Every year, the design pros over at Monotype Studio curate a comprehensive report on typography trends. It synthesizes the collected typographic works of some of the top agencies and brands from around the world. “This report is not our work,” they are quick to say. “It’s work by brands and agencies that we admire…We’re sharing it for educational purposes, to tell a story of typographic creativity and some of its root causes.”
In yesterday’s release of 2022 Type Trends Report, the Monotype team identifies and dissects 10 distinct type trends that have dominated design over the last year or so.
Presented via a webinar presentation led by Monotype creative type directors Charles Nix and Phil Garnham, the report serves as a celebration of today’s typographic voices. As an educational guide and overview of the state of our typographic union in 2022, the report ultimately reflects wider societal and cultural happenings.
The report underscores the ongoing impact COVID has had on almost all facets of our lives, including design. “The content we produce and designs and forms we create are all direct and indirect confrontations, responses, coping mechanisms, and escapes from the pandemic,” they write.
So let’s get down to the trends then, shall we?
Neue Nouveau is an offshoot of the Art Nouveau movement from the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Much like its namesake, Neue Nouveau is defined by organic lines and dramatic curves that speak to nature and the environment. “At its legibility-challenging extremes, it speaks to the push-pull, twisting and looping of pandemic time,” Monotype adds.
You’ll see the Neue Nouveau trend writ large when browsing any modern-day beer aisle. “The growing consumer interest in wellness, conscious consumption and organic products is the perfect match for Neue Nouveau’s natural forms.”
Svelte Serifs have burst onto the scene as the leaner, slimmed-down cousin of the trend Monotype identified last year called “soft-serve.” These sleek, sophisticated upgrades lend themselves to variable font technology, which is perfect for when brands are looking to incorporate movement into their type.
Loopy lettering, particularly within logotype, is in once again. In a time where we’re looking fun, irreverent design, it’s not surprising either. “Most importantly their, ‘I could have drawn that’ appearance is humanizing,” Monotype observes.
“Mix-Up is typographic diversity,” writes Monotype, “pairing multiple typeface styles in one identity to turn diversity into unity.” At a time in our culture when diversity, fluidity, and inclusion is rightly being celebrated at large, it’s understandable that we would see these same values reflected in our typographic proclivities.
Like Svelte Serifs, Organic-Mod evolved from an earlier trend that the 2021 Monotype report called “Blockheads.” Both have origins in 8-bit-inspired type treatments, recalling the early days of digital typography. “The type is organic and mesmerizing,” the 2022 report says. “It’s the best of what a grid can be: an organizing principle in which amazing things can happen.”
Flux is all about movement and shape-shifting. It’s “hyper-kinetic, sometimes animated, sometimes variable, always moving.” Monotype breaks Flux down into multiple categories within the report, including Static, Variable, 3D, Play, 2D, and Analogue.
This informal, immediate trend appropriates street-style lettering with features like plump letterforms, folds, and unexpected overlaps. The heart of the trend is youthful balloon letters, which provide a fun, upbeat tone on their own, but can be undercut when paired with a crisp counterpart.
Ink traps were originally designed to add legibility to small type, especially within printed materials. While they’re still a helpful solution to reading in digital spaces, they’re mostly just cool. “They act as a point of interest, adding sparkle to an otherwise ordinary sans,” explains Monotype.
Monotype describes Certified Gold as chromed-out, three-dimensional Throw-Up letters. Metallics will always conjure a sense of luxury and glamour, and Certified Gold holds an undeniable retro appeal for digital use.
This wouldn’t be a credible 2022 trend report without some nod to NFTs. Cryptocurrency has shaken up the art and design world, and Monotype is curious about just how this will affect typographic spaces.
However, Monotype offers a critical caveat to the conversation. “Our biggest concern with crypto and, subsequently NFTs is environmental,” admits Monotype. “The process of minting, bidding and selling an NFT carries a huge carbon footprint. A single Bitcoin transaction is estimated to burn 3000 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power a typical US household for over 78 days.”