Your Guide to Radical Designs:
The Best 80s and 90s Fonts
The average person has three choices when it comes to fonts: Arial, Comic Sans, and Times New Roman. I’d honestly be surprised if more than 1 in 100 people knew fonts other than these three and while they’re great if you’re typing a presentation or an email—
They lack flavor.
All three font options are pretty much stock standard and designed to be easy on the eyes when you’re reading a blog (like this one), email, or article. Not exactly ideal if you’re looking to create a new design for your room, an album cover, or any artistic venture really.
Which is why, today, I’ll be broadening your artistic horizons with a few of the most captivating fonts, from two of the greatest time periods for internet artistry.
Let’s jump in.
The 80s was a decade that many consider the most transformational pop culture era EVER.
We’re talking fingerless gloves, gel-slicked hair, and fanny packs type of transformational. This time period was marked by some of the greatest names in music, the most iconic movies, and of course— the entrance of the personal computer into the average home.
Clunky cell phones and dial-up internet were becoming more popular, with dial-up allowing more and more pc users to trade ideas and designs online. Most of these ideas were marked by the wild eccentricity, bright colors, and wild patterns that characterized a lot of 80s fashion.
The fonts you’ll see today were inspired by that era.1. Endless Sunrise
Endless sunrise feels like Indiana jones, The Beastmaster and Beverly Hills Cop all came together and somehow had a baby. This handmade font was clearly inspired by 1980’s action films and symbolizes the adventure, heroism, and impossible odds faced by our once-favorite action heroes.
Of course, it softens the obviously serious nature of the challenges faced by action heroes, and invites lighter elements like humor and wit into the fray. Its loose design and bright colors are an eye-catching invitation that can be used in sports, music, film, and practically any other design project you can think of.
The font comes with upper case and lower case characters, punctuation marks, numbers, and support for multiple languages. It’s available in TTF, OTF, and WOFF formats.
For most people who lived through the 80s, it was a period characterized by eccentricity and eclecticism. Many cities picked up a stylish edge, rebranded, or reemerged as big figures in the cultural space.
Newark was one of those cities, making it the perfect inspiration for this perfect balance of attention-grabbing character, and sleek, simple design.
It’s a perfect font for posters, headlines, magazines, retro album or mixtape covers— you name it, Newark can capture attention and make your design pop.
3. Retro Signature
There’s probably not another font on the planet that screams “I’m an 80s baby” more than Retro Signature. This font carries the same eclectic energy that made most of the 80s such a radical period. It’s a hand-written masterpiece that can work well on Social Media posts, logos, personal branding, holiday cards, posters, or even just a signature on a wall of your room—
Especially if you’ve been using retro color themes.
4. Action Hero
If Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Jean-Claude Van Damme all popped a tab of LSD, then designed a font— this would be it.
Action Hero is a handwritten brush font that clearly draws inspiration from the styles popularized by 1980s action movie posters. It features two tones on every character that provide depth and contrast that many other fonts lack.
The font comes with upper and lower case letters, punctuation marks, underlines, and numbers, so you’ll have a ton of variety and options for creativity. Plus, if you want to venture across a language barrier or two, it comes with multi-language support.
5. Jassin- A Groovy Typeface
Jassin has barely squeaked its way onto this list, because technically, groovy typefaces take their inspiration from 70s era music albums and posters. Jassin though, does a good job of modernizing the original groovy design, decreasing the wild curves of the more traditional “bell bottom” styled letters and earning it a spot on this list.
It’s a fantastic font for clothing design and is also well-suited for posters, mixtape covers, and even book covers. It comes with everything you need for creating a personalized design including upper and lower case characters, numbers, punctuation marks etc.
Jumping Ahead to the 90s
As you can probably guess, the 80s and 90s were wildly different time periods. While some of the wackiness had carried over, most of the eccentricity had worked its way out of pop culture by the 90s.
Sure, celebrities still wore crazy outfits on the red carpet, but the 90s were characterized by things like: boy bands, innovative candy commercials, 3D movies, Gameboy and toy crazes, and one of the greatest sports eras we’ve ever seen.
We’ll start the 90s section off with Strippy, a stark contrast to the wild styles and colors that we’ve seen from the 80s so far. Inspired by movie poster fonts from just a decade later, strippy is a bold and “futuristic” font set that you can imagine on the walls of any of your local theaters.
If you happen to be a 90s baby who had the privilege of watching great films like Jurassic Park, 3 Ninjas, and Sister Act, then you’ve seen Strippy’s Roots.
This font is perfect for your next poster, or graphic tee design.
Bronxos calls us back to a time when collage cutouts from magazines and newspapers were a trademark of the pop-punk culture. Inspired by ideas of rebellion, non-conformity, and a anarchist society, Broncos is a simple but bold way to send your message.
It’s best suited for headlines, graphic tee designs, and posters.
3. Record Scratch Retro
Record scratch Retro is a major throwback to the look and feel of indie music and record fonts just before CDs took over the marketplace. It’s a clever mixture of sleek design, simple concept, and a hushed splash of contrast that gives its characters volume, and makes them pop.
It’s a great font for a number of uses and comes with all the works, including multi-language support just in case you’re feeling adventurous.
Thunderstorm is the kind of font that is a powerful mixture of 90s disco and Cartoony nostalgia. It’s a hand painted brush-type face and its sharp angles and elegant curves make it ideal for most types of aesthetic work— especially posters and canvas art intended to be a center piece rather than background art. Though it can also be great when used on T-shirts and logos.
The font has four styles, italic, bold italic, additional daring italic, and italic inline shadow. The font also comes with, the full works including upper and lower case letters, punctuation marks, symbols, and numbers.
A sharp contrast to Thunderstorm, Dust is a throwback to a time when school work was done in notebooks that used paper, and not notebooks that ran on electricity. A decade when talking in class was done with racing hearts and folded paper messages that you simply prayed the teacher never recognized.
Dust recaptures the spirit of notebook doodles, hating homework, and episodes of Pokemon after school.
Remember TRON? Sendha does.
Of course, Sendha is inspired by all things technological about the 90s Era. Pulling inspiration seemingly from projects like Duke Nukem, TRON, and Back to the Future. The 90s take on “futuristic” often involved right-degree angles, contrasting tones for depth, and of course— 3D imagery at every turn possible.
I dare you to guess what inspired this font.
Vaporfuturism was created by a designer who’s taken significant inspiration from the general Vaporwave aesthetic. Channeling the retro elements into the future for a peek into a vaporwave inspired world. It’s perfect for creating a variety of designs, or posters and since it comes with some backgrounds, this vaporfuturistic typeface can also be used for desktop backgrounds.
Of course— this text is pretty blocky, so it’s best when used in large print. A font size too small, and you risk having your print appear a tiny bit too angular and clunky.
8. Retrowave Space Font
This font is cousin to number 7 on this list and comes from the same creator. The difference of course, being a dramatically different base color panel, more emphasis on an “otherworldly” experience, and of course, oodles and oodles of space-themed backgrounds.
Well, What Are You Waiting For?
You’re by no means limited to the fonts on this list, but, you can use them as inspiration for your next design project, or even reference their creators and find other projects that you vibe with more.
If you feel like we’ve missed some of your favorites, then feel free to comment them below the article!