In 2020, we’ve seen some interesting trends in the world of design.
Brutalism. People wearing plastic on their faces and using rainbows makeup to distort their eyes. OK, the minimal modern trend can get a bit weird, but that’s to be expected when designers are pushing the boundaries for something new. (And when we’re all stuck inside, looking for ways to be creative!)
Luckily for us, some brave font designers have found beauty in simplicity, and are bringing about a font revolution, giving antique styles new life in an aesthetic movement called Modern Vintage Minimalism. Or, at least that’s what I’m calling it.
The new style of type features unusual terminals, interesting waves (distorted fonts), and highly stylized stems and crossbars. Some typefaces mix calligraphy and sans serifs, while others look rail-thin and bend like they’re about to blow off the page.
Modern minimal fonts are sweeping through web interfaces, poster design, and branding for fashion houses, luxury goods, and for the rest of us, in social media templates and magazines.
When I create a new font roundup, it’s hard to know what to put first and last. My taste is not another’s taste, and everyone needs different looks for their projects. So what I did this time is to highlight fonts singly, and then at the bottom, I highlighted some super fonts packs by two of my favorite type foundries. So scroll through this post to see some of the best vintage modern fonts from this year, and be sure to check the bottom and see the font packs, too 🙂
“You’re my little star,” said no one to me ever. But if they did, I would wish they write it with this script. Etoile is a totally fine species of modern vintage font, combining everything from the geometric whimsy of its terminals to the clean-cut, heightened stems that look like stilettos. This font was created by Swedish designer Stephanie of MadebySte Studio, and I can’t wait to see what else she creates!
We’re traveling back in time a few hundred years with the antique serif font Cyrano. Named after the famous French play about love and loss, this slim, glamorous uppercase font doesn’t know whether it belongs on the poster for the Grand Opera or on the title of Vogue’s feature story. In fact, it could be both places and still be lovely. Cyrano features slim letters with sharp serifs, a few delicately placed wavey modern letters, and easy access to alt characters just by switching to upper- or lower-case.
Bornice is a high-contrast, attention-grabbing modern vintage font that somehow reminds me of a volcano explosion. Whether it’s the bright red text on the cover images or the editorial illustrations of ancient Greece and Egypt, one thing’s certain: this font will grab your attention. I would love to see Bornice used on modern graphic art for slogans or comics. How would you use this font?
More esoteric than the other typefaces we’ve featured so far, Ethery is inspired by ancient Greek and possibly Blackletter, with its sharp, curved terminals and the extravagant uppercase letters. This is another excellent font for lifestyle and fashion branding projects. Just look at the product images if you need an idea of how to mix it with clean layout styles.
Fonde is an elegant, chic type whose best feature is its melting lowercase “f”. If its name reminds you of fondu, the French classic melted cheese, you couldn’t be blamed. But instead, I imagine a damsel swooning in a flowing white dress or melting into the scenery. Fonde, the font, is ideal for modern minimalist magazines and branding projects. It would also work well with the current romantic minimalist trend going on in Instagram graphics. You can download Fonde for your projects here.
Kassan is also designed by Studio Aurora, the creator of Skylight. This is a totally unique font that comes in oblique (italic) and regular styles. This typeface has several alternates and ligatures with nesting characters and symbols, helping you create endless looks with your type. Kassan is billed as a luxury display font, and I could see it used for many branding projects and magazine type.
Grand Duke is a misshapen, quirky font with some interesting ligatures that makes vintage cool again (as if it were ever out of style…). This font isn’t quite sure what it wants to be, which is a bit of its charm. But being a thicker display font, Grand Duke works best for titling and large text. This fun font reminds me of some other modern classics from the Pangram Pangram foundry like Gatwick, Hatton, and Agrandir.
