20+ Breathtaking Experimental Typefaces
Typefaces are so much more than mere tools for written communication. Not only does the choice of a right font help you transmit messages in a striking way, but it also adds desired context and personality to any project, be it a book, a website, packaging, or brand design.
When it comes to experimental typography, the importance of lettering becomes indisputable. Experimental type is often at the epicenter of a project and can be so important that it becomes the designer’s primary visual tool. When handled masterfully, this kind of typography becomes bigger and more important than the message it was meant to convey.
Experimental typefaces can be purely artistic, comercial, or even used as a means of social engagement. But regardless of its use and character, it’s almost always powerful and potent. To show you just how dynamic and diverse typefaces can be, we’ve selected 20+ examples of experimental typography that perfectly illustrate the unbridled power of fonts.
Lovello – Animated Typeface
Lovello is an experimental, animated font from the Animography studio. Essentially, this is a highly-customizable, sans-serif kind of typeface. Each letter is made up of 6 strokes you can individually modify to create completely new and unique font styles. It’s possible to change the letter width, length, speed, visibility, color, as well as the offset of each stroke. In total, there are 64 controllers for you to play with, which allows you to craft an unlimited number of font variations adjusted to your needs.
Lovello also comes with 12 preset styles you can use as a starting point in your work. Customize them to your liking and create your own typography presets.
What makes this font particularly fit for any occasion is the possibility to use it in its basic form, i.e. as a filled, sans-serif typeface.
Kanibal is an award-winning font created by the young graphic designer Milos Zlatanovic. It’s a collection of various, seemingly unmatchable letters. From perfectly proportional, simple, and distinctly stylish letters, to illustrated and grotesque characters that appear to be on the move, every letter and consequently every word looks fresh and unpredictable.
But ultimately, the letters are harmonious and match well together, so you can use them for all kinds of projects, from fashion and pop culture, to science, sports, and politics. You can easily combine letters with subtle graphics and photos that’ll set the project’s tone, and then trust the Kanibal font to take care of the rest.
Stefan Sagmeister Typography
Typography is much more than just fonts and letters on a page. In fact, there are many examples of experimental typography performed in public spaces. Those temporary or permanent installations can carry an important message, and often employ a large number of people. Such was the typographic installation of Stefan Sagmeister on Waagdragerhof square in Amsterdam, which was laid out by more than 100 volunteers and built from 250,000 euro cent coins. This performance showed how typography can perfectly interact with the surrounding space, and how the impression it leaves on the observer changes depending on the weather and light conditions.
The Talas typography typography was custom made by the design agency Anti for a Norwegian beer brand called Talas. This typeface was created for practical purposes rather than purely visual demands. Every Talas letter is shaped like a bottle opener, which makes the font graphically interesting to look at.
Mondrian is a font created by Argentinian designer Tano Verona. It serves as an example in which the inspiration for the design of the typeface is drawn from the creative oeuvre of an artist (in this case, the great Piet Mondrian) or an artistic movement (here – neoplasticism). Precisely for that reason, fonts like this one are mostly used to pay homage to an artist. Other than that, you can’t really use them in other contexts due to their obvious connection to a specific art style. This kind of typefaces usually contains only the basic symbols (letters, numbers, basic interpunction).
Designed at the Spanish studio Resistenza, the Royale font features lots of ornaments that evoke the Italian spirit in a melancholy manner. This typeface is wide-ranging, in fact, much more so than it initially may seem. It comes in 8 weights and 4 widths you can further layer to create interesting polychromatic effects. It’s easy to imagine this font on sophisticated cosmetic and food packaging, on handmade products, as well as on movie posters.
Vicente Animated Typeface
Vicente Animated Typeface is another font made by the Animography design studio that specializes in designing animated fonts for Adobe After Effects. This is a highly usable, eclectic font with a unique illustrative character. The sharp contrast between thick and thin lines, combined with vibrant, effervescent colors, smooth motions, and unusual shapes makes you think all your designs need is this typeface and not much else.
Matter Company Campaign
There are many examples of experimental typography performed in the real world, usually by using natural materials, food or flora. Sometimes, these projects even feature landscape compositions.
Authors usually set these installations up so they could photograph them, and then use them on posters, graphics, etc. And very often, these projects can be challenging to arrange.
The possibilities seem limitless and that’s why we’ve decided to introduce you to a work whose quality lies not in its complexity but rather in its subtle and visually pleasing expression.
We’re talking about the Matter Company campaign of the Night Shift studio that was created for a skincare company. Carefully and subtly arranged flora arrangements that blossom through layouts shaped as classic sans-serif letters look sophisticated, unpretentious, and warm.
Love is the uppercase display font from French designer Jérémy Schneider. This sophisticated and elegant typeface, full of unusual shapes and proportions, has a wonderful flow. Big counter-forms and thin stems are beautifully contrasted. Each letter has at least 2 shapes, so you can create a myriad of letter alternatives. When combined with a large number of carefully designed ligatures, the Love’s rhythm becomes even more pronounced. It also gives a whole ‘homemade’ feel to your text.
