Each year, font trends arrive with the promise of new ways of expressing ourselves. Because even the most brilliant message can be undermined by a stale presentation, fresh approaches to typography are what give our words character.
Even when we’re tempted to think designers will run out of ways to keep reinventing the same letters and symbols, they manage to surprise us. For 2022, the font trends cover a range from photorealistic to imaginative, from soft to hard-edged, from nostalgic to experimental. An exciting year of surprising and diverse font styles await us as we’ll discover in the following 9 font trends for 2022.
The top font trends for 2022
1. Super thick strokes
Though it is most often a background player, every now and then typography threatens to steal the spotlight. For 2022, it might just take up the entire stage.
Specifically, we expect to find more font styles that command attention through wide and thick lettering styles. These chunky fonts accomplish several things at once. Like a bold weighted variant, they create emphasis. They blur the line between negative space and letterform, surprising us by crafting unique shapes. And along the way, they are read as both heavy due to their density and more approachable due to their implied inflatability.
2. Arts and Crafts revival
Arts and Crafts was a late 19th century design movement that itself was a revival of classic artistic techniques. This precursor to Art Nouveau emphasized handcrafted decorative graphics and illustrated typography.
In its day, it critiqued the soulless uniformity of the Industrial Revolution, which introduced mechanical production into the design process. This distaste for standardized art resonates with modern designers who now find themselves similarly restricted by digital tools. Today, the trend is finding expression through digital typefaces with decorative strokes and crossbars that contrast creatively with the rest of the letterform.
3. Authentic handwriting
As typographers well know, different kinds of fonts have inherent attributes that communicate specific character traits. But the style of lettering that will always embody the most personality is handwriting.
These imperfect scrawls do more than conjure up generic branding traits like “sophisticated” or “modern.” Instead, they evoke the hand of the particular human who created them, like a personal signature. For 2022, we are seeing handwritten font styles coming back into prominence, and this time: the messier the better. Aside from lending projects a grunge aesthetic, messy scribbles heighten the necessary realism for an emotional, human connection with the viewer.
I think it’s also a social media friendly aesthetic that suits a lot of small or medium businesses, so they’re popping up more and more. Many of them won’t be typefaces but more handwritten in Procreate!
4. Morphing animations
Typesetters traditionally have to decide on a particular, consistent font style. But the designers of 2022 are asking, why stick to just one? Through the magic of animation, typographers are shifting letters through various styles with creative morphing.
By Webshocker – Matjaz Valentar via Dribbble
These letters are thick, thin, big, small, italic, bold all at once. More than simple movement animations, this experimental trend creates the illusion that type is alive and breathing, as—in a sense—it always has been.
By Debbie Trout via Dribbble
5. Rounded fonts
For years, bubbly typefaces have been relegated to children’s design projects due to their safe, rounded corners. But for 2022, these circular fonts are bouncing out of kids’ birthday party invitations and onto projects aimed at adults.
Far from immature, these extremely rounded typefaces can feel animated—especially when stretched out—and pair well with multiple bright colors, lending their projects a dynamic energy. And aside from being inherently joyful, these font styles also have a touch of the unashamedly weird in their more blobby, irregular forms, and this can appeal to audiences with offbeat tastes.
6. Experimental type
Typography is all about order. One letter follows another in a predictable sequence, and standard guidelines dictate how each letter should be sized. But even though we are conditioned to think that words would be unreadable otherwise, the type designers of 2022 consider that these rules underestimate the intelligence of the viewer.
In the coming year, we expect to find more typography projects that push lettering compositions to the limits of experimentation. The style of this trend can vary depending on what rules the designer chooses to break and why—jumbled letters out of sequence, bizarre shapes, deliberate obscuring, and even redefinition of the letterforms themselves. These experiments challenge what can be considered good practice and seek to raise typography to the art form we always claim that it is.
I don’t think playing with typefaces, kerning and making it less readable is detrimental. On the contrary, in some cases, it can be really very fresh and modern.
7. Tactile realism
While writing is the primary vehicle for storytelling, it is the artifacts of our everyday lives that really tell the story of who we are. With this in mind, many type designers have been incorporating these physical objects and textures into the letters themselves.
The trend largely moves away from thinking about lettering as something that is drawn or that exists in digital space, out of reach. The designers of 2022 want their lettering to exist in the same world their viewers inhabit—not surprising, given the increasingly digital nature of our lives. The effect is to create letters that feel more honest, bringing their subject matter into startling, photorealistic clarity.
8. Sharpened fonts
An old saying goes that the pen is mightier than the sword. For 2022, many designers are taking this sentiment literally with sharp-edged font styles.
This trend manifests itself through chiseled edges, hard angles and oblique forms. Sharp fonts embody a flair for the dramatic without resorting to the blunt attention-seeking of bold variants. As these fonts can take advantage of classic typographic forms like bracketed serifs or italicized styles, they also harken back to the gravitas of a royal engraving.
9. Retro curves
Would this even be a trends list without some form of retro comeback? This year, we’re flashing back to the thick, curving letters of the 70s.
Besides evoking images of a spinning vinyl, bell bottom jeans and questionable hair products, this trend is both emphatic and cheerful at the same time. It embodies a fanciful, adventurous feeling with its sprawling terminals and fillagrees. And just like in the old days, the implied movement of the flowing curves makes these letterforms feel alive even as they stand still.
Ready for the 2022 font design trends?
Although these represent some notable font trends we expect to find in the coming year, this list is by no means the be all and end all of what 2022 has in store for us. If the many ways that designers have repurposed these letterforms over the years prove anything, it is that there will always be potential for new and unexpected breakthroughs in typography. Maybe you have some font trends you have noticed or are looking forward to in the coming year. Let us know in the comments!