The 80s typography was loud, but also had a sense of simplicity as well. The typography seemed like it contained two opposite characteristics at the same time. For this reason though, I love the 80s typography. I personally divide the 80s typography in two different categories; one is round, and the other is geometrical. Although those two characteristics are very different stylistically, both styles had bright, vivid font with a darker background, with futuristic-metropolis feel.
Bubbly handwriting styles were a trend in the 70s, and this style choice bled over to the 80s. Of course though, designers did not keep the exact same style but rather made a different variation of it. If the 70s typefaces had mostly rounded corners, but in the 80s typefaces were less rounded, and instead got bolder. Rob Roy Kelly invented the first, and original rounded font in 1938. The 80s were a revival of the geometrical font style, but also had a more futuristic, rounder form.
In addition, the color palette shifted from softer colors to strong, bright colors, and there was often the use of strong color contrasts. To make the contrast dramatic, neon coloring was popular choice often used. As a result, most of the typography during the 80s looked very futuristic.
During the 80s, the Sci-Fi genre in entertainment was back in style, people were obsessed with technology, and cyber punk was popular. At that time, technology started becoming much more advanced and used by many more of the general public. Its growth made people wonder in excitement what would happen in near future due to this fast-paced technology development. As people’s expectations had changed, people soon expressed their ideas of was to come through art, and movies as seen from the example of movie posters below. This had a big part to do with all the many movies in 80s that had robots, advanced technology, and the future.
At the same time, geometric shapes had started to have its place in typography. It looked more “cyber,” and digital like than rounder fonts. Bold San-Serif fonts were being used extensively, especially in movie posters. Examples of this usage can be seen in the movie posters of is Star Trek, The Terminator, and Tron.
Either the angular fonts or the neon color palettes were used even if the films were not so related to Sci-Fi. For example, License to Drive (comedy), or Cocktail (romantic comedy) used a digital-look design even though they were completely opposite from the Sci-Fi genre that inspired the design’s creation.
Trends and styles repeat themselves, and come back into fashion, use, and style. Each time period’s style reflects the time’s different values or societal ideas. The 80s typography was from 50s, which had bold San-Serif. And now, the 2010s, the bold San-Serif style has come back, showing a new, but in ways similar to the 80s, reflection of our generation, which uses bold San-Serif with strong color contrast. Today, designs use rounder fonts. Companies prefer to use softer San-Serif fonts because it looks friendly, and trustworthy, and this that is suited for the Internet generation.