Vintage and Retro Typography Showcase

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Typography talks the talk, to go along with the overall work’s walk, speaking volumes for the artist. This important design element surrounds people daily as they move through their routines, rarely taking notice. It’s literally everywhere. In advertising, product packaging, printed publications, graphic designs, and more. Accentuating and centralizing the overall theme of the design that it inhabits, communicating the message to the masses through creative inclusions in the work.

For decades this design tool has given rise to some truly elegant type that still have impressions echoing through design today. Revisiting these themes is a cyclical commonplace that the design community embraces with stunning results. In this article, we go retro, finding beautiful examples of vintage typography and the modern work they’ve inspired. Looking back, it’s easy to see why some of this type has stood the test of time and is still lingering in the design community today.

You may want to take a look at the following related posts:

Let the Good Types Roll

Checks Gig Poster6

Vintage Type 27

Andy Poster8

Vintage Type 29

Hard Rock Cafe10

Screenshot11

Typography Retro Poster12

Typography Retro Poster13

Typography Retro Poster14

Cadillac15

Screenshot16

Souvenir Kodak17

Screenshot18

Vintage packaging19

Screenshot20

Screenshot21

Lovely Lettering22

Screenshot23

Marcus Walters24

Screenshot25

Festival der Sinne26

Screenshot27

Miss Jessie’s28

Vintage Type 229

Tenucci Conferioni30

Screenshot31

The Econasign32

Screenshot33

Mustard 0334

Mustard 0335

Las Vegas36

Screenshot37

Book Covers38

Vintage Type 239

Kodak40

Screenshot41

Jack Daniel42

Screenshot43

Emblem & Type44

Screenshot45

Screenshot46

Screenshot47

Elevator48

Screenshot49

Smooth Jazz50

Screenshot51

Live Together Forever52

Screenshot53

Ampersand54

Screenshot55

Straub Beer56

Screenshot57

C365, day 232 – Haberdashery!58

Screenshot59

Vintage Ribbons60

Vintage Type 261

Vintage Type 262

Home Memories63

Screenshot64

The Long Winters65

Vintage Type 266

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword67

Screenshot68

The Outfit69

Vintage Type 270

Charming Suicide71

Typography Retro Poster72

Artistic Hebrew Type73

Screenshot74

Screenshot75

Spune Launch Poster76

Screenshot77

Retro Logo Mock-ups78

Retro Logo Mock-ups79

Retro Logo Mock-ups 280

Wheels o’wisdom81

Screenshot82

Straub Beer83

Screenshot84

2100 Victorian Monograms85 (via86)

Typography Retro Poster87

Wood Type Notecards88

Vintage Type 289

Last Click

Gaslight Menus90
Gaslight is an American Brasserie in Boston’s South End district. The menus incorporate the feel of a traditional brasserie with an American twist. Designed at Tank Design by Rebecca Alden.

