The 1990s are back, baby! Trends from that decade are all over social platforms and mainstream media. That includes ’90s fonts.
This is no surprise. Trends typically take 20–30 years to resurface. It happened with the 1970s and ’80s. Now, it’s the ’90s turn to have an “old-timey” font revival.
From a graphic design perspective, one of the best ways to channel the ’90s is through a font with a retro feel.
You have two options: a) Choose a revival font or b) one used in the ’90s. Below, you’ll find examples of both.
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What Are the Best ’90s Fonts?
Independent designer Jen Wagner creates fonts with great attention to detail and a knowing wink to the past. Her typeface Perfectly Nineties is an elegant serif that works well as a headline or body text. The download comes with two Photoshop actions to help you achieve that vintage magazine look. Since it includes uppercase and lowercase letters, it is extremely versatile.
Jen Wagner designed Nineties Headliner to pair with Perfectly Nineties (see above). She describes it as “a bold, nostalgic sans inspired by text-focused magazine ads from the ’80s and ’90s.” Simple yet sophisticated, it’s sure to make a statement. It comes with two Photoshop actions to achieve that vintage magazine look and includes both upper and lowercase letters.
Record Scratch evokes the indie music scene of the 1990s when lo-fi, grunge, emo, and noise pop bands dominated the airwaves. A hand-drawn font designed for display text, it looks great with layered colors and textures to complement its quirky, playful feel.
The Ultimate ’90s Font Pack download comes with five different retro fonts, including Truant, Totally Tubular, Childish Reverie, Highflier, and Oh Snap! Each has a hand-drawn, playful feel and works great for headlines, logos, branding, or anywhere you want to grab attention in a DIY, quirky kind of way.
This retro font is available as a vector file, so using it will require a bit of work. However, this multi-colored drop shadow alphabet is well worth the effort. It will give your design that mid–1990s VHS feel, evoking TV static, video stores, and late fees. Please note this is an all-caps font, so it does not include lowercase letters.
The twisted letters of Nineties Display Font hark back to when many graphic designers and typographers first jumped on the computer bandwagon. New software programs such as Adobe Photoshop 3.0 and Corel Draw helped manipulate letterforms faster and easier. That opened the door to experimentation with digital effects, exemplified by designers such as David Carson.
Chiq Pro is a modern sans serif font designed by Ingo Zimmermann. The inspiration was an Apple OS9 system font that was released on October 23, 1999, just as Y2K hysteria was reaching its apex. The complete download includes eight stylistic alternates and 549 glyphs. It pairs well with technology-themed graphics.
Fake Receipt is a decorative sans serif released in 1999 by Typodermic Fonts and quickly appeared on Will Smith’s Willennium album cover. It evokes a typical cash register receipt from the late 20th century and works well as big headline text.
Banco was designed from 1951 to 1952 by Roger Excoffon but updated in the 1990s by Phill Grimshaw for Linotype. With a robust and hand-drawn appearance, this vintage font appeared on one of the most iconic posters of the ’90s, The Big Lebowski.
Inspired by the grunge and alternative music scene of the 1990s, this sans serif all-caps font has a bold, brush-like appearance. You can apply this ’90s writing font to personal or commercial projects, including logos, package designs, book covers, posters, or branding for an authentic, handmade feel.
Tickerbit Pixel is pure videogame nostalgia. It feels like grabbing an Orange Julius at the mall, then heading to the arcade and playing Street Fighter 2 all afternoon. This 8-bit font is ideal for adding a stylized, glitchy touch to your design. Unlike many computer fonts, it includes uppercase and lowercase letters.
Trixie came out in 1991 and was popular throughout the decade. Sega used it for its “Blue is Back” Sonic 3D Blast marketing campaign. At the same time, it appeared on album covers by Garbage, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, and Alanis Morissette.
Template Gothic came out in 1991 and was ubiquitous by the end of the millennium. Designer Barry Deck wanted his font to “reflect more truly the imperfect language of an imperfect world, inhabited by imperfect beings.” It was on movie posters for Dazed and Confused and Reality Bites, album covers such as Radiohead’s Pablo Honey, and print ads for Nintendo 64.
Aachen was designed in 1969 by Colin Brignall and Alan Meeks, but it is often associated with the 1990s due to several era-defining uses. It appeared as the main title of Quentin Tarantino’s smash hit Pulp Fiction and the Late Show with David Letterman. Strong and heavyset, it is an excellent choice anytime boldness is needed for both uppercase and lowercase letters.
Type designer Greg Thompson created Clicker for a popular TV guide. Released in 1992 by Font Bureau, this vintage font appeared frequently over the next 10 years, showing up on Pepsi One ads, Rolling Stone magazine covers, and the Quiksilver logo.
