We canvas a selection of design industry experts to learn what will be big in typography over the next 12 months. Their answers may surprise you!
Whether you work as a type designer, graphic designer or any other form of creative, you probably find typography central to your work, at least occasionally. So it’s worth keeping an eye on the latest trends.
That doesn’t mean you have to blindly follow them, of course. But you certainly need to know which direction the discipline is going. Even if you decide to plough your furrow in the exactly opposite direction, you need to know that you’re doing so and why.
To help guide you, we’ve sat down with some of the design industry’s best-known experts and got their input into the trends likely to dominate in 2024.
Of course, predictions are notoriously difficult, and no one can know the future with certainty. But they’ll certainly give you an idea about where things are heading. (As will our recent roundup of
Meanwhile, for more typographical inspiration, check out our guide to
Trend 1: Quirky and characterful sans
If there’s one overarching typographical story of the last ten years, it’s the shift from serifs to sans-serifs. As Mark Richardson, designer and founder of
“In 2024, I think this will continue,” he adds. “And previously reluctant clients will be more open to this direction when presented with the risk of not being seen in a sea of sans.”
In his view, that’s no bad thing. “For those that can not stomach awkward decenders or inconsistent letter widths, a sans with character may be the solution,” says Mark. And offers an example of how that can look in practice.
“I have been a big fan of type foundry
Trend 2: Semi-serifs
The obvious alternative to an overabundance of sans-serifs is, of course, to opt for serifs instead. But there’s also a third option that’s been emerging recently.
“Sitting comfortably between a serif and sans-serif is an elegant and understated reinterpretation of a classic typeface,” explains Rosie Garschina, executive creative director at
“This style can often create the right amount of personality for a brand and offer the best of both worlds,” she adds. “
Trend 3: Funky and chunky
Carolien Grebe, client manager at
Trend 4: Large type families
Our next trend is more overarching and goes beyond individual typeface styles. “As brands continue to merge and consolidate, larger type families create opportunities for consistency and recall,” says Rosie. “Type families with diverse weights and styles help unify complicated and layered brand architecture systems under a single shared typeface. In these instances, typography plays a major role in creating attribution across many pieces of communication and can be a valuable tool for unifying complicated ecosystems.”
She’s been recently putting this approach into practice at Trollbäck+Company. “While rebranding
Trend 5: 3D and interactive
“2024 is gearing up to be the year 3D fonts come into their own,” says Mark Nichols, creative director at
Eve Warren, senior creative at
“With Adobe introducing a 3D tool into Illustrator and the rising popularity of tools like Blender, these techniques will become more accessible to designers and art directors,” predicts Eve. “And they’ll enable them to create playful and tactile work that adds dimensions to everything from campaigns to book designs, packaging and beyond.”
Trend 6: Massive x-height
Accessibility always needs to be front and centre of type design. And it’s something Carl Rylatt,
design director at
“The more conscious we get about accessible design, the more we find that some of our favourite ‘go-tos’ as a designer are counterintuitive for many people,” he points out. “Want to create impact quickly? Then your mouse may well be heading for those super chunky, condensed typefaces, set in all caps and ‘hey presto’, BIG IMPACT! Unfortunately, though, setting fonts in all caps, especially in tandem with low-contrast typefaces, can cause real legibility issues.”
Which is why he thinks 2024 will be the year of the ‘massive x-height’. “This allows designers to maintain the integrity of the shapes of words while still treating lowercase type as they would display type,” he explains. “This means designers can achieve both legibility and impact without sacrificing either.” Examples can be see in the font
Trend 7: Rise in open source
“While we believe that type designers should absolutely get paid for their work and hope this trend brings with it a more scalable way to pay for fonts, we think tightening client budgets and an increasingly long list of creative touchpoints such as VR and AR will drive an even sharper rise in open source or free-to-try fonts,” they reason. “And that will only serve to reinforce these trends toward experimentation and imperfection.”
Trend 8: A nostalgic backlash against ‘blanding’
Digitally-led branding is a logical progression, but will we see companies buck the trend to ensure standout in a crowded market? “We’ve seen a trend of big names switching to uppercase sans to address the digital, small-screen inadequacy of their traditional wordmarks,” Mark Richardson says. “The logic was sound, but it was also a shame to see, as some of those classic brand designs were truly iconic.”
Partly in reaction to this, he believes we’ll see designers look back to the past in 2024. “Times are very challenging right now,” he reasons. “During difficult moments, we often seek nostalgia. So perhaps we will see more brands adopting this strategy, retaining and refreshing rather than completely rebranding. Some may even scrap recent rebrands and revert to previous iterations, like
That said, being inspired by the past doesn’t necessarily mean blindly repeating it. “Some recent serif fonts have taken on a retro and vintage slant,” notes Andy Briscoe, associate creative director at JDO Global. “A good example is
Such reinvented retro fonts are often on Superfried’s radar, he adds. “We’re always looking for personality and own-ability in a world of words. When time and attention are in short supply, what we say and how we say it matters like never before, so we love to say it with unapologetic personality and style. “
Trend 9: Multilingual typefaces
Most discussions around typography tend towards the functional and technical. But culture comes into it too, believes Malex Salamanques, director at cultural and creative consultancy
“There is an important voice in typeface design that is becoming more prominent: feminist designers that believe that letters and their shapes carry deep cultural, social and political meaning and responsibility,” she explains. “Fonts coming from Latin American and Perso-Arabic designers are committed to honour origin aesthetic and functional values in response to local challenges and needs. They intentionally leave behind the neutrality linked to the European tradition to better communicate – and honour – content.”
As an example, she offers Tipastype’s font
Trend 10: Use of AI
How could we write a trends article without mentioning AI? Caspar Lam and YuJune Park, co-founders at design consultancy
“Type stands at the intersection of design and technology,” they note. “It is foundational to communication. While we’re still in the early days of AI, designers are rapidly exploring how type can be created with these emergent tools. Stability AI recently announced that
Such developments are covered in a recent book titled
“Every innovation in production processes from mechanised printing to AI has led to gains in productivity and the distribution of form and ideas. As this technology grows, designers must wrestle with the relationships between creation and curation, and our role in the art and craft of translating, creating and articulating communication”.
And earlier this year, world-renowned design director and typographer Craig Ward shook up the way fonts are made with
Trend 11: Variable fonts
Let’s be honest: we’ve been saying variable fonts will be “rising in popularity next year” for some years now. But in fairness, they have continued to rise in popularity, and that trend seems set to continue in 2024. So, we make no apologies for including them at the end of our list.
“Stepping into the world of variable fonts is like unlocking a new dimension of typographic artistry,” enthuses Duncan Gravestock, design director at
Duncan also points to the rise of unique and ownable variable sliders. “Designers will want to have more control over the feel and dynamic of a typeface,” he believes. “A bespoke and ownable variable slider can give you that freedom to express the font in so many ways and allow that total control over the look and feel.”
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