Inspirations ~ Typography Trends for 2016 (or, the Curmudgeon’s Report)

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  • January 29, 2016
typography

What’s hot in typography for 2016? Well, it depends who you ask.

The widely circulated Creative Bloq predictions by Monotype’s Ryan Arruda explore “three select dimensions of typography from 2015 to reflect upon, facets that may inform design trends in the year to come,” including:

Will 2016 be the year of the serif comeback?
Arruda makes an excellent point that, as our digital devices and displays continue to improve, they can “increasingly handle the often more delicate, refined nuances of serif typefaces and smaller sizes…nuances that give serif designs their distinct personalities.” Many font-o-philes may have longed for a hearkening back to this print-worthy classic, while trudging through recent years of sans-serif domination and popularity.

2016 Fonts Serif2016 Fonts Serif2016 Fonts Serif2016 Fonts Serif2016 Fonts Serif2016 Fonts Serif2016 Fonts Serif

Continued thirst for custom type
Is increased social awareness of well-executed type, including typographic stories in mainstream news, prominent brands unveiling custom typefaces, and the presence of type in daily life—on digital devices from watches to coffee makers—making type awareness part of today’s wider zeitgeist? Will design clients understand, demand, and appreciate more about the typefaces we use? Before you answer, consider these pop-culture worthy BuzzFeed typographic quizzes Arruda cites for your entertainment (“from the mildly academic to absurd”).

Apple San Francisco Font

First-time typographers proliferate
With the caveat that “software does not a type designer make…Prototypo, Adobe’s Project Faces, and FontArk now put the promise of custom type more readily in the hand of designers.” While most designers have a huge amount of respect for the art of professional typography, ease of making those little tweaks a client may demand for just a touch more personalization on a project might be nice. If we’re willing to add yet another program or two to our toolbox, that is. Let’s be honest, though: who hasn’t always dreamed of trying to create at least one really beautiful, successful font completely from scratch?

 


 

 

On the other hand
Design Shack profiles three typography trends already hovering on the border of overuse. The type trio in question shows no signs of slowing in the 2016 year ahead—do you agree that these are omnipresent styles designers already hate to love (but can’t help themselves from loving just the same)?  Consider this from the devil’s advocate: would you reject Helvetica on the basis of popularity?

Retro grunge
These one-off custom fonts usually require a purchase, and play into the vintage-hipster-handmade, elaborate-but-uncomplicated moment going on. It’s purported that the key is moderation (doesn’t that sound like just the perfect New Year’s resolution in any case?) and realizing the hand-lettered chalkboard feel is already everywhere, and you’re going to be a part of it.

2016 Fonts Custom2016 Fonts Custom2016 Fonts Custom2016 Fonts Custom2016 Fonts Custom

Watercolor
Speaking of everywhere…this softer trend has been embraced hand-in-hand with the larger handcrafted craze. Clients want their projects to feel special, and watercolor typography that looks hand-painted is just the ticket in, ironically, lots of cases. Gender-neutral thick strokes or reverse use of a watercolor background paired with a solid typeface are a predicted twist on this trend for the year to come.

2016 Fonts Watercolor

2016 Fonts Watercolor

2016 Fonts Watercolor

2016 Fonts Watercolor

2016 Fonts Watercolor

2016 Fonts Watercolor

Uppercase
If used sparingly, can all-caps typography in fact be enticing? Design Shack calls out navigation elements and display typography as two worthy examples, and also brings attention to the versatility of lettering styles that can be used successfully in this format (wide, thin, and condensed, to name a few). And, for impact, “all caps can pair particularly well—as is the trend—with hero-sized imagery to create an engaging dominant visual.”

2016 Fonts Uppercase

2016 Fonts Uppercase

2016 Fonts Uppercase

2016 Fonts Uppercase2016 Fonts Uppercase

2016 Fonts Uppercase

What to you hope and fear will happen with typography, and how it will influence your own design practice, over the next year?

A certain Design Corps member and beloved typographic curmudgeon has been known to say, “If you have more than 10 fonts in your library, it’s a sign…I don’t know of what, but it’s a sign of something.” It’s apparent this means it’s a sign of something bad. “How many do you need? How many do you use?” A valid point. So, I need to tack another New Year’s resolution onto my list and trim down (my personal current tally may or may not hold a couple of trailing zeroes on that number). Who else is guilty? Conveniently, Typewolf offers awesome lists of favorites…presented in groups of (you guessed it!) 10.

(For visuals: Examples in this post gathered from two of my personal favorite font shops, MyFonts and Hype for Type.)

~

Kristin Carlson
Owner/Designer, Think All Day