Love it, or hate it – the vintage style remains ever popular. E-stores, corporate designs, portfolios, and blogs incorporate vintage styles on both a small and large scale, we guarantee there isn’t a day that goes by when you’re browsing on the web and you don’t stumble across some vintage aesthetics. Its popularity is due chiefly to its emotional appeal, reflected in a variety of ways, from imagery and fonts, to colours and shapes.
Even if you despise this trend, there is something to be said about the vintage renaissance, as it’s become such a fixture of the web design world, designers have come up with some pretty nifty styles, which are truly attention grabbing. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of twee nonsense out there, that causes more than one eye roll. Overall, the best vintage designs are simplistic in their execution, keeping true to less is more.
If you’re looking to incorporate something vintage into your site design, the most effective way to begin is by looking at what others have done, sifting out the wheat from the chaff.
Combining vintage with your brand’s identity
You’re going to want something that reflects your brand’s identity, from the 1950’s, to late 1960’s there was a great revolution in branding, with much experimentation in terms of colours and shapes. Brand design in the USA raced ahead in this regard, with the Great Depression and World War Two over and done with, the country was experiencing a boom, with commercial products skyrocketing in popularity and the American Dream becoming a proper reality. This sense of looking forward to a bright future was reflected in brand design, with minimalism, modernity, and cheerfulness as the foundation.
Getting your inspiration from the 1950’s can be used to great effect. Over at Speckyboy, Paul Andrew has sourced 50 of the best retro and vintage inspired sites, many of which are inspired by the 1950’s. A good reference point is the work of Saul Bass, famed for his graphic designs, working on motion-picture title sequences, film posters, and corporate logos. The epitome of 1950’s/60’s cool, his unique use of flat shapes, negative space, and organic lines to paper cutout graphics have come to represent the freedom of the post-war epoch.
Colours are an all-important factor, so think about which vintage colours are going to work for you. We’ve previously spoken about the impact of colours on your brand’s identity, in a post from 2015: “In the world of both web and graphic design, the strategic use of colours has always been a crucial element for creating optimal engagement with an audience. Based on which colour combination is selected, attention can be drawn in a manner of ways. A well thought-out palette allows businesses to effectively connect with their demographic, resulting in a positive brand impact and increased conversion rates.”
You’ll need to think about hues, shading, and blending, and how you can incorporate them into something vintage. Shapes and imagery too need to be kept in line, so don’t go adding pointless stuff – like a mustang bass and pink Cadillac. The greatest vintage designs have a subtlety about them and simply pay homage to the era, you don’t want your website looking like a flea market.
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Owner and creative director at Creative Freedom Ltd. Unbelievably cool icon design expert, husband, and father of two awesome girls. A proper decent chappy and thoroughly fab to work with. Ok, so I wrote my own bio…