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Mid Century Modern Fonts Inspired by the 50s and 60s

Laura Busche March 31, 2021 · 3 min read
Designers and creatives have tapped into the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic for decades. While it emerged and became popular between the 40s and 70s, Mid-Century Modern has certainly made a comeback in the worlds of graphic, fashion, product, and interior design. Its geometric influences, vibrant color palettes, and clean lines continue to inspire creatives in virtually every field — and for good reason. We have discussed the history and features of the Mid-Century Modern style before, and this time around I’ll share some great examples of font families that are inspired by the movement. You’ll find high-contrast serifs, rounded sans serifs, and vintage scripts full of that distinctively Mid-Century naiveté. Ready to revive the optimism of the 50s and 60s? Let’s take a look:

Palm Canyon Drive

Inspired by California in the 40s and 50s, Palm Canyon Drive is a perfect representation of the post-war optimism that energized the Mid-Century Modern style. This monoline script is brought to you by RetroSupply Co. in collaboration with Hoodzpah Design Co. Learn more about shop owner Dustin Lee here.


Jen Wagner designed this classic sans serif trying to portray a modern-meets-vintage look. It’s an all-caps font with just the right amount of contrast so as to not overwhelm the eye and pair well with thin serifs. It’s a great option for headings and brand identity design, especially when you add a touch of grit or texture to further emphasize the aged look.


Nothing like a high-contrast, extended serif to bring out that playful Atomic era spirit. Kyle Benson created Jeames inspired by Mid-Century Modern geometry and sign painting.


Sylvester is a condensed sans serif with hints of Art Deco proportions. It features slightly low crossbars and geometric simplicity in both clean and rough versions.

Winston and Winston Sans

The 60s were also a golden age for advertising, especially around tobacco. In this context, the town of Winston Salem in North Carolina had become a key location for the industry: it served as the headquarters of several iconic tobacco companies. Designer Josh Carnley’s strolls around downtown Winston Salem inspired him to create Winston: a font that captures vintage signage and a bygone era when tobacco was king.


Lee Iley, the designer behind Cobalt 27, cites two main sources of inspiration for this type family: the Constructivist movement of the 1920s and the Brutalist architecture that became popular from the 1950s-1970s. Cobalt 27 features rounded terminals, lengthened ascenders/descenders, and a notably industrial aesthetic.


Typique is an actual revival of a 1930s font: Section Type created a digital adaptation of a vintage typeface’s printed forms. The result is a font that feels familiar (think Futura) without losing authenticity and personality.

Display Gothic 1958

If you’re looking for a font family that lends itself to shadows and volume, Display Gothic 1958 is a great place to start. Its shadow variant adds instant visual interest to headings while remaining legible.
Add some bright pastels or bold patterns to text styled with any of these font families and you’ll convey that authentically Mid-Century Modern look in no time. Infuse your next design project with the spirited simplicity of a post-war era where society went back to celebrating life’s little joys.
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About the Author
Laura Busche

Brand strategist. Creating design tools to empower creative entrepreneurs. Author of the Lean Branding book. MA in Design Management from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

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