Want to make a splash? A display typeface is a perfect way to create impact and interest in your designs. In this guide to display fonts, you'll learn what display and decorative fonts are, you'll understand where and how to use them, and you'll see some wonderful display font examples.
Let's get started!
What Is a Display Font?
Let's start with a display typeface definition. The clue's in the name: display fonts are designed to be displayed at a large scale. Think headlines, banners, signage, or even billboards.
Whereas body text tends to feature simple, clean fonts that are easy to read, display fonts can be bold, daring, playful, and decorative. They're usually used for just short phrases rather than whole paragraphs, so they can include some touches of personality that would become tough to read when used more extensively. A little goes a long way with display fonts.
What Are Decorative Fonts?
Decorative fonts make really good display fonts. They tend to have a lot of embellishments and unique features like swashes, ligatures, and alternates. That makes them ideal for creating a splash with a short piece of text like a headline or banner. But because they can be hard to read, decorative fonts tend not to be used for body text.
Here's an example of a decorative display font:
Learn more about display fonts in this video:
A Brief History of Display Fonts
What is a display font? What are decorative fonts? And what is the best place to use a display typeface? Discover the answers to those questions and more in this video.
Here are a few display font examples. We'll look at more in the next section.
Get a more detailed display typeface definition and see some great display font examples in this article:
Examples of Display Fonts
There are many different kinds of display fonts. Anything that's attention-grabbing and would work well at a large scale could be considered a display font.
In this section, we'll look at some trendy display fonts in the following categories:
- Slab serifs
- Script and brush fonts
- Art Nouveau fonts
- Art Deco fonts
- 80s fonts
As we saw in our guide to serif fonts, serifs are those small strokes on the ends of letters. With slab serifs, those strokes are much thicker and blockier than usual, giving them a strong impact and making them some of the best display fonts out there. Here are a few examples:
Script & Brush Fonts
Script fonts mimic human handwriting, so they can make really good display fonts. The same goes for brush fonts, which incorporate some of the energy and style of brushstrokes. Check out these trendy display fonts to get an idea of what you can do:
Art Nouveau Fonts
If you're looking for an ornate, decorative display font, Art Nouveau is a great style to use. It's exuberant, artistic, and elegant. Learn more about the classic features of the Art Nouveau style in this video, and then browse the display font examples below to see how you could use it.
Art Deco Fonts
Think of the classic styles of the 1920s and 30s, and you're probably thinking of Art Deco. The fonts of this era use bold geometry and symmetrical designs, along with quirky details, to create a feeling of glamour and excess. When you want a decorative display font to give your designs a touch of class and a hint of luxury, an Art Deco typeface is a great choice.
Another great era where you can find some of the best display fonts is the 1980s. The Eighties were all about loudness, bright colors, and bold designs. That makes them perfect for display typefaces. Get some retro 80s inspiration below:
If you want to learn more about other types of fonts, watch these two free courses:
Free Course: Typeface Classification
Knowing when and how to use a specific typeface can mean the difference between good and bad design. But how do we know which one to use and when? This is what you’ll learn in this introduction to typeface styles.
When to Use Each Font Type (and When Not)!
Building a good font collection is like having a closet. You need to have a range of different font types and to know how and when to use them. In this video, you'll learn about the different types of fonts and when to use each one.
When to Use Display Fonts
So when would you want to use a display font? As we've mentioned, any time you want to make a strong impact at a large scale, a display typeface is a good choice.
You can use display fonts in web design (think banners and headers) or in print design (titles, pull quotes, etc.).
Here are some other great places to use display fonts:
1. T-Shirt Designs
T-shirts are perfect for display fonts—they typically feature only a small amount of text, but you want that text to make a bold statement and grab people's attention as they're walking past. Find the perfect font for your T-shirt slogan by clicking this button:
2. Book Covers
Trendy display fonts can take a good book cover design to the next level. Remember, the goal is to catch the attention of shoppers amid thousands of other books on the shelves, so a unique display typeface is ideal for that. Get some recommendations for various genres here:
3. Movie Posters
Here's another situation where you want just a few words to catch viewers' attention immediately. Often, you'll just use a display font for the title and quick tagline, with the rest of the poster devoted to graphics and the smallprint.
Find the best display fonts for movie posters by clicking below.
Restaurants and other food businesses can use display fonts in many places. Think signage, menus, logos, interior decor, and more. A good display typeface can help customers to identify with your brand, and you can find the right one in this roundup:
Display fonts are great for signs because they can be seen from a distance and make a great impact. Why not take inspiration from those old Broadway signs and put your business's name up in lights with a marquee font?
Popular Display Fonts
If you're still looking for more of the best display fonts, don't worry! Envato Elements offers thousands of fonts, so you can find exactly the right typeface for every project you work on. Here's a selection of six trendy display fonts on Envato Elements:
Find more wonderful display font examples on Envato Elements.