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The hottest typography design trends for 2012

06. Object fonts

Typography: 2012 trends 6

HandMadeFonts is one of many companies creating imaginative, object-based typefaces

Often custom designed for a specific purpose, project or campaign, object fonts have seen a sharp rise over the last few years and will continue to be hugely popular throughout 2012 and beyond.

HandMadeFont is a foundry set up by brothers Vladimir Loginov and Maksim Loginov, specialising in these kind of typefaces. You can buy collections from the foundry but be aware that you'll need to hand set them in Illustrator and the like.

07. The Craig Ward effect

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Craig Ward is pushing back the boundaries of what's possible with typography

Craig Ward is somewhat of a genius. For many years he's been pushing type in directions never seen before, and his work has since spawned many imitations. From the Creative Review cover he grew in an immunology lab using pollen cells (!) to his chalkdust work for P&G's Olympic Campaign, his progressive work always has a narrative.

It's not type for the sake of type, it's type as art. We can't wait to see what he does next.

08. Complete type systems (super families)

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Complete type system Greta Sans blurs the boundaries between display and text

Not so much a trend, more a comment on a foundry's dedication to its artform. Complete type systems are relatively rare nowadays, with many designers focusing on quick-win display faces or one or two weights (mainly because of time/budget constraints, we suspect). However, that's not the case for supreme type designer Peter Bil'ak, who runs successful foundry Typotheque.

The foundry's latest release, Greta Sans, is a hugely versatile typeface of 10 weights and three widths (Compressed, Condensed, Expanded) that blurs the boundaries between display and text. Check it out and marvel at just how detailed it is.

09. More usable scripts

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Quintet Script is a masterful layered script face based on music

New trends for craftsmanship may well be behind the resurgence of calligraphic and script fonts. A great example is Kunihiko Okano's Quintet Script, which is a masterful layered script face based on music. The work of letterer Erik Marinovich shows how calligraphic forms can beat the stigma attached to them and be applied in a much more contemporary way.

10. Lighter slab serifs

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Last year was all about fat slabs; this year's approach is more refined

Whereas 2011 was arguably about fat slabs, 2012 is more refined in its slab serifs, taking a lighter, more civilised approach in the work of graphic designers.

Want some examples? How about Sentinel by Hoefler & Frere-Jones, or the geometric Motown by YWFT; or even Dada Slab by the Polish Dada Studio.

Next: Charasmatic legibility, geometric sans, and more!