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It’s a unique, transitional moment in the digital art world. And the 2024 font design trends reflect this. With so much change, between machine learning and generative AI, many font creators are finding renewed comfort in the hand-crafted techniques of the past. At the same time, a new generation of designers are pushing fonts to creative extremes through letters that move, take up space and drift into the realm of abstraction.
No matter the approach, these seven font design trends for 2024 spring from the imagination of typographers living in an unprecedented digital age. Whether you’re reimagining retro or crafting bold experiments, these fonts speak to readers far beyond their words and add a new frontier for businesses looking to express their brand and perspective on this new world.
7 alluring font trends for 2024
- Ultra gothic
- Shapeshifting lettering
- Delicate sans serif
- Letterform abstraction
- Vintage curved baselines
- 3D abstract alignment
- Graphic graffiti fonts
Take a look at last year’s font trends for 2023 here.
1. Ultra gothic
As the name implies, gothic fonts are veritable classics. Developed in the Middle Ages for manuscript scribing, the traditional gothic font features heavy black letters and calligraphic techniques like hairline flourishes and angular strokes. But these fonts, reminiscent of the pointed arches of medieval abbeys, have earned an enduring popularity. Just last year, goth went to the mall, but today, goth is growing up.
2024’s Ultra gothic trend uses digital tools to achieve effects that the practical business of scribing could not accommodate. These exaggerated strokes are decorative enough to rival medieval architecture, with intricate flourishes that border on illegibility. Gothic fonts are an eternally appealing style for how they combine stable forms with unexpected freehand, granting a personal touch to digital fonts. And while they do carry old-world connotations, the adventurous ornamentation of the ultra gothic fits right at home in magazine typography and logo design lettering.
“The Neo Gothic style is already an obscure trend in architecture and literature and is gaining a spotlight in contemporary design with the use of ornaments, blackletter, and calligraphy to create beautiful visuals. It can be used to create high-end luxury brands visuals or even a fresh urban style, mixed with graffiti and street art elements.”Glerm Rubini, Designer at 99designs by Vista
2. Shapeshifting lettering
If there’s one thing we can learn from the endless ways font designers reimagine the same basic alphabet, it’s that letters are full of shapeshifting magic. And in 2024, we’ll witness fonts that shapeshift right before our very eyes.
The shapeshifting lettering trend takes its inspiration from retro sources like rubber-hose fonts and 70s bubble letters. In this way, it evokes nostalgic joy while bringing the past to life through fluid movement. At the same time, the melting shape of these wobbly letters hints that something is not quite right here—it’s escapism but gently warped.
There’s an inherent tension in escapism because even while it transports the viewer to their happy place, the very need for an escape implies that there’s something to escape from. These fonts play on that tension with a comically corrupted cartoon style, making this trend popular for edgier contexts like music venue posters, streetwear and protest art.
“I love this style! Brings it to life. It combines cartoon style design with contemporary typography.”yogisnanda, Designer at 99designs by Vista
3. Delicate sans serif
When we think of delicate fonts, scripts tend to come to mind—the soft, looping cursive that frequently finds its way onto wedding invitations. Sans serif fonts, by contrast, are straightforward and functional, pure letterforms without decoration. But in 2024, sans serifs are showing their delicate side through narrow strokes and wide kerning.
Fitting in with recent minimalist trends, Delicate sans serifs offer versatile fonts whose unassuming forms couldn’t clutter a composition even if they tried. Because they exude confidence through their subtlety, these fonts achieve a classy and refined look. They’re especially popular with wellness packaging and monogram logos, projects that want to create a relaxing atmosphere that feels professional and sleek.
“Minimalist fonts are clean and uncluttered, which helps to focus attention on the message. They also work well with minimalist designs, creating a cohesive and visually appealing overall look.”Angkasa.Putra, Designer at 99designs by Vista
4. Letterform abstraction
Even the most avant garde fonts are traditionally uniform—no matter how experimental the style, all letters are rendered in the same style. But for 2024, designers are experimenting with warped standout letters, bringing sudden abstraction to the middle of a word or paragraph.