Hygge Type Series
The Hygge poster is a personal project of the designer and illustrator Shaivalini Kumar. It’s the perfect example of how typography and letter forms can be a common starting point for authors who use illustration as a primary form of their artistic expression. Hygge is a Danish word used to describe ‘a feeling of coziness’, and this typeface represents the perfect hygge in the form of letters.
The Beauty of Scientific Diagrams
The Beauty of Scientific Diagrams is an illustrated typography by Khyati Trehan. It’s made up of hand-drawn letters. Each letter of the alphabet stands as the initial of some great scientist’s first or last name, and it also illustrates the inventions those scientists are most known for. Because of that, this typeface is a great choice for academic texts. You just have to make sure its visual and graphic qualities are in sync with the surrounding textual content.
Big brands often rely on visually rich and striking 3D aesthetics to communicate with their customers. In such projects, typography is often really important, or central even. Pringles Galaxy is a 3D typography created by Chris Labrooy for Pringles. It’s designed so that the letters symbolize the ingredients Pringles products are made of. Just by looking at them, you’re bound to think of that specific Pringles flavor. The ways in which you can use 3D fonts are virtually limitless as they can convey any kind of message you want.
Criatipos Perhappines Mural
Criatipos Perhappiness is a typographic mural created by Christina Pagnoncelli and Cyla Costa, two visual artists from Brazil. The mural is painted in Brooklyn and it serves as a great example of social activism. It was created as an homage to Brazillian poet Paulo Leminski. The narrow, decorative typography is at the forefront of this project. The letters are also beautifully adorned with warm and impressive floral illustrations.
Mónika Rudics’ Typop-Up Book addresses the basics of typography and typographic rules. The letters are richly illustrated with modern colors and textures, and are further accentuated by stunning pop-up effects.
Solutions like this are great for design projects where a user comes into direct contact with the product. Besides books, similar examples of interaction can be found in packaging design. But interaction design is not restricted to typography only, and is obvious in other design elements too, such as illustrations, etc. Because of their interactivity, these solutions are ever-interesting. They often outlive their original purpose and become a separate object with a whole new value on their own.
Inner West Identity
The visual identity of the Inner West brand serves as an example in which typography, used in a logotype design, has extended its purpose and has become a means of communication between the brand and its users. Visually rich and fluid, made up of simple, modular shapes, this type of font can be a great starting point for a myriad of projects. It can be used in the design of basic marketing materials, when creating decorative murals, in various types of campaigns, for spatial identification, and illustrative infographics.
The Valaire’s Oobopopop album cover was created by Canadian creative studio Caravane. It looks like a visually rich set in which masterfully designed and carefully placed letters have an important role. The whole scene, typography included, is not computer-generated, but produced on the set and then photographed.
Copenhagen is an animated font by Mat Voyce. It serves as another example of how simple letterforms can become a canvas for artists to express themselves. Every letter represents an autonomous thematic unit. The animations are gentle and their rhythm is uneven. But they align in perfect harmony when all 10 letters are placed next to each other forming the word – Copenhagen.
Finansleasing Evolution Campaign
The scope of the Finansleasing Evolution Campaign was to demonstrate the benefits of leasing over buying. Some visually interesting solutions were created for this project, mostly by using various stylized graphic elements, such as cars, computers, printers, and other additional equipment. When put together, these elements create some pretty surprising typographic units that overpower the purpose of their basic components.
Campaigns like this mix the aesthetic of a premium product with recycling, and the artistic expression with functionality.
Fox Tale Gin packaging
Hand-drawn typography is at the forefront of the Fox Tale’s label and packaging design. It’s adorned with lots of details and ornaments, often in various colors and made of different materials. In most cases, it can stand as a caption on its own, independently from the brand logo. Its purpose is to capture the viewer’s attention, to stun, and to glue together all the surrounding design elements. This visually sumptuous style is further enriched by the use of embellishments and rich textures.
Chingones hasta en la muerte
The Chingones hasta en la muerte campaign was made for Victoria beer, in celebration of the Day of the Dead. Even though it was created using the 3D animation technique, its multiple glossy, plastic-looking objects leave no impression of perfection, but preserve the warm feeling hand-crafted items emanate. The pleasant sensation is further enhanced by the way in which other design elements and materials are stylized.
Cities in Motion
Cities in Motion is an impressive project of the Dutch studio Dumbar. It is a series of motion graphics made for info screens located in railway stations across the Netherlands. Each graphic depicts the name of the corresponding city in a playful, visually-pleasing way. As such, they capture the travelers’ attention and fulfill their primary, informative role. The Studio Dunbar has designed and developed a special kind of typeface for this project, with letters that change their shape according to a self-developed script.
Experimental typography is a great art form that can make your projects really come to life. Each example we featured in our list simply oozes creativity and leaves a lasting impression on the user.
As you could see, there are no limits to which elements, materials, textures, and techniques you can combine to create stunning typography pieces. Striking typeface choices can help you accentuate the message or emotion you want your projects to convey. Just be open-minded, explore what some of the best type foundries have to offer, and don’t be afraid to use groundbreaking techniques in your work.