Experimental Typography: Tips For Creating Unique Fonts And Using Them In Web Design

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

Join me at the forefront of web design and digital marketing innovation. I am obsessed with web design, business philosophy and marketing performance.
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Have you noticed a surge in brands using experimental typography to convey their unique values?

Yet, whenever you try to come up with an experimental typeface, you either lack inspiration or end up creating something unusable. It can be a challenging journey, especially if you have no idea where to start.

Although experimental typography design thrives on creativity and breaking norms, there are still proven methods you can use to do it with success.

In this article, I’ll show you five strategies that help my team members at my web design agency in Chicago draw inspiration and come up with experimental fonts that hit the right tone.

You’ll learn techniques top graphic designers use to come up with experimental typefaces that win the audience. You’ll also learn when to use experimental typography in your web design projects and when to avoid them. When you’re done creating your first experimental fonts, I’ll show you how to implement them on your website without ruining functionality.

Let’s start!

Table of Contents:
Experimental typography

What Is Experimental Typography, And Why Is It A Rising Trend In 2024?

Experimental typography is one of the most notable graphic design trends in 2024.

It breaks free from conventional font structures. It plays with form, structure, and presentation. Experimental typefaces can be dynamic, incorporating elements like animation or 3D effects, or they might challenge traditional readability norms, adding an artistic layer to the textual content.

You have complete freedom when working on experimental typography projects.

But why do more and more design professionals opt for experimentation instead of using proven typefaces? Isn’t it a bit risky decision?

The rise of experimental typography is largely due to its ability to express a brand’s personality in a unique way. When done right, experimental typography evokes strong emotions and helps you create memorable visual experiences. Experimental fonts usually have an unexpected look, which makes them stand out.

But there’s more. Experimental typography fits perfectly with the latest trend: maximalist graphic design. This style is loud, full of colors, and complex. Experimental fonts are a natural choice here.

It offers a powerful way to make words jump off the screen and stick in visitors’ minds.

Tips and Techniques To Implement Experimental Typography In UI Design

The freedom to create something unique is thrilling, yet it can also be overwhelming.

If you’re struggling to get your creative juices flowing, here are some tips and techniques that can help you get inspired when creating experimental fonts.

1. Mix Different Typefaces Together To Come Up With Unique Combinations

Mixing different typefaces

A good starting point for experimental typography is just mixing different typefaces and seeing where it takes you.

Take a standard serif, pair it with a sleek sans-serif, or throw in a quirky script font into the mix. The results can be unexpectedly innovative and cool.

This technique is not just about creating something new; it’s about seeing the familiar in a whole new light. You’ll be amazed at how simple fonts, once combined, transform into something entirely different and eye-catching.

2. Create Layers Of Typefaces With Various Colors And Patterns

Creating layers of typefaces

Creating layers of typefaces is a great technique for adding depth to your design.

Start by selecting a base font. This will be your canvas. Then, layer it with other typefaces, each bringing its own personality. But don’t stop there. Add vibrant colors to each layer.

Now, let’s talk patterns. They can be subtle or bold, but they must always serve a purpose. Maybe a geometric pattern will give your design a modern edge, or a floral touch might add a hint of elegance.

Each element, from the boldest letter to the tiniest dot of color, should harmonize.

The experimental process here is about finding balance. The bold typography shouldn’t overpower the delicate patterns, nor should the vibrant colors overshadow the words.

As the final outcome, you’ll have a piece that’s more than just readable text. It’s a statement, a piece of art that embodies your artistic style.

3. Experiment With Your Own Handwriting To Create Unique Typefaces

Handwritten experimental typography

You don’t need to restrict yourself to using software when creating experimental typefaces.

Often, the most unique typefaces spring from something as personal and simple as your own handwriting.

In Alpha Efficiency, I frequently encourage my designers to start with their handwriting when brainstorming experimental typefaces. It’s fascinating how each person’s unique script can be the seed for a truly one-of-a-kind font. Handwriting carries an inherent character and personality that’s impossible to replicate with standard software tools. This personal touch can be a goldmine for creativity.

Once you have your handwritten characters, you can continue with experimentation.  You can overlay your handwritten letters with additional layers using design software or AI graphic design tools. You can adjust thickness, add color, incorporate patterns, or even animate your letters. The possibilities are endless.

The beauty of this approach is that it yields typefaces with an ‘organic’ feel, which is incredibly valuable, especially considering the rise of natural graphic design in 2024.

4. Try Experimenting With Glitch Fonts In UI Design

Glitch fonts examples

Experimenting with glitch fonts is worth it, especially if you’re aiming for a futuristic graphic design style.

When used thoughtfully, glitch fonts can convey a sense of dynamism and innovation. They can be an excellent tool for storytelling within a design. Glitch typography can reflect a brand’s forward-thinking approach, resonate with a tech-savvy audience, or simply add an element of surprise and modernity to the overall design.

