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The Year of the Serif

After a year of turmoil, people are responding to things that are tried and true. In 2021, typographers are returning to solid, dependable serif fonts. Raw or rustic or rococo, these dynamic fonts have little in common with Times New Roman.

Why Serifs?

Serifs offer a classic look, one that tends to feel reliable and trustworthy. So it’s no wonder brands are looking into serif fonts as they aim to reassure consumers after a hectic and unpredictable pandemic year. At the same time, expect to see fun and energetic serif fonts make a comeback.

The Trends

Everything from advertising to entertainment today is steeped in nostalgia, and that trend remains true for fonts as well. Fun and retro serif fonts will make an appearance this year as brands try to lighten the mood after a difficult year.

Clean fonts with a rounded feel, like fonts that remind consumers of the 1970s, offer a smart way to combine the seriousness you’d expect from a serif font with the lighter tone of a sans serif. A font like Juana offers an unexpected play on the 1970s, falling squarely in line with the new retro trend that will continue to define font choices this year.

With plenty of off-kilter curves, retro fonts add some flair and get consumers excited—though they’re usually a little cleaner than actual period fonts. Don’t be afraid to take some inspiration from 70s color schemes as well, draping your fonts in neon colors and rich primaries.

Look for serif fonts that can project seriousness, while also offering a dash of playfulness—a font like Temeraire, for instance, might feel heavy at first but play around with its italics and you’ll discover some kooky variations that lighten its effect.

How to Choose

Font preference is a spectrum, of course, and you can expect to see a number of brands still erring on the side of elegance this year—and that’s perfectly okay. Deciding if you want your brand to present as quirky or refined can be a great starter question—and if you do decide on elegance, Abstract, with its clear, no-nonsense approach, can be a great place to start.

If you settle on quirkiness, Quincy can be a great all-purpose serif font. Thanks to its solid, rounded curves, Quincy projects authority and fun, which is why you can expect to see it cropping up pretty much everywhere this year.


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