The Most Used Fonts of the 21st Century
The 21st century in fonts. Typography plays a bigger role in the way a century looks than one might think. To create any type of advertisement, literature, or website you need to use at least one font.
In many cases, you can guess from which century a book or a print is by looking at the fonts alone. That is why the most used fonts of the 21st century have defined the look of our visual culture.
Fonts have stopped being only about words, and textbooks. They are so much more — they are part of the message. They help communicate the message before the person even gets a chance to read the text. In other words, typography is fascinating. Another interesting thing is that most iconic fonts used in the 21st century were not designed in this day and age. The majority of popular fonts were designed many years ago.
This font has a very contemporary look, even though Claude Garamond created it in the middle of the 16th century. Since then, typographers have redesigned the font many times, but its main elements have stayed the same. The font started gaining its popularity when The French Court adopted it in the 17th century. After that, it quickly spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
Nowadays, publishers and graphic designers frequently use as it a body font in many books, magazines, and other print materials. It is an easy-to-read and classy font. That is why there is no doubt to whether or not graphic designers will continue to choose it in the future.
Gill Sans (1926)
Gill Sans is an elegant font that Eric Gill, one of the best typists of the last century, has created. Many years have passed since then, but it is still one of the most used fonts of the 21st century. Graphic designers frequently use it in printing and to design website content. Gill Sans has inspired the creators of many iconic minimalistic san-serif fonts that came after it, including the following.
Even though it looks incredibly modern, this font will soon turn 100 years old. It is one of the earliest fonts that has gained a lot of popularity and has defined the look of this century. Paul Renner designed Futura at the peak of modernism. Constructivist artists and their attempts to understand the simple geometrical shapes and forms have inspired the creation of this font. Art historians also associate this font with the most famous school of art and design — the iconic Bauhaus. Its bulky and simple geometric forms turned the font into many designers’ favorite. That is why many modern movies and companies use the font in their branding.
Popular culture examples include the commemorative plaque that Apollo 11 left on the moon in 1969, and the credits of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Times New Roman (1931)
Thanks to the standard APA and other formatting styles, it seems like Times New Roman is everywhere now. That is why it is so surprising that Stanley Morison and Victor Lardent created the font for a very specific cause. The typographer and artist duo have created the font for The Times of London. The newspaper does not use the typeface anymore, but it has gained a lot of popularity thanks to the academicians. That is the main reason why it is a neutral font that is among the most used fonts of the 21st century. Considering the body of work that several generations of scholars, students, and designers have created using the font, there is no doubt to whether it is going to be one of the most popular fonts int he future.
Times New Roman is easy to read, and simple and enough to not intervene with the meaning of any text. In many cases that is exactly what academics are looking for in any font so no wonder it became so popular.
Helvetica is a masterpiece of a font created by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann. No designer will ever dispute the significance of this font. Helvetica has defined the look of graphic design starting from the second half of the 20th century. To this day it is one of the most used fonts of the 21st century. The font became a celebrity and inspired a cultural following.
The designer’s original intent was to create a font that shows zero emotions and thus is incredibly versatile. Its worldwide popularity certainly indicates that Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann have succeeded in their mission.
BONUS: the most used fonts of the 21st century are… all of them
The thing about the 21st century is that with the rise of digital culture, typography as an art form has gained a lot of popularity. For that reason, many other fonts can be considered a fair contender for the most used font of the 21st-century title. Just look at the numbers. There are currently over 300,000 fonts in the world, and many more are created every year. That is why the other defining feature of the most used typefaces of the 21st century is that the mishmash between all of them is what has dictated the look of a century.
It stopped being only about the paper. Now fonts are everywhere, starting from the screen of your phone. You read and come into contact with different fonts all the time. That diversity in the medium has allowed to create new typefaces and find them unique usages that would have been impossible otherwise.
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