Skip to main content

The hottest typography design trends for 2012

11. Retro

Typography: 2012 trends 11

Retro typefaces continue to be popular - and they don't have to be kitsch!

Let's face it: the trend for retro typefaces will probably never go away. Sure, it's faded a little, with more minimalist, modern faces taking precedent on the web, in print and in app UI design, but it's always there, with designers seemingly not able to resist a bit of vintage typography. They don't all have to be kitsch either - check out Font Squirrel's list of free retro fonts for commercial use.

12. Type threads

Typography: 2012 trends 12

Type meets thread in a new trend for hand-stitched typography

Handmade typography is obviously not a new trend, with paper and set design in particular being popular amongst creatives working in all fields for the last few years. Few, however, have taken to stitching. One such illustrator who experiments with type and thread is Peter Crawley, his January piece being a good example of what's possible with the often frowned upon medium.

Another illustrator experimenting with thread and craft is Australian Dominique Falla. Her work for Wired where she illustrated the logo using nails and string being particularly cool.

13. Charismatic legibility

Typography: 2012 trends 13

Legibility doesn't mean type can't have character, as Fontsmith's work shows

Have you read trend 2, 'Simplicity and legibility redefined'? Good. But legibility doesn't mean that type can't have character, as proved by the work of Fontsmith.

From the lovely rounded FS Albert to the considered design of FS Me, right through to the intriguing ligatures of FS Rufus and the lively FS Blake, this British foundry is all about fonts with character. And its 10 years in type has shown it setting new standards, and trends, in type design with every new release.

14. Painted/hand-scrawled/contrast

Typography: 2012 trends 14

Thick, painted headers work well in fashion magazines, and elsewhere too

Just look at the pages of Rankin's Hunger and you'll see the impact a large, painted custom typeface can have. Secondly, take a look at Topshop magazine, designed by London-based studio Useful.

Thick, painted headers aren't just the fare of fashion magazines, but they often work best juxtaposed against light body copy and slick photography. Of course, these kind of headlines are almost always custom type.

15. Geometric sans

Typography: 2012 trends 15

Pablo Abad's Gara is a great example of a geometric sans serif

Pablo Abad's custom typeface called Gara is a great example of a geometric sans serif with a modern twist. Other uses of geometric sans include Neo Sans by Seb Lester, Bank Gothic by Morris Fuller Benton and the incredible Gotham by Tobias Frere-Jones. Although ever-popular and omnipresent in contemporary design, custom geometric sans seem more widespread in graphics than ever before.

Next: OpenType experimentation, the modular approach and more!