Typography Trends 2020

Jodie Hansen

As 2020 is slowly coming to end, it’s hard not to notice the wide array of typogrpahy trends that have been circling around us this past year. Some designers are embracing technology with innovative fonts, while others are digging into the past to resurrect fonts from our memories.This interplay between the past and future gives us plenty of contrast and so many intriguing options at our fingertips!

We are reading less and scanning more in the visual world around us as we are surrounded by an endless stream of images and text in many different mediums. Legibility rules are being stretched surprisingly far as we’ve become more visually adept. At the same time, we as designers, need to always be concientious of how our designs affect those with impairments. A significant part of the population has accessibility issues while viewing our content and messages.


1. Animation

This has revolutionised the type game, affecting brands and design, especially in the social platform that exists all around us. Moving, spinning and disappearing type expands what is possible in our expression and creativity. The alphabet is no longer just a two-dimensional concept. When animating text, it’s important to also consider how and where users will be reading the information (some animated elements such as video don’t work well on all mobile devices yet).


2. Colour Fonts or SVG Fonts

Colour fonts are almost exactly what they sound like. Typefaces that include multiple colours, shades or gradients, textures or transparency. These funky options are not just adding colour to lettering, they are specific typefaces with all the detailing included. Start small and try a colour font to bring focus to a specific word in a large block of text, or on an icon or logo-style element. There are a wide variety of colour fonts availble to try with the list growing every day! Here are a few for you to experiment with.


3. Maxi Typography 

The maxi trend, which began in 2019, is all about attention seeking. Maxi is the use of typography that is so bold and heavy that it sometimes bleeds off the page, taking centre-stage as a focal point. It should always be flat and simple so as not to take away from the effect.


4. Type Heroes

Type heroes are often playful, with words taking on the attributes of the idea they stand in for: a word like ‘BLAZE’ rendered in flaming type, or ‘FLOW’ made up of smooth, liquid lines. They help when a brand wants to take it to the next level to convey a more complex idea. A simple word can take on a whole new meaning.


5. Seventies and Eighties Fonts

Stranger Things could be associated with the revival of retro fonts with it’s red Benguiat font on a deep black background. Throwback designs are now popping up all around us. We’re also seeing a migration back to tightly kerned type after several years of heavily spaced out letter forms.


6. Outline Fonts

Frequently seen in the fashion and editorial world, Outline fonts have been moving more into mainstream design. Handle with caution, however and be cautious with readability. Take care with colour, contrast and placement so they don’t get lost on their backgrounds.


7. Text with Gradients

Sometimes getting a bad wrap when used poorly, gradients in text can be stunning when done properly on a clean background. A simple way to but emphasis in just the right place while feeling modern and fresh. More intriguing than just a single colour!

Typography is breaking out of it’s cage with more options than ever before. The mediums where we view text within our environments is ever changing in exciting and new ways, thus opening the doors of possibilities for designers. Bold fonts sit dynamically beside minimal fonts, lettershapes now have a mind of their own as they become more pictoral, and type moves (literally) like it never has before.