Typography trends for 2018, 2. Neutral & universal

What typography trends are forecast for 2018 and how can you use them?
2. Neutral & universal

By Sarah Hyndman

Part 2 in a series of posts looking at typography trends that we predict will influence graphic design in 2018, and explaining how you can incorporate each trend into your work.

1. Vernacular2. Neutral & universal3. Personality4. The return of flares & serifs5. Colour fonts6. Variable fonts7. Fashion / 8. Trend forecasters


2. Neutral & universal

HOW TO USE THIS TREND: select a neutral and easy-to-read typeface family when you wish to be clear, accessible and for type to function like an invisible carrier of words. You may wish to combine this with a more decorative typeface for titles or headings, or to add a complimentary serif typeface to vary the tone of voice.

Geometric and neutral sans serif type styles continue to be ubiquitous, both as existing styles licensed from type libraries and for bespoke typefaces commissioned by companies. The current top three most popular typeface in the Typekit library are geometric sans serifs (Proxima Nova, Futura and Museo Sans). At number one is Proxima Nova Designed by Mark Simonson, which is a huge family of 48 sans serif fonts that gives a great deal of flexibility for designers to use across all touchpoints. Some font superfamilies also have serif fonts paired with the sans serifs, giving you the option to mix and match type styles harmoniously.

Image source Mike Abbink, Twitter.

Increasingly companies are commissioning their own bespoke typefaces—this gives them their own unique identity, and for a large company this can be cheaper than paying the licensing fees to use an existing font. IBM and Google released their own typefaces last year. While both include serif faces, the main sans serif styles fall firmly into the neutral sans serif category. “As far as I can tell, they are searching for the perfect font that will work in a browser or in print that is easily readable,” says design director Mark Hyson.

Image source Monotype

Both typefaces have also been made freely available to all. IBM Plex was commissioned as a substitute for Helvetica Neue, while the Google Noto (‘no more tofu’) typeface includes more than 100 writing systems, over 800 languages, and hundreds of thousands of characters and is aiming to become the ultimate universal font.


Post 3 will look at sans serif typefaces with personality.

Would you like to learn more about typography? Get in touch with Sarah here to book a Type Tasting workshop or event that teaches you about type trends through history and the psychology of typography with lashings of interaction, games and activities.

Sarah Hyndman is the founder of Type Tasting, she is a regular public speaker, researcher and the author of both Why Fonts Matter and How to Draw Type and Influence People.