Citypop is a set of five font styles inspired by the early Internet, electronic music, and mall culture. They look very different, but all fall under the umbrella of Vaporwave. Each style in the download pairs nicely with neon and pastel colors and will give your retro designs a flavor reminiscent of that iconic era.
That That New Roman is cut from the same cloth as Perfectly Nineties above. Elegant and condensed, it works for body or headline text. This serif style appeared frequently in print advertising of the 1990s so they could fit a lot of sales copy on the page.
Printing Block ’95 channels a popular graphic design trend from the 1990s known as stamp fonts. Seen on everything from magazine ads to CD covers, these fonts embraced imperfection and lent a DIY feel to the product or branding they were promoting. It looks like a vintage sign font.
The VHS format was released in 1977. By the 1990s, the magnetic tape in some early VHS cassettes had already deteriorated. This font feels like picking up a movie at Blockbuster on a Friday night and bringing it home only to realize it is warped. Glitch Pro comes as a vector, not a traditional font file like TTF, OTF, or WOFF2.
Nike used Futura Extra Bold Condensed throughout the decade on its product labels, packaging designs, marketing headlines, etc. For those who grew up in the 1990s, the chunky letterforms are inextricably linked to Nike’s marketing material from that era. It includes uppercase and lowercase letters as well as stylistic alternates. This versatile font can be used for contemporary or retro design.
Neo-Retro Font packs a serious wallop, not just with the bold designs that scream “Nineties!” but with the sheer number of goodies in the download. Included are icons, patterns, and effects that give you everything you need to channel early-to-mid–’90s youth culture in your graphic design projects. If you’re looking for a fun hand-lettered display font, this is it.
Best ’90s Fonts on DaFont
On September 22, 1994, 22 million viewers tuned in to watch the first episode of Friends. The hand-drawn typeface, set against the backdrop of The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You,” became synonymous with the hit show. This makes Gabriel Weiss’ version on DaFont an easy way to channel the much-beloved 1990s sitcom.
This geometric typeface by Chequered Ink evokes band logos, cyberpunk, and video games. Designed by Allison James, it is an outstanding choice for posters, album art, or anywhere else you need a head-turning headline.
Air Max 90 is a hand-drawn font inspired by ’90s-era designs. It evokes graffiti art, record stores, and binder doodles.
Best ’90s Fonts on Adobe
Adobe’s Type Team curated a list of awesome font styles that channel ’90s grunge design and skate culture. It even includes a fun typeface called Rad, with letters made out of skateboards! The collection is called Fonts on a Half Pipe. A few highlights here include:
Some of my favorite fonts from the ’90s are by Emigre, who had a significant impact on that decade. Adobe has an entire section dedicated to the legendary type foundry, with lots of ’90s typography to choose from. Here are my top picks by Emigre:
Best ’90s Fonts on Canva
To find aesthetic ’90s fonts on Canva, I searched for relevant keywords using the text tool. Then, I selected ones with that picture-perfect retro design I was looking for.
Here are my ’90s-inspired ultimate Canva fonts:
- Player One
- Greenth Grunge
To find more ancient fonts in Canva, go to the text tool and type in keywords like vintage, retro, and nostalgic.
Best ’90s Fonts Used in Magazines
One of the best places to find a cool retro font is old print ads. From display fonts to handwritten fonts and everything in between, flipping through back issues of magazines lets you see movie posters, game logos, album covers, and other retro designs all in one place.
Nike Ad, 1991
Dawson’s Creek Ad, 1998
Apple Ad, 1998
CNBC Ad, 1996
Will Smith Ad, 1997
What is a ’90s font?
The term ’90s fonts refers to typefaces used in the 1990s or revival fonts designed in the 2000s.
Some fonts used in the 1990s predate that decade. For example, Nike used Futura Extra Bold Condensed throughout the 1990s, but the typeface came out in the mid–1950s. Nevertheless, because of the association with the iconic shoe ads, many consider it a ’90s font.
On the other hand, fonts like Fake Receipt or Mrs. Eaves by Emigre came out in the 1990s, and we strongly associate them with that decade.
Finally, revival fonts, such as the elegant Perfectly Nineties font by Jen Wagner, came out recently but captured the spirit of the millennium.
In summary, ’90s fonts evoke the decade lasting from 1990–1999, even if it was designed earlier or later.
What fonts were popular in the 1990s?
If you’re looking for retro modern fonts that were popular during the 1990s, you have to check out the Emigre font library.
Emigre was an influential type foundry that published many of the 1990’s most iconic vintage fonts, including Mrs. Eaves, Backspacer, and Matrix II.
Another popular font was ITC Fenice, which you may recognize from the Seinfeld TV show logo.
The ’90s script fonts used for Dawson’s Creek are also emblematic of that time period.