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Inside Monotype’s 2024 Type Trend Report: What’s Type Telling You?

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 02/07/2024 | 4 Minute Read

“Type is saying things to us all the time.”

The opening of Monotype’s 2024 Type Trends report starts with this line from Gary Hustwit's 2007 typography documentary, Helvetica. Design trends are naturally influenced by the world we live in: current events and pop culture, technology and media, scientific discoveries, and the arts. Based on what we witnessed and experienced last year, the report explores what we are saying about our modern world—and how we choose to say it.

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The 2024 Type Trends covers notable happenings from the year before, like the Taylor Swift Eras Tour, the AI boom, war and displacement, social activism, and more. Through examining the current landscape, as well as type from a wide range of designers and agencies, Monotype has challenged itself and whittled down its Type Trends into ten critical directions for 2024.

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“We don’t limit ourselves to specifically ten trends. It just worked out that way again this year,” said Jordan Bell, typeface designer at Monotype. “Generally, we are looking for 8-12, but like last year, there are sub-trends that can be combined with others or stand on their own. Take, for instance, the 100% Natural trend. There are plenty of projects that are more DIY or handmade, but there are others that emphasize sustainability and health. These are two sides of the same coin in that desire for craft and a self-sustainable ethos.”

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Monotype’s Type Trends wasn't intended to be an all-encompassing report, but it does help paint a picture of our lives and allow us to ponder the future. With the rise of AI, the PROFESHINAL trend, as seen in brands like Radford, gives us quirk and character, something computer-generated work seems to lack, no matter how hard it tries. The Flux trend gives us dynamic action and movement with instantly eye-catching type—something that comes in loud and clear amongst a lot of noise, like in the custom typeface for The Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano.

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The team looked at a wide range of projects to complete the 2024 Type Trends, and some trends were more elusive, while others were high on the list of priorities from the beginning. Jordan pointed to the serif typefaces he feels he’s seen an influx of lately, as explored in the Return to the Serif trend. "They’re new, more traditional looking, serif typefaces that balance text and display purposes so well,” he explained.

“I was also seeing, and enjoying, a lot of this aesthetic that feels a bit like club fliers from the 2000s, or grunge or industrial albums,” he added. “It’s difficult to describe, but it has a powerful visual tone. It’s not a style I find myself using or implementing often, so I have huge respect for it.”

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Within the Type Trends, the juxtaposition of time-honored tradition and artificial intelligence is a prominent theme, which Jordan admitted makes our current times pretty strange. On one hand, we have technology moving at what feels like an unprecedented rapid pace, bringing us realities that are still very much surreal. On the other hand, the love for traditional methods remains strong.

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“I have been confused, inspired, amazed, and even a little scared after looking through some of these projects,” Jordan said. “I personally think folks will always appreciate good art, whatever that means, in whatever media or context it was made. Have I seen some really terrible AI art? Definitely. Do I think machine learning or AI could come in handy and potentially help our field? Sure, but it ultimately comes down to how we use it and where our priorities lie.”

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The Type Trends from Monotype looks back to look ahead. “Being a designer today requires navigating a myriad of challenges,” the report concludes—everything from deadlines to personal well-being and current events affects the work. And while 2023 was full of difficulties, Monotype states they’re excited about design in the year ahead. Jordan, too, feels this optimism as he looks to the future, inspired by the work that went into the 2024 Type Trends.

“I see a lot of freedom and joy,” he said. “Folks are creating in an unrestrained way, breaking some rules, and just having fun with it. Design can sometimes be a bit too stuffy or insular, and I think the moment we let that go and welcome new perspectives and people into our field, we can grow as people, firstly, and as an industry secondly.”