Retro and vintage designs are often considered as being outdated, looking old, unattractive and dull. That’s not true. Although compared to modern design, retro is mostly a completely different realm, it has a large variety of benefits modern graphic designers often tend to overlook. And that’s a pity. Because we, as designers, can learn a lot from it.
Nostalgic designs arise feelings, awake memories and better manage to involve broad range of readers even although they don’t really realize it. Furthermore, retro can look cool and offer readers or visitors something they haven’t expected at all. So why not try to impress them with some impressive vintage art for a change?
Below you’ll find the celebration of retro and vintage design — ads, illustrations, book covers, pins and posters from 1920-1980s. The images weren’t necessarily created in the mid of 20th century. Vintage is living today which is why this post also features artists and designers who make use of the vintage and retro style in their works.
Please notice: if after reading this post you’ll experience some need for buying ice cream, chewing gum or eating sausages, it’s not our fault.
Designs by James White.
Daft Punk’s recent cover is stylish and cool: retro is in.
Evgeniy Kiselev’s design project.
Playful colors in the retro-look.
Packaging and Advertisement
Ice Cream Man
A contemporary illustration.
This one is so effective! We’ve bought us an ice-cream immediately after we’ve seen this ad.
Hudson – Circus C
Page from “Circus Alphabet”, a Whitman Tell-A-Tale Book, 1954. Illustrated by Patric Hudson.
Boys and Girls
Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cook Book, 1965.
Designed by Pete Hawley, 1949.
Everything tastes better with Petri Wine. Designed by Nick Carter in 1949.
Say their names!
The Thinking Book by Adelaide Hall, pictures by Dagmar Wilson, 1963 (1970 ed.).
A mid-century ad print.
Kiss of perfection
‘Teen Oct. 1961.
Soviet Champagne Ad
Simple and beautiful.
“Southern California has this stupid “Click It, Or Ticket” slogan for fastening your safety belt. But they also just have the boring silhouette “Fasten Your Safety Belt” signs around, these would be much cuter!”
Licor del Polo
A Spanish advertisement of the Licor del Polo, 1960.
Wrigley’s Spearmint gum ad
Wrigley’s Spearmint gum ad from Real America Magazine April 1935.
Magazine Ad – Scout (USA)
1961 Magazine Advertisement. “Meet the Scout: a whole new idea in low-cost transportation”. International Harvester Company.
1948 Oldsmobile Series “60″ Convertible Coupe.
Skin creme ad
Do you actually believe that this ad is from 1970s? TV Radio Mirror, July 1972.
Bohn Aluminum & Brass, 1947.
“Back of an old matchbook purchased on eBay, of course. Would make a great party invite.”
Diabolical Appliance Mavens
“Life magazine”, March 9th, 1953.
Calendar Hotpoint December
1953 advertising calendar for Hotpoint Appliances, featuring “All Electric” kitchens – December.
1957 Secret Squadron Official Manual – cover
From the “1957 Secret Squadron Official Manual and Code Book” — a promotional item from Ovaltine, sponsors of the Captain Midnight TV series. The Captain’s airplane was called the “Silver Dart.”
Flight through instruments
Telstar Logistics: “Flight thru Instruments” and the Fine Art of Instructional Illustration.
Traffic of the Future
1960′s Advertising – Packaging – Superga (Italy)
1969 Packaging. “Superga”, Advertising Office: Unimark International. Torino, Italy
I Wake Up Screaming
Classic. How many books with such covers have you read in your life? Book cover from 1941.
Vintage Pins and Vintage Buttons
Posters and Typography
1960′s Advertising – Magazine Ad – Film special (Italy)
1969 Magazine Advertisement. “Film Special: bimestrale sui problemi della comunicazione audiovisia”. Advertising Office: Studio S & F Cappellato. Milano, Italy
Scott Hansen’s work is extremely powerful. These poster impress with the effective use of colors and geometric forms.
A poster with a nice pattern. Simple and effective.
A retro-poster from 70s.
Ulrich Schnauss Poster
A poster for the Electronica concert of Ulrich Schnauss.
Retro DVD Booklet
A clean DVD-booklet in a retro-look.
For The Love Of Letters Poster
Nick Sherman with an interesting use of letters.
Graphis Annual – 1965/66
“Ad for a printers by Karl Gerstner. This series of ads changed over the years it was used by simply changing the colour of each plate and the order in which they overprinted. “
Graphis Diagrams 1974
Graphics Design from the 70s.
Olympic Pictogram designed by Otl Aicher in 70s.
Thirty years of design at MIT
A classic by Jacqueline S Casey.
Vintage Logos Collection
Collection of vintage logos from a mid-70′s edition of the book World of Logotypes.
Outstanding typographics posters from 1969.
Five British Graphic Designers
A timeless poster created in 1969. “Five British Graphic Designers”, by Studio Coppola from Milano, Italy.
Say yes! to analog design
Yes studio hooked up a sweet 12″ cover for the UK band the stand. The album is from 2005.
são paulo – braSil
São paulo, Brazil, by Murilo Parra Contro.
97. Book Cover
A book cover with an interesting use of geometric forms.
A minimalistic poster from 1955.
Beautiful old-stylish typographic poster.
DVNO Music Video
Retro in action.
Retro Toy Packaging
Packaging design goes vintage.
A Retro Bus
Buses can also smile. Cutie!
How sweet is that? Sculptures from the last century.
OK, now it’s time for a coffee break.
Sources and Resources
- Gallery on Graphics Design History
A huge photostream with works of masters of graphics design in the last century, such as Lester Beall, J. C. Leyendecker, Paul Rand, Ray and Charles Eames, El Lissitzky and, of course, Swiss graphic design.
- Graphic Collection
Old issues of Graphis, international journal of visual communication. Typographic inspiration from 50-70s.
- grain edit
Grain edit is focused on classic design work from the 1950s-1970s and contemporary designers that draw inspiration from that time period.
This site which features paintings from the 50s and 60s by German futurist visionary Klaus Bürgle, plus other German/Austrian space art painters from that era.
- Get Go Retro Blog
A blog dedicated to retro product design. Sexy!
A large selection of posters and ads from 1950s.
- Duke University Library: Ad*Access
A collection of literally thousands of ads from 1911 to 1957.
- The Retro Kid Pool
- Pins Pool
- Badges Pool
- Vintage Advertising Pool
- Retro Art