by Justin Difazzio
We’re back! And this time of year, that can only mean one thing (also, you probably read the title and know what’s coming)! It’s trends time! In this installment we’ll be discussing what’s coming in the magical land of typography! We’ll be seeing some carryover from the world of graphic design, which is only natural, but there are still some surprises to come. Let’s get into it!
Here we go again. The battle between serif fonts and sans-serif fonts continues, as always, and it appears that serifs are in style yet again this year. Now don’t go back and slap Times New Roman on everything just yet, because not just any old serifs are going to get people looking. You’re going to have to modernize your serifs to stand out. Try something new. Add some funky flair or take chances with a new shape. Otherwise, you’re just going backward.
Whatever trend you follow this year, 2024 is the year of movement! You’re going to benefit from a little jiggle, a bit of wiggle, and some downright shifty displays of text. Keep it moving and you can’t go wrong. Just don’t sacrifice too much in the way of readability before you put a little boogie in it.
This may sound familiar to those who saw the first entry in this series, but one of the focal points of the bold minimalism that’s continuing to make waves this year is bold text with little flourish. Picture a few words in an impactful style. You’ve nailed it.
Brands are doing a lot these days, and one of those things is hiring designers to create custom fonts for them. And that trend seems to be taking off. Why use a font everyone has seen before when you can wow them with something completely your own? It’s a lot of work, for sure, and we don’t see this trend sticking around unless AI steps in.
Speak of the devil. Many are embracing the power of generative AI in the creation of custom type. While the ethics of such a thing are heavily debated, brands are finding it cheaper and faster to task AI with the creation of their type than to hire someone who has to come up with something original, put in the work to create it, and occasionally take a break to be a human being. Whatever your opinion of AI’s place in design, we’re going to see more experimentation in the field this year. It will be worth keeping an eye on, no doubt.
Another trend coming back in a big way this year is 3D text. When incorporating text in your designs, consider adding some depth. For some reason, squishy and fuzzy are super in style right now, so think about the texture you’re implying when you’re making use of more than two dimensions.
Maintaining its spot on this list for another year is handwritten type. Illustrated by the doodle craze that’s hitting graphic design, there’s a craving for that human touch. You’re going to see marketing campaigns embracing letters that are warm, wiggly, and wobbly, script that is slightly imperfect, and straight-up messy handwriting. Organic shapes are in!
More is More
As a response to the continued support for minimalism, we don’t think maximalism is going anywhere anytime soon. They’re two sides of the same coin, it seems. In the case of maximalism, more is more. Look for typography that is decorative, bold, unusual, extremely saturated, and downright weird. You’re going to see it in an appropriately big way.
We’re starting to feel like a broken record here, but that’s probably because retro designs are always going to be popular—only the decade or style will change. In this iteration we’re going to be seeing the fonts of early web design through Y2K era pixelization. Designs that evoke nostalgia for other, better days will be current again.
Here’s one that surprised us. X heights (the height that crosses, dots, and humps all reach in a font) are going up, up, up! It’s hard to explain where this came from and why it’s so hot this year, but if everything you’re reading looks like a barside chair in a bougie downtown loft, that’s why. Experiment with this one. Mix and match with other trends to see what unique looks you can achieve with the X-height cranked to the rafters.
Everywhere we looked for trending typography, we saw this prediction hitting the lists. What exactly is a variable font? Variable fonts emerged around 2016, and they allow for one font file to contain multiple versions of fonts that don’t standardize size, weight, style, etc. They’re visually interesting, a little unpredictable, and totally in fashion right now. Disrupt the everyday typography carefully, though, as they can be extremely tiring in long formats. Save them for places where they have the most impact, and you’ll be fine!
We’re constantly making discoveries about how to make content more accessible, no matter who is reading it. Alt text in images, screen-reader-friendly web design, and accessible fonts are a must if you want to be taken seriously. Make sure that the typography you’re using to convey important details can be accessed by everyone. Leaving people out is super uncool in 2024. And let’s hope it stays that way.
And with that, you can conquer the world of typography for another year. Just don’t cram all these trends in at once. That would be chaos, and while chaos might be a trend next year, it certainly isn’t right now. Stay tuned for the final entry in this series to find out what web trends are going to be dominating web design in this new year. And if you missed the first entry about design trends, check it out here. Back soon!