Implementing glitch fonts in UI design requires a delicate balance. While it’s important to make the font visually intriguing, you also need to ensure that you do not sacrifice the user experience or make the reading process more challenging for users. That’s why I recommend using glitch effects selectively. Usually, headings are the best place for this kind of experimental typefaces.

Glitch fonts often work well with bold, neon-like colors that emphasize their digital nature. Experiment with vibrant color palettes to see how they interact with the glitch effect.

5. 3D Typography Can Be An Excellent Source Of Inspiration For Creating Experimental Typefaces

3D experimental typography

Integrating 3D typography into your UI design adds a layer of sophistication and modernity. It challenges you to think about text not just as information but as a vital element of the user experience.

Here are my suggestions for creating 3D experimental typefaces:

  • Depth and Dimension: Experimenting with 3D graphic design allows you to explore volume, space, and movement in ways that traditional typefaces can’t. Make sure to take advantage of that.
  • Lighting and Shadows: Experiment with lighting and shadows in your 3D typography. This can create a mood or atmosphere, from sleek and modern to soft and subtle, adding layers of meaning to your text.
  • Textures and Surfaces: You can apply different materials to your typefaces, such as metal, glass, or fabric, to evoke specific emotions or themes.
  • Animating 3D Text: Try bringing your 3D typography to life with animation. This could be as simple as a rotation or as complex as morphing shapes. UI animation adds an interactive element that can enhance the user experience.

When Should You Use Experimental Typography in Web Design?

Not every experimental typeface will bring you the desired results for your website design project. In order to create modern UI designs your target audience will love, you must carefully consider when to opt for an experimental approach and when to stick with more traditional typography in web design.

Use experimental typography when:

  1. Targeting a Creative Audience: Ideal for brands or projects that cater to an artistic, tech-savvy, or youthful demographic.
  2. Highlighting Key Website Areas: Great for headers, special announcements, or unique call-to-action buttons where you want to draw attention.
  3. Showcasing Brand Personality: Use it for brands with a bold or innovative identity that want to make a strong visual statement.
  4. Adding a Unique Touch to Promotional Material: Perfect for campaigns, product launches, or events where you want to stand out.
  5. Building Artistic or Portfolio Sites: Essential for portfolio websites or artistic showcases where creativity is the primary focus.

Use traditional typography when:

  1. Prioritizing Readability: Essential for content-heavy websites like blogs, news portals, and educational sites.
  2. Targeting a Broader or More Traditional Audience: Ideal when your audience spans a wide demographic, including those who prefer clarity and simplicity.
  3. Creating E-commerce Platforms: Best for e-commerce websites where clear, legible product descriptions and easy navigation are key.
  4. Conveying Formal or Professional Information: Necessary for corporate websites, legal platforms, or any site where professionalism is paramount.
  5. Ensuring Accessibility: It is important when designing for inclusivity to ensure that all users can access and understand the content.

Experimental Typefaces and Website Functionality – How To Overcome Potential Challenges

Incorporating experimental typefaces into your website design can be a thrilling process, but it’s vital to ensure that functionality isn’t compromised. Here are some tips on how to achieve this balance:

1. Collaborate with Developers: Utilize developer resources effectively. Working closely with your development team can help in implementing experimental typefaces without hindering the site’s performance. Developers can use their coding magic to integrate these typefaces seamlessly.

2. Optimize for Performance: Be mindful of the impact on website loading times. Display typefaces, especially those with complex details, can be heavy. Optimize font files or use web-friendly formats to maintain site speed.

3. Test Across Browsers and Devices: Ensure your experimental typography looks great and functions well across all platforms. Consistent testing during the site creation process helps in identifying and fixing issues related to different browsers and devices.

4. Prioritize Readability: While experimenting, keep readability in mind. The typeface should enhance the user experience, not detract from it. Avoid overly complicated fonts for body text.

5. Use CSS and JavaScript Wisely: Leverage CSS and JavaScript to bring in effects or animations associated with your experimental typography. This approach offers more control and is often more efficient than relying solely on image-based fonts.

6. Include Fallback Fonts: Always have a backup. In case the experimental font fails to load or isn’t supported, ensure there’s a fallback font that maintains the overall look and feel of your design.

7. Learn How to Implement New Fonts: Stay updated with the latest methods for font integration. For example, if you’re using Elementor, familiarize yourself with how to add font in WordPress Elementor to smoothly integrate your experimental typefaces.

Your Turn – Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment And Express Your Artistic Style!

Remember, in the realm of design, daring to be different can lead to the most remarkable creations.

Don’t shy away from testing out new combinations, playing with colors, or even integrating your own handwriting into designs. Let each project be a canvas for your creativity. Yes, there will be challenges, but with every challenge comes an opportunity to learn and grow.

Trust in your ability to blend aesthetics with functionality. Leverage the wealth of resources available, from developer tools to design software, and remember to always keep your audience in mind.

Most importantly, enjoy the process. The joy of creation is, after all, at the heart of every design process. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, your unique perspective is valuable. So go ahead, break a few rules, push boundaries, and let your experimental typography speak volumes about who you are as a designer.

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