In typography, a serif is a small extension that exists at the end of a longer stroke, such as the leg of a letter “R” or “M”. A sans serif font is a font without serifs. Sans-serif fonts have been around since the eighteenth century and became popularized in the nineteenth century. Sans-serif fonts are used a lot in the modern world, especially on digital interfaces/screens since they are easier to read because of their simpler design.
Top 10 popular sans serif fonts of 2020.
These are some of the best sans serif fonts used by designers around the world. Feel free to use one or more of them in your next design project.
Helvetica is easily the most popular typeface in the world, loved by many designers, and used in the logos of top brands such as American Airlines, 3M, and more. Helvetica was developed in Münchenstein, Switzerland at the Haas type foundry. It was built to compete with the sans-serif typeface Akzidenz Grotesk and Helvetica has since grown to surpass it in popularity. Helvetica was initially named “Neue Haas Grotesk”. In 1961, it was renamed to Helvetica (Latin name for Switzerland) when the German Stempel foundry produced versions.
Helvetica is designed as a strong font family, with condensed and extended forms and extreme weights adapted and added later. There’s no doubt that Helvetica is the most popular sans serif font of 2020 and will stay relevant for a long time to come.
Avenir is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed in 1987 by Adrian Frutiger. “Avenir” is French for “future”, which is fitting since Avenir is based on Futura, another very popular geometric typeface. Avenir was meant to be a more organic interpretation of the geometric style; it has thicker vertical strokes than the horizontals, shortened ascenders, and an “o” that is not a perfect circle. These nuances make the typeface more legible and harmonious. Avenir was originally released in 1988 with three weights, and more weights were released from 2004 – 2007. Avenir has since been had widespread use and has been used in the products of popular brands and as the primary typeface for corporate identities.
3. Helvetica Neue
Helvetica Neue is a modification of the popular Helvetica font, made to have better uniformity between the different weights. Just like Helvetica, Helvetica Neue is one of the most popular typefaces used by designers. This typeface was designed by Max Miedinger and others, then redesigned in 1983 by Stempel AG. Currently, the font family has 51 different font weights. Unlike Helvetica, the Neue Helvetica sets new standards in terms of its form and number of variants. It is a powerful sans serif font, timeless and neutral, and can be used for all types of communication.
Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed by Paul Renner and released in 1927 by the Bauer Type Foundry. It was designed to compete with the Erbar typeface of 1926. Futura is based on geometric shapes, especially the circle, almost matching the Bauhaus design style of the period. The typeface is based on strokes of near-even weight, which are low in contrast. Lowercase letters have tall ascenders, which rise above the cap line. Futura uses nearly-circular, single-story forms for the letters “a” and “g”. The uppercase characters have proportions similar to those of classical Roman capitals. Futura is a symbol of efficiency and forwardness.
This geometric typeface family was designed/released in 2000 by American type designer Tobias Frere-Jones. Gotham has a relatively broad design with a high x-height and wide apertures. Since its creation, Gotham has been used in notable places such as Barrack Obama’s presidential campaign and MSU branding. Gotham was developed for professional use and has an extremely large family featuring four widths, eight weights, a rounded version, and separate designs for screen display.
Gotham is a hard-working typeface for the past, present, and future. Gotham may be a relatively new typeface, but it somehow feels so familiar. It has an honest, assertive, friendly, and confident tone. Its lowercase, italics, range of weights/widths, lowercase, and other original ingredients give Gotham a sense of sophistication and heightens its expressive voice.
6. Proxima Nova
Proxima Nova is a typeface developed in 2005 by typeface designer Mark Simonson. It is a complete reworking of Proxima Sans, which was released in 1994 by the same designer. Proxima Nova bridges the gap between typefaces like Futura and Akzidenz Grotesk. The result is a hybrid that contains modern humanist proportions while having a geometric appearance. In the short time of its existence, it has become one of the most popular fonts and is being used on thousands of websites around the world.
Arial is a versatile sans-serif font family designed for legibility in digital environments such as mobile devices or desktop screens. It was designed in 1982 by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders. Arial was created to a metrically-identical but cheaper alternative to the popular typeface Helvetica. Documents designed Helvetica could be displayed and printed correctly without having to pay the somewhat hefty cost of a Helvetica license. Arial has since become a staple for textual content, making it one of the most popular fonts of devices and the web. Out of the 1 million most popular websites, over three0fifths of them use Arial.
Optima is a versatile humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Hermann Zapf in the year 1958. Due to its subtle swelling at the terminals, Optima gives off the impression of a glyphic serif, but it is classified as sans-serif. Optima was inspired by classical Roman capitals and carvings on Renaissance-period tombstones. True to its Roman heritage, it has wide, full-bodied characters – especially in the capital letters. It was designed to be a typeface for body text and tilting.
Optima is distinctive and attractive, while not sacrificing legibility and versatility. Optima can both stand out and fit in, and there are few projects outside of its range. It is the epitome of a gregarious typeface and it works well with many serif designs and a lot of sans serif faces. Despite its old age and heritage, Optima has remained a popular sans serif font in these modern times. Needless to say, Optima will stay popular through 2020 and beyond.
Univers is a neo-grotesque large typeface family designed by Adrian Frutiger. This typeface is notable for its availability of a wide range of weights and widths since its launch in 1957. At the time of its release, Univers showed that a family of typefaces should be consistent and related in design, unlike earlier font families like Gill Sans. By having a consistent, related range of weights and widths, Univers allows documents to be created using a consistent typeface for all text. If Helvetica provides the strongest central designs while sacrificing uniformity across the series, Univers provides a uniform series by strictly disciplining the central designs.
10. Gill Sans
We conclude this list of top 10 most-popular sans-serif fonts of 2020 with Gill Sans. Almost a century since its release, Gill Sans has remained a popular typeface among designers around the world. Gill Sans is a humanistic sans serif family that was designed by Eric Gill and released from 1928. Gill Sans is so popular and well-used because of its distinctive design with an almost-limitless range of use. The typeface is so unlike other sans-serif typefaces out there, having Roman character-inspired shapes and proportions. It has a wide range of styles such as Light, Regular, Bold, Ultra Bold, and more, with each style having its own vivid personality.
Gill Sans’ designer integrated his own warmth and humanity into his design, creating a near-ubiquitous typeface in which each weight has a distinct personality and will make for an eye-catching headline.