While you may think letterform abstractions would be unreadable, our minds would fill in the gap even if a letter was completely absent. This trend therefore cultivates artful emphasis that goes beyond a simple boldening of letters. Instead, designers might change the font style, pump up the scale, shift the alignment, or introduce graphic illustrations in the middle of a word.
When abstraction is applied to whole words, typographers are given more creative means of calling out key phrases within text blocks. When the abstraction is subtle, they encourage a double take for fast-scanning readers. Mostly, these abstracted letterforms are visually playful, lending an artsy collage style to projects where creative individuality is paramount.
5. Vintage curved baselines
Antique lettering has an ornate style we often miss in our age of standardized fonts, so for 2024, designers are embracing subtler techniques by bringing back the curving baselines of vintage hand-lettering. Reminiscent of 19th century medicine bottles and saloon signage, this decorative lettering is displayed along a gentle curve, granting the word the grandeur of a waving banner. This look can be especially effective for branding that evokes a handmade, artisan flair.
Source: by plasma via 99designs by Vista
When using classic serifs, like the thick strokes and ornamental Tuscan style seen in the David Ashley Trent example, an archaic look is inescapable. But more simplified fonts can lend the style a contemporary interpretation, as in the hand-written style of the Tiebreaker example.
This approach typically uses less ornate font styles, ditching filigrees and flourishes for a thin sans serif, and the curved baseline can be almost imperceptible, as in the Tartinade example. Like most vintage approaches, this trend will be useful for brands that want to cultivate a sense of tradition and longevity. But far from being stuck in its ways, the curved baseline trend imbues fonts with dynamism and movement.
Source: by yulianzone via 99designs by Vista
6. 3D abstract alignment
At one time futuristic and hi-tech, 3D lettering is a familiar sight these days. While it still takes a great deal of technical skill to pull off a realistic 3D font, the designers of 2024 know that 3D art must aspire to more than realism. That’s why 3D designers are now blurring the lines between convincing illusions and abstract arrangements.
This style of 3D lettering goes to great lengths to depict new spatial relationships. These 3D words crowd one another, overlap or coalesce into one fluid mass. By using unexpected positioning to play words off of one another, the abstract alignment trend reinforces the illusion of reality, making it clear the lettering exists in a world of weight and balance.
Although largely an experimental style, this trend is useful for that single wow factor, rendering a familiar phrase or a thought-provoking quote in an unforgettable, highly original arrangement.
Source: by Angelo Knf via Behance
Source: via Twenty75
7. Graphic graffiti fonts
Once an eyesore of urban decay, graffiti has proved a continual source of inspiration for lettering design, and it’s not hard to see why. Graffiti combines anonymity with original expression. It gives abandoned and forgotten spaces a sense of ownership. As graffiti has been mined again and again for creative potential over the years, the font designers of 2024 are experimenting with more Graphic graffiti styles.
This trend uses graffiti as a jumping off point for colorful interpretations and illustrative techniques. Traditional graffiti is stylistically derived from the need to work quickly, but as a digital trend, graphic graffiti can afford to take its time. It hints at street art through recognizable shapes while imbuing letters with intricate textures, cut-out graphics or illustrative touches.
The trend is useful for creative lettering projects and for brands that fit into the street art scene, like urban apparel, nightlife and pop-up restaurants. In evoking vandalism, these fonts have both a rebellious streak and a human touch, standing in sharp contrast to the conformity of design software and the growing threat of AI automation.
“The combination of typography and graffiti is a very strong element, giving a very internal impression of representing someone or something.”sleepyoner, Designer at 99designs by Vista
Ready for the 2024 font design trends?
These seven font design trends for 2024 are an eclectic array of polar opposite approaches. While trends like Letterform abstraction, Shapeshifting lettering and 3D abstract alignment use experimental techniques, other trends like Graphic graffiti, Ultra gothic and Vintage curved baselines seek inspiration in the tried-and-true methods of the past.
Such a broad range signals the sheer diversity of emerging designers. At the same time, it speaks to the fitful and restless age of font design we are entering. No matter the cause, the result is exciting font design trends that will keep us guessing throughout the new year.
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