This famous font is straight out of the 1920s art deco scene but based on the popular Port font of 2013, the Port Vintage family has been featured in spreads from Time Magazine, Empire Magazine, by Scrabble, and many, many more. This highly stylized vintage serif is inspired by classics like Bodoni and Didot, but the new Port Vintage results in a flowing calligraphic font that you can use artistically. With hundreds of ligatures and geometric, flowing lines, this font is a modern classic. You can buy the Port Vintage family in single weights or as a full family set.
Algiers brings us back to whimsy and nostalgia with its gently curving stems and wavy crossbars. Sometimes you see a typeface that reminds you of several others that you like, all in one. If that’s so, this would be Algiers for me. The name, of course, is French for Algeria, so I like to think of lazy beaches and Roman ruins… minus all the war and stuff. See if Algiers is right for your next project on Creative Market.
Studio Aurora hits it again with Musque, a delicate ligature-based typeface that sings of ancient beauty. Unique, creative, stylish, and elegant are words that you could use to describe Musque. Like their other fonts (see above), Musque is best used for titles and branding. I think you could create some great typographic posts with this font.
Gaia is Mother Earth, and this unusual modern typeface is supposed to symbolize that with its feminine flourishes set against a straight sans serif base. Still looking for the connection? Me too, but never mind, because this is one cool typeface that will help your projects stand out. Gaia does embody the minimal brutalist style that’s become popular in web design and social media in 2020. So you can use this font for headlines and short body text anywhere you need to make an impact.
Skylight is a chunky and irregular sans serif display font. Possibly inspired by the 1950s but with a modern twist, this typeface looks great in high-contrast settings. Think bold social media graphics, posters, album artwork, and fashion magazines. While the product mockups are black and tan to keep the minimalist vibe, I would love to see this font in orange and black or set brightly against a gradient backdrop. Skylight comes with multi-lingual support for about a dozen languages and contains many alternates and ligatures.
I can’t get enough of the new brutalist look, so our next modern font is Atelier (named after its designer, Duet Atelier Studio). Again, we have another vintage-inspired sans serif that looks best bold. This font features prominently (or seems to, anyway) in some of the product shots for the studio’s other design products (which are amazing, by the way). Check out the full product feature for Atelier’s usage suggestions and then buy it to make your work look amazing.
Gallery typeface layers on the curves. This modern font makes you feel like you’re standing on a breezy beach with seagulls swopping around in the wind (not the bothering kind) and waves rolling in. As its name suggests, Gallery is a work of art and would gladly grace the covers of magazines, posters for art and film festivals, or modern design collectives. I would also like to see it in perfume advertisements (#sideprojectidea).
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this or any of New Tropical’s typefaces, and I’ve featured several of them before in my other roundups. In fact, I want to feature every font from New Tropical Design Studio, but they just launched a new font bundle with all of their modern favorites ❤️.
Modern Font Bundle III includes some of my other favorites, like Monte Carlo, Culture, and Zephyr. I can’t help splurging on these bundles, even though I’ve yet to use all of the awesome typefaces. But if you’re doing branding or graphic work with that elevated look, don’t wait for another second and invest in this modern font bundle now.
Anything from PangramPangram
I mentioned earlier about PangramPangram. Why am I putting them at the bottom, then? It’s another case of too many fonts to choose from. Luckily, though, you don’t have to! PP has a fonts starter pack where you can try some of their best-sellers for only $25. Use this link here to get it.
Some of their fonts are so popular that they’ve been licensed by Canva (Agradnir, Hatton, Gattwick, and Telegraf come to mind immediately). Many of these professional font families might be out of range for hobby designers, but if you love them all and can’t decide, you can still try them for free.
That wraps up another in-depth font tour of the best modern vintage fonts of 2020. I’m sure I’ll keep adding to this list as type designers release more irresistible fonts.
While creating this latest font roundup, I was templated several times to rethink my own branding. Not very good for a brand designer, but… I do hope I get to use these fonts in an amazing project!
Want to see more fonts I love? I’ve made it a habit of curating my top picks from Creative Market. You can see all the latest picks here.
Or tell me where I can find your work using these fonts in the comments below!