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The A List Apart Blog Presents:

The Latest in Web Font Trends

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Ever since @font-face was introduced, our web font choices have grown tremendously each year. Web font trend data can help us make sense of all those new choices—and give insight into which typefaces are working well on the web, and which might even be overused. Let’s explore where we can find data on what’s popular now, and how we can use that information.

Google Fonts

The most popular Google fonts can be sorted by total views. The drastic difference in pageviews of Open Sans is quite impressive: it’s viewed more than three times as often as any other font. Here are Google’s dominant three for the last 30 days:

  1. Open Sans
  2. Roboto
  3. Oswald

Fonts.com

The Fonts.com blog updates monthly with its list of most-popular fonts. Trade Gothic was its top family for February 2014, moving up from the number two spot a year ago. Over the last year, Avenir Next has grown in popularity, while Din Next has declined. Fonts.com’s top three in February were:

  1. Trade Gothic
  2. Avenir Next
  3. Neue Helvetica

Font Squirrel

Filtering by “Webfont” and sorting by “Popularity” will yield us Font Squirrel’s most popular for @font-face embedding. Its top three:

  1. GoodDog
  2. Quicksand
  3. Open Sans

Typekit

Typekit doesn’t share the most popular fonts by view, but by most favorited. When it released the favoriting functionality in 2011, Adelle was the most adored, but has since dropped down a spot. Futura PT was number two and is now number five. Typekit’s most favorited three are:

  1. Museo Sans
  2. Adelle
  3. Proxima Nova

Font Deck

Want to look at the most popular serif, sans-serif, or script? You can do that at Font Deck, along with sorting all font families by popularity. Its top three overall:

  1. Proxima Nova
  2. Apercu
  3. Bliss

FontSpring

All fonts on FontSpring have web licenses available. Whether its list of popular fonts takes that into consideration is a bit unclear, but we see some common font friends that we’ve seen before. Its bestselling in the last 30 days:

  1. Proxima Nova
  2. Museo Sans
  3. Museo

Webtype

Webtype has a nice advanced filtering section, including an “intended size” filter for finding your perfect small or large type sizes. Changing the default filtering from “Most Recent” to “Popularity” gives us these leaders:

  1. Gill Sans
  2. Benton Sans
  3. Ibis

There are plenty of other choices for serving or downloading web fonts from, but you can see with a bit of digging, we can learn a lot about what’s been working well for others.

Using the data

How can we put this information to work? Here are some examples from my own experience.

I worked on a website in which using any paid third-party services was prohibited, but the team was hesitant to use free web fonts because appearing professional was critical. Looking at how popular the sans-serif fonts Open Sans, PT Sans, and Source Sans were on Google Fonts gave us the confidence to use one of those in production.

Another project started with the use of Futura, a font that is common to these popular lists and had been used in a few of my recent projects. I wanted to try something new, so I used those same lists for inspiration and tried out some of the fonts a little further down in the popularity numbers, and it helped refresh the design.

There’s no one way to look at this data, though. Maybe the top fonts are popular because they have fabulous font hinting, or maybe because they’ve been used on influential sites. It’s up to you to interpret the trends in the context of your project’s needs and goals—but watching them can help inform your next font choices.

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