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Influence of Retro and Vintage on Graphic Designing

As websites are going pageless, retro and vintage designs are back again. More and more sites are welcoming period logos, icons and graphics of technicolor shades. Vibrancy is being ditched for pale looks and modernity is being subtly and beautifully merged with vintage to create romantic prototypes that, somehow, ignite a spark of nostalgia.

But, how did this fashion of yesteryear suddenly reprise to become a trendsetter?
Because it never really had gone of out fashion. Whatever defined style in the past years has defied time, age and tastes to repeat itself over and over again, coming, ruling, going away and returning once again to rule. Such designs are like a refreshment, an escape from the boredom of the present into the beauty of the past. They are something to which everyone can relate and in which everyone can take great pleasure.

And, because people believe the old to be gold, there also comes in a certain ‘significance’ associated with such designs. This significance or value in a retro-styled site design is what attracts viewers to it, with the merged modernity making sure to keep them engrossed.

So, which elements deck up a retro website design perfectly?
Literally, everything that has to do something with the past can turn into an element for retro-looking sites. Of all popular elements, the most popular is the inclusion of handwritten scripts. Sepia tone of images and many a vintage products and models also are essential parts of such themes. Let’s talk about some of these elements in details.

  • Simple shapes:
    Circles, squares and rectangles serve the purpose to the fullest. These simple and basic shapes speak for strong impressions and maximum influence upon the end user. They showcase content within a site more clearly than anything else, demarcating each item by sharp margins. Also, backgrounds of such sites are more decorated than modern designs, floral paste-ups being widely used for this objective.
  • Solid elemental colors:
    The colors used in such sites are neither too loud not to bleached. The options are limited to a few solid and elemental tones only. Also, two-toned color spaces like RG color space are very popular with retro designs. Moreover, color-contrasts and color-mixing, keeping a focal color fixed, is greatly pursued.
  • Classic typography:
    Handwritten scripts are most preferred. Fonts like cursive and sans-serif are just always right for such website designs. Basic methods like font repositioning and duplicating, sharp edges and color-mixing and drawing pixel-aligned strokes can exemplify the essence of retro sites more than anything else.
  • Textured images and frames:
    Like a yellowed page from an old notebook, websites speaking of yesteryear, too, have to include images that carry a lot of textures and noises. A faded, worn-out canvas for the background, a painterly photograph, a smudgy, stained graphic, layered patterns and drop shadows for the images – Photoshop has all the options enabled to create some stunning retro illustrations.

Also, frames have been an integral part of styling photographs of the past. Large content-rich borders with solid colors, again, label a site retro very efficiently.

  • Unsophisticated logos:
    That era was a lot about simplicity and untarnished styles. Following this timeless trend, retro websites should surely include logos which are simple in shape and boldly colored. And what else could make a mark more than round, badge-styled logos?

A retro-looking site should, by default, bring out memories of the past. Maintaining the class, elegance and purity of that era, such a design try to keep away from complex techniques, prototyping and color schemes. Of course, there are a lot of elements that do not suffice modern designers’ needs. Nevertheless, the trend is still gaining popularity and almost on the verge of becoming mainstream.


  1. Graphic Designing is the most in thing in today’s world of competition. It gives you an edge over your competitors by attracting consumer interest. Interesting read indeed!
    This article has given a glimpse of all the little secrets that we designers are all “hush-hush” about. Will surely wait for more in related topics.

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