If you’re plugged into the world of art, design and typography, Monotype’s Type Trends report likely need little introduction. Compiled by the renowned studio which creates brands that matter via type, Monotype’s annual report is famous for acting as a guide as to how typography is helping to shape both culture and commerce.
Created for educational purposes, Monotype’s Type Trends reports are not so much an advert for the studio but a resource by which other people in the industry can get to the root of creative storytelling.
Comprised of 10 featured trends, which underscore how the increasingly digital world and the stresses of the past few years have compounded one another, the report demonstrates how designers are “quickly adopting bleeding-edge font technology” in order to create beautiful text in pioneering, virtual environments.
“This is not our work, but it’s great work,” said Monotype Creative Type Director Charles Nix. “This year, we explicitly sought to connect these trends to the times in which we are living. That is, the environment, the pandemic, the warpage of time, the rapid adoption of digital everything, social media as a vehicle for social change, nostalgia, questioning truth, diversity and unity, and of course, care for the self.
“The result is a celebration of the type industry as a whole, the art and the science that both reflects and contributes to driving our culture.”
Leading the charge of these ten featured trends are NF-Type and branding biodiversity. Love them or loathe them, there’s no ignoring that NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have been revolutionising the art world in the same way that cryptocurrency has disrupted the financial sector.
In something of a digital art gold rush, the news has been filled with reports of creators raking in millions thanks to their algorithmically generated artwork, and it looks like typography could be following in its footsteps.
“NFTs are creating a murmur, a mumble, a warble about opportunity and how we might innovate the way fonts are licensed and distributed in a decentralised marketplace,” the report explains. “Weird Whales by Obiwanbenobi via OpenSea, Brikfont by Craig Ward, and the Font DOT Community demonstrate how varied this category is and is becoming.”
Could we see typography becoming the latest asset monetised and distributed via the blockchain? With brands like WWE finding ways to distribute NFTs in a way that stays true to their identity and offsets any environmental concerns, there’s a strong argument to be made that typography could benefit and thrive in this environment. Although detractors of NFTs will need convincing before it becomes widely accepted.
Meanwhile, branding biodiversity is championed with the Neue Nouveau trend. Dealing with varying degrees of excess, this trend is exemplified by type with organic lines and dramatic curves that “speak to nature and biodiversity”. But on the other end of the spectrum, it taps into lettering that challenges legibility thanks to their “flowy forms”.
It speaks to the disruptive push-pull of the pandemic era, which sadly looks set to continue in one form or another in 2022. “LBDO by Universal Favourite and Visionair by Studio Airport are among those featured for delivering a malleable voice through type,” the report adds.
Other trends in the report speak to this broader, technologically-fuelled paradigm shift that looks set to shape typography and the world at large. Animated, hyper-kinetic typography has achieved lift-off after being primed by variable typefaces a few years prior, with the likes of Studio Dumbar, MIDI by Pentagram, and Andrei Robu Studio defining this trend.
Inclusion of diversity, as exemplified by Fast Company: Innovation by Design from Triboro, and Henkel by Interbrand, are part of another trend that sees culture at large “embracing inclusion in all its diverse, fluid, ambiguous glory.” Meanwhile, the slimmed-down, “soft-serve” trend from the 2021 Type Trends report is built upon with Swiss type foundry Dinamo Typefaces for the San Francisco Symphony.
All of which gives the impression that typography is in the midst of making its next big leap. Just as it morphed and evolved to meet the demands of the printing press or the dawn of the internet, type is once again facing new digital frontiers and exploring the unique opportunities they offer. And as well see over the rest of 2022, art and culture will inevitably accompany it on this journey.
“The 2022 Type Trends Report represents our favourite work from the past 12-ish months,” adds Monotype Creative Type Director Phil Garnham. “We are most proud of this report not for what it will say about Monotype, but for what it says about the type industry: That it is exploding with talent from all reaches of the global economy, that it is evolving with the pace required of a modern world, and that brand expression is rightfully taking centre stage in 2022 and beyond.”
View the whole Type Trends 2022 report here.