type of font to social posts, using these two templates for Instagram Stories, Black and White Spring Sale Instagram Story and Black and White Photo Travel Influencer Digital Brutalism Instagram Story Set and fonts Horizon and Roboto Mono Regular.
By eliminating pieces of type, the results can be quite shocking and meaningful, demanding the viewer to pay attention and connect the dots – quite literally. This bespoke font would be especially appropriate to use in logos, that will look airy but will still deliver a visual punch.
An evolution of the handwritten scripts that have been so popular in the last years, this trend is gaining traction in “crafty” industries like breweries, bakeries and farms. They are often used in logos, complementing an illustration in the same rustic vein.
Somehow inspired by the serenity of nature, these fonts use serif touches in subtle ways, yielding brand logos that communicate sophistication. They are an exercise in restraint as opposed to boulder, louder fonts.
The classical trend has made it into our business cards designs below, with fonts Playfair Display and Volkorn and templates Gray and White Restaurant Elegant Business Card and Light Brown Furniture Interior Design Business Card.
This retro trend is anchored in the funky and exuberant type design of the 70s and 80s, influenced by design luminaries Edward Rondthaler, Aaron Burns, Herb Lubalin and Milton Glaser. It’s a hit among younger generations and young brands like Chobani yogurt or cookware Great Jones.
Go “groovy” with fonts Coustard and Hatton Blackl as part of Instagram Story templates Blue Father's Day Story and Blue and White Digitalism Fashion Photo Instagram Story.
Starting to be seen in landing pages and apps, these moving type experiments are extremely eye-catching – the type font response to the dynamism of video content.
Inspired by video game lettering and design, pixel art fonts are landing in logos, posters and packaging design, evoking a sense of fun and freedom.
We hope this article got your creative juices flowing. Here’re a couple of Canva tools to let you play and experiment with fonts. To mix and match fonts, try out the font combinations generator with over one hundred fonts. Or try our Canva's free logo maker, that can generate a designer-made logo for you in seconds.