Bigger, bolder typography is the go-to type trend of 2018. Designers are opting for less elaborate typefaces and pairing them with bold color, cutouts, gradients, and even customizations to create lettering that stands out.
Each of these trendy type styles is moving away from the flatter, more conservative options that have been popular for a while. These more creative type options can be a little more difficult to execute and should be part of a planned design strategy, not just a cool technique to finish a project.
Here’s a look at the top typography trends for 2018.
1. Color Fonts and Type
Color fonts are a class of type of their own and have popped up all over the place. They’re actually more popular than many originally expected and have fun application in design projects.
You can read all about color fonts here in our beginner’s guide. The concept of color fonts has opened up more projects to color in typography overall as well.
While there was a lot of black and white text in more minimalist styles, colors are roaring back. Many designers are using bright color typography with minimal styles, such as the Tilted Chair, above. Color can add extra visual interest and emphasis on the words in color.
Bright options, such as the red in the example, help draw the eye and serve as a great springboard for messaging, building brand identity and drawing users into the design.
2. Simple, Bold Sans Serifs
Lettering doesn’t have to be overly ornate to make a solid impression.
Sans serif typefaces with thicker stroke widths are one of the most common font options for new websites and redesigns this year.
It works for a simple reason: these typefaces are easy to read, and it’s relatively easy to create contrast between background and text elements.
This is the easiest of the trends in this list to use, and also one of the most effective.
3. Highlighted Type
This is one of those trends that’s a little surprising to see: highlighter-style emphasis on lettering to create emphasis.
From simple highlights to separate lettering from the background to underlines to animated highlights, there are plenty of ways to use this type design trend. And while it might sound a little odd when you describe it, the actual visuals are pretty stunning.
This technique is best for words that you really want users to see. It also works better for shorter blocks of text so that the highlight doesn’t get overwhelming and take over the design.
4. Cutouts and Overlays
Layered effects are a great way to make a design look a lot less flat. Doing it with typography can be a nice option.
Cutouts and overlays refer to text elements that have no color fill. A cutout allows whatever is in the background layer to show through the type design, such as the animated sports imagery in the example above. An overlay is often transparent lettering over a background so that you can see the background through letters while still reading them.
Both of these techniques have a lot of visual interest and can be fun to create. They work best with large lettering, not many words, and a display typeface.
Overlays work great with photos, texture or even video backgrounds. Just make sure to avoid a lot of other design effects when using this technique. (You don’t want to overwhelm the user.)
5. Layering with Other Elements
In most projects, text elements and other elements are kept fairly separated. But that idea has changed quite a bit and designers aren’t shying away from allowing text and other elements to overlap. The end result can be pretty cool and actually help users focus on the words on the screen a little more.
While the most common uses of the typography trend in practice are text elements that overlap boxed images or color, MJND kicks it up a notch. This design merges the person in the image with typography so that it is cut out around him (like the person is walking into the words).
This is a technique that comes from print design where it is more popular – and quite honestly easier to execute – and can create a stunning display. The trick is having the right image and maintaining the readability of every single letter. (Be careful not to create unintended words because of missing character strokes or parts.)
6. Text with Gradients
The most underappreciated design technique of all-time might be the gradient. It seriously gets a bad reputation because of poor usage. But when done well, gradients are absolutely stunning. That’s the case with the example above, Design Spin.
Just the right part of the headline features a simple blue to green color change. It’s easy to read and understand and put emphasis in exactly the right place. The gradient feels modern and fresh and adds just a little more visual intrigue than a single color alone. It’s a perfect fit for the minimal design of the page and, with the gradient in the scroll button, there’s a direction cue from the main typography to the next step the user should take.
7. “Overdone” Effects
It’s not often that “overdone” is used favorably when talking about any design technique. But when it comes to the overdone typography trend, it can work.
This type trend has a retro feel and is characterized by text and text effects that are so over the top that you must read the words. There are outlines and shadows and bevels and fades and crazy colors. No effect is off the table.
And the more effects you pile on, the more users might look. This style works best with a simple design scheme, such as Schnitzel Love, above.
8. Custom Everything
One of the commandments of typography is to leave lettering alone. You shouldn’t alter or mess with typefaces; pick one that works for your project.
But designers are challenging that idea with positive results, by making simple adjustments to typefaces to give them a more custom look and feel. Others are actually going all-in and having custom typefaces made for projects.
While this can be a lot of fun, it is often a pricey option and can take a lot of time. It’s most common with bigger brands or for projects with a typographer on the team.
Personally, typography trends are one of my favorite things to dive into. Lettering is such an essential part of all design.
My favorite typography trends are those that push the boundaries of what’s common but still maintain readability. What do you like in terms of typography? Let’s talk about it on Twitter. (Just mention @carriecousins and @designshack!)