What is a Modern Font?

In this brief walkthrough, we've outlined what is a modern font, so that you have some historical and stylistic context when choosing fonts for your next project. 

What is a Modern Font?
It's a common misconception that "modern" fonts are all new, but in fact, the first modern fonts were developed in the 18th century. These sharp and stylish typefaces corresponded with advances in printmaking technology. A French printer named Firmin Didot created the first official modern font in 1784.

The quintessential modern font has slender horizontal serifs, a pronounced contrast between thick and thin strokes, small apertures (i.e. openings in letters), and vertical lettering. 

Popular Modern Fonts
  • Futura: Designed in 1927, Futura is a highly influential sans-serif font. The seemingly perfect geometric shapes are easy to recognize, but they feel more friendly and welcoming than other modern fonts. That's why companies like Volkswagen and hip filmmakers like Wes Anderson have made Futura their trademark. 
  • Avenir: This geometric sans-serif is similar to Futura, but it has a more humanistic tone. As far as modern fonts go, Avenir is relatively new, but many companies are using it for headlines and logos. 
  • Helvetica: Perhaps the most popular font in the design world, Helvetica has an extremely versatile style. Used for signage, corporate logos, and website copy, this ubiquitous typeface can fit wildly different tones, depending on the context. 

If you’re looking for more examples of modern fonts, check out these twenty-five cutting edge modern fonts!
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