Common typefaces in the 1980's?

sunny valence's picture

I'm doing research for a project where I need to use a font (for headlines) commonly used in the mid 80's. This does not seems like the easiest thing to find out, though, and I was wondering if anyone might have some information on the subject?

blank's picture

I bet you could find the answer in a library. Start with design annuals, then move on to books about advertising in the 80s, and from there to microfilm catalogs of 80s magazines and newspapers.

johndberry's picture

Any of the ITC faces from the 1970 or early 1980s would be likely candidates. Check out old issues of U&lc.

grshutters's picture

I agree, ITC fonts like ITC Souvenir, ITC Cheltenham and ITC Avant Garde all seem to be solid choices.

.00's picture

80s NY advertising just loved Futura ExtraBold Condensed.

Nick Shinn's picture

ITC Garamond and ITC Berkeley especially have the fine details for display.
Make sure to set them reeeeeeeal tight.
In fact, that style of setting is more significant as a marker of the era than the choice of typeface.
This from Typsettra:

But that tight look for headlines, which began in the 1960s, was passé by mid decade, replaced by heads that were tracked out.

That was for mainstream.
Alternatively, Punk was the look 1977-1984, with collaged heads where many fonts were mashed up in the same sentence.
Again, mid-decade, that changed. Neville Brody introduced Industria in the London scene magazine The Face in 1984, heralding a structured look.

So there you have it, four "eighties" type looks, depending whether you go straight or alternative, early decade or late.

grshutters's picture

"Caslon Graphique" also seems to be a popular headline font of that period. Not sure why I didn't mention it the first time, it's actually one of my favorite display typefaces.

Robert Trogman's picture

As a manufacturer of film fonts during the 80s. I found Handel Gothic Bold and Light a popular seller. Faces like Blippo Bold, Yagi Double (CNN logo) were also popular. Some of the basic display fonts had added swash characters. Alphabet Innovations had some very popular franchised fonts.

John Hudson's picture

Everything you need to know is included in this video.

sunny valence's picture

Thanks everybody! This was really useful since I didn't really have the time to do some serious research at the library...

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