Swashy Retro - The Rising Font Trend Everyone's In Love With

By on May 2, 2016 in Inspiration
Swashy Retro - The Rising Font Trend Everyone's In Love With

Gone are the days when standard, symmetrical serif and sans serif fonts ruled the font world. Today, there are tons of new font trends in typography - including one that has caught on with tremendous popularity: the swashy retro font. While there's no strict definition of a swashy retro font, most of the fonts that qualify have a few typical characteristics in common. First, they are usually all caps, and they exist as a sort of print/cursive hybrid. Next, they contain ornate swashes and swirls. Finally, they can appear messy and asymmetrical, and they often show some wear and tear.

Why have swashy retro fonts caught on recently? Their popularity most likely has arisen from the increasingly widespread acceptance and implementation of OpenType Features. With Adobe going full force with these features in Illustrator and Photoshop, font designers now have a lot of freedom to add fun, alternative character styles - often resulting in these swashy retro fonts! Check out the list of great swashy retro fonts below to see some great examples of this new typography trend.

1. Smoking Typeface

Smoking Typeface is a font with both a vintage and western feel. It is also re-colorable with a textured volume effect.

2. Brixton Line Pro

Brixton Line Pro is a clean, minimalistic swashy retro font that offers more than 80 stylistic alternatives to choose from.

3. Barn Door

A great example of the messy, "unfinished" font is Barn Door, which contains 2 versions of the font, numbers and icons.

4. Workhard

WORKHARD is an all-caps, handcrafted font created by Cellar Door.

5. Oak & Ash

Oak & Ash is a textured swashy retro font that contains 10 numbers, various glyphs, 26 letters, and 5 alternates.

6. Rumbell

For a particularly bold example, check out Rumbell, which was inspired by signs in the old store and garage billboard era.

7. Wayfarer

Wayfarer is a bold yet symmetrical hand drawn font, with several alternate capital letter options included.

8. Freestone

Freestone is a straightforward, but whimsical example of a serif swashy retro font.

9. Brooks + Bonus

If you're looking for a font with a truly vintage feel, Brooks + Bonus is just that; it was inspired by vintage poster and display signs.

10. Furach Typeface + Bonus

Furach Typeface + Bonus is an elegant example of swashy retro fonts, as it contains a full set of capital and lowercase letters.

11. Brawls

From Heybing Supply Co., Brawls is a bold typeface that contains both rough and clean letters, currency figures, punctuation and extra glyphs.

12. Butller + Extra

Butller + Extra is one of the best examples of a messy or rough swashy retro font.

13. Ballistic

Thirtypath has created a whimsical swashy font with Ballistic, which offers two alternatives for each letter of the alphabet.

14. Kodiak Font

Kodiak Font comes with two typefaces: regular and rough, and both are intended to reflect the beauty of nature and the wilderness.

15. Silverlake

Silverlake is a clean, minimalistic take on swashy retro typography, which offers both thin and bold options.

16. Kracktone

Kracktone is a whimsical and spooky typeface created by thirtypath.

17. Airpena

Airpena is a font that was inspired by the rusted and distressed hand drawn lettering once used on retro motorcycles.

18. Nations

Hustle and Supply Co. created Nations to be an Americana-inspired font.

19. Sortdecai

Sortdecai from Swistblnk Design Std. comes with uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation and accents.

20. Roaster

RetroSupply Co. describes its swashy font Roaster "like sweet, fresh espresso poured into a warmed ceramic cup."

21. Arthur

Arthur is a rough typeface, which is lends itself to a more rugged, wild feel.

22. Aberden Font

Aberden Font is a thin, minimalistic all-caps font that is both clean and full of personality.

23. Devious Typeface

The swashes in the Devious Typeface are particularly swirly, giving the font a slightly devilish twist.

24. Pine and Oak

Pine and Oak is an elegant swashy retro font that comes in 4 weights: light, regular, medium, and bold.

25. Jamoer Typeface

Jamoer is rounded, and its hand drawn feel is perfect for wedding invitations, clothing, and inspirational quotes.

26. Bronson

Bronson comes in four different styles, and it has rounded corners, which makes it well-suited for typing on curved paths.

27. Retrica

Retrica is perfect for photo overlays and vintage designs.

28. Bourbon Whiskey Typeface

Bourbon Whiskey Typeface is exactly the kind of font you'd expect to find on an old-fashioned whiskey bottle.

29. Banthers Typeface

Banthers Typeface offers both clean, classic letters, as well as ones with round and elegant swirls. It has more than 370 glyphs in total.

30. The Goldsmith

The Goldsmith is a serif font with both a regular texture option and a rougher, more vintage option.

With new developments in design technology, font designers now have the ability to create even more unique and inventive fonts - including those with a swashy, retro feel. Forget classics like Helvetica and Times New, and take advantage of these new type trends to add natural whimsy and flair to your designs.

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10 Comments

  1. OpenType technology has been around for many years, I think that's a lazy explanation for this "trend" in typography. Perhaps there's a more cultural explanation: fashion and music come to mine. Also, people are increasingly feeling more disdain towards technology and are responding to the overwhelming speed of our culture by unplugging and living a "simple", authentic life – they're being outdoorsy & rugged, collecting rocks, going camping, etc. Of course, most of these folks settle for a plaid shirt from Top Man and a beard, as they never learned how to paddle a canoe or pitch a tent. Anyway, I think this sense of authentic ruggedness is also informing trends in typography.

  2. Well said Jidoe. I believe Millennials are tethered to each other in a Borg-like existence. Savvy marketers know the Swashy Retro fonts provide an illusion of being connected to something real and organic on that hipster's mobile app.

  3. @Jidoe for me it's not about the existence of the core technology but it's acceptance and use. Photoshop FINALLY added solid Glyphs support in June... of 2015! That's how long it took Adobe to catch up. Having the industry standard graphics application implement an easy way to access alternate characters just has to have a ripple effect. I think your analysis about the rugged aesthetic is spot on, but I'm not sure it's fair to say that it's lazy to assume that Photoshop features affect design trends. Designer gets new toy, designer plays with new toy. Or at least I do :)

  4. It's probably a combination of both: the lumbersexual trend and the advances in technology available to designers!

  5. My area is more marketing than tech. My observations are more consumer based. I'm not in the Adobe trenches like you guys. As a product developer it's my job to keep track of new trends from creatives like yourself. Marketer sees new fonts, marketer uses new fonts on campaigns! I love it!

  6. Great post highlighting some awesome fonts!
    Thanks for featuring Kodiak font! And also using Create Your Own Mockups for the header image.

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