Four Ways to Format: Typography Trends to Try in 2020

Published: January 29, 2020

Typography is a little like the soundtrack to a movie. It’s not something you may immediately notice, but it can set the tone for a design. You wouldn’t use Comic Sans for a serious news story (or anything else, hopefully—ew). You wouldn’t use a display font for a paragraph of text, since they tend to be harder to read. There are more wrong typography options than correct in most situations, and knowing how and why they’re being used gives you a huge advantage over those who don’t. We’re here to let you know what typography trends to pay attention to in 2020.

If you missed our entry on graphic design trends, check it out here. Like we did in that blog, we’re going to share four big trends in typography that you can make use of in the new year. So, here’s what we’ve seen in our OC crystal ball.

variable font

More Mixed Media

You know that rule about three fonts being all the more you should use in one place? Well, don’t throw that out entirely, but know that the reins on this one are loosening. In fact, you’ll see a lot of mixing in fonts for impact. It’s not going to be mid-paragraph shifts or anything (hopefully), but in titles and in marketing materials, you’re sure to see some interesting mixing. Coupled with that, you’re going to see more emojis, icons, and decorative lettering peppering typography in the wild. The widespread use of these tools in text is bleeding into the world as younger generations become old enough for the advertising world to consider them worth tailoring their messages toward. As a shorthand for emotional writing, emojis are going to be entwined with the future of typography for far longer than just 2020. Embrace the trend and don’t be left behind.

spring graphic

Big, Bare Brutalism

If you recall our series on the 2019 trends, you’ll know about brutalism. That trend carries into 2020 with a twist. The “undesign” has evolved into minimalism, with very simple lines, minimal text, letting blank space around the text do the talking. But, strangely, the opposite of that is also trending. Maximalism will be simultaneously getting big (pardon the pun). Huge text, impact-driven messages, and fonts that go “BAM!” are all going to be (again, pardon the pun) huge. We’d suggest picking one at a time so you don’t confuse people.

postcard graffiti


Okay, maybe “torrid” isn’t the best way to explain this next trend, but we know it’s going to be extremely hot. Hand-in-hand with maximalism comes the adoption of big, bold fonts that become more of an image than a piece of text. These are meant to be highly graphical eye-catchers, some of them even overlaid with images. Look for fat fonts filled with images that stretch across the entirety of the letters, connecting them into one image, making them do double duty. We’re already seeing this trend in web design and print, but be prepared to see it all over in the new year.

vintage text on mug

Veni Vidi Vintage

In our previous entry we mentioned that vintage was going to be huge in graphic design. The same is true of typography, as you might expect. Serifs, once maligned, are making a comeback. Hand drawn fonts with a vintage flair are gaining popularity by the day, and customization is the word of the hour. In all of these trends, cookie cutter fonts aren’t cutting it anymore. Companies and creators want something that no one else has, and they’re going out to find that custom fix.

So there you have it. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it definitely addresses the spirit of what is coming in the world of typography in 2020. Whether it’s huge, impactful text layered with images inside, quietly vintage minimalism, or emoji-stuffed headlines, you’re going to see these trends in the wild in the coming year.

Next time, we’ll bring you the final entry in this series, our observations regarding trends in web design in the new year. Stay tuned.