Vintage Type 291

Vintage Type 292

Bull93

Screenshot94

Craig Ward95

Typography Retro Poster96

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/04/21/celebration-of-vintage-and-retro-design/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/07/retro-and-vintage-in-modern-web-design/
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/14/30-beautiful-vintageretro-photoshop-tutorials/
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/12/sexy-bold-and-experimental-typography/
  5. 5 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/02/25/breathtaking-typographic-posters/
  6. 6 http://www.gigposters.com/poster/98730_Checks.html
  7. 7 http://www.gigposters.com/poster/98730_Checks.html
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/velcrosuit/2628966531/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/velcrosuit/2628966531/
  10. 10 http://flickr.com/photos/metropol2/2476285155/in/set-72057594090707954/
  11. 11 http://flickr.com/photos/metropol2/2476285155/in/set-72057594090707954/
  12. 12 http://www.graphic-exchange.com/archives/01graphic_07.htm
  13. 13 http://www.graphic-exchange.com/archives/01graphic_07.htm
  14. 14 http://www.graphic-exchange.com/archives/01graphic_07.htm
  15. 15 http://flickr.com/photos/vialetter/1843846159/
  16. 16 http://flickr.com/photos/vialetter/1843846159/
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/maraid/179274962/
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/maraid/179274962/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/draplin/sets/72157606658964806/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/draplin/sets/72157606658964806/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/draplin/2751508573/in/set-72157606658964806/
  22. 22 http://flickr.com/photos/mondoagogo/2216199455/
  23. 23 http://flickr.com/photos/mondoagogo/2216199455/
  24. 24 http://www.marcuswalters.com/Work/cokeconcept.htm
  25. 25 http://www.marcuswalters.com/Work/cokeconcept.htm
  26. 26 http://flickr.com/photos/mstoll/72420981/in/pool-typewalk
  27. 27 http://flickr.com/photos/mstoll/72420981/in/pool-typewalk
  28. 28 http://hyperakt.com/worksdetails.php?id=140&search=Hypersearch&category=18
  29. 29 http://hyperakt.com/worksdetails.php?id=140&search=Hypersearch&category=18
  30. 30 http://flickr.com/photos/waterboyzoo/224765797/
  31. 31 http://flickr.com/photos/waterboyzoo/224765797/
  32. 32 http://flickr.com/photos/memake/2416671674/
  33. 33 http://flickr.com/photos/memake/2416671674/
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/photos/91494608@N00/2330878622
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/91494608@N00/2330878622
  36. 36 http://flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/939722769/
  37. 37 http://flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/939722769/
  38. 38 http://kulickdesign.com/cover14.html
  39. 39 http://kulickdesign.com/cover14.html
  40. 40 http://flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/869152669/
  41. 41 http://flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/869152669/
  42. 42 http://flickr.com/photos/chrisdigital/117477153/
  43. 43 http://flickr.com/photos/chrisdigital/117477153/
  44. 44 http://flickr.com/photos/roderiqk/sets/1697576/
  45. 45 http://flickr.com/photos/roderiqk/87254696/
  46. 46 http://flickr.com/photos/roderiqk/77071649/in/set-1697576/
  47. 47 http://flickr.com/photos/roderiqk/78370172/in/set-1697576/
  48. 48 http://flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/321326636/
  49. 49 http://flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/321326636/
  50. 50 http://flickr.com/photos/gbcrowley/2925648764/
  51. 51 http://flickr.com/photos/gbcrowley/2925648764/
  52. 52 http://blackwhitebliss.blogspot.com/2008/04/orangebeautiful-love-together-forever.html
  53. 53 http://blackwhitebliss.blogspot.com/2008/04/orangebeautiful-love-together-forever.html
  54. 54 http://flickr.com/photos/bundscherer/2927441640/in/pool-vtype
  55. 55 http://flickr.com/photos/bundscherer/2927441640/in/pool-vtype
  56. 56 http://www.qbn.com/topics/551684/
  57. 57 http://www.qbn.com/topics/551684/
  58. 58 http://flickr.com/photos/bugsandfishes/2401266852/
  59. 59 http://flickr.com/photos/bugsandfishes/2401266852/
  60. 60 http://flickr.com/photos/uppercaseyyc/sets/72157603733873729/
  61. 61 http://flickr.com/photos/uppercaseyyc/2198757050/in/set-72157603733873729
  62. 62 http://flickr.com/photos/uppercaseyyc/2197967051/in/set-72157603733873729/
  63. 63 http://flickr.com/photos/mamluke/2080253327/
  64. 64 http://flickr.com/photos/mamluke/2080253327/
  65. 65 http://www.mikekrol.com/recent-work/the-long-winters/
  66. 66 http://www.mikekrol.com/recent-work/the-long-winters/
  67. 67 http://www.seblester.co.uk/
  68. 68 http://www.seblester.co.uk/
  69. 69 http://www.thedecoderring.com/portfolio/identity/?id=7006&p=1
  70. 70 http://www.thedecoderring.com/portfolio/identity/?id=7006&p=1
  71. 71 http://ffffound.com/image/4e658ccb7607967ebd3f745664d7cae0ff54ac17
  72. 72 http://ffffound.com/image/4e658ccb7607967ebd3f745664d7cae0ff54ac17
  73. 73 http://flickr.com/photos/yaronimus/314367522/
  74. 74 http://flickr.com/photos/yaronimus/314367522/
  75. 75 http://flickr.com/photos/yaronimus/314322948/
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/photos/posterdezigner/2183290996/
  77. 77 http://www.flickr.com/photos/posterdezigner/2183290996/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roberlan/930132049/
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roberlan/930132049/
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roberlan/1095505560/
  81. 81 http://chibialfa.tumblr.com/post/43010971
  82. 82 http://chibialfa.tumblr.com/post/43010971
  83. 83 http://www.flickr.com/photos/process/2358755889/
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/photos/process/2358755889/
  85. 85 http://books.google.ca/books?id=V35qpKUE5noC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Karl+Klimsch+2,100+Victorian+Monograms&sig=ACfU3U3LyK_c9SdqBX_g1qTl1w81qFIQvg#PPP1,M1
  86. 86 http://ilovetypography.com/2008/09/01/sunday-type-circumflex-type/
  87. 87 http://books.google.ca/books?id=V35qpKUE5noC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Karl+Klimsch+2,100+Victorian+Monograms&sig=ACfU3U3LyK_c9SdqBX_g1qTl1w81qFIQvg#PPP1,M1
  88. 88 http://library.rit.edu/cary/CP_publications/CP_WoodType.html
  89. 89 http://library.rit.edu/cary/CP_publications/CP_WoodType.html
  90. 90 http://tinge.net/work/gaslight-menus/
  91. 91 http://tinge.net/work/gaslight-menus/2/
  92. 92 http://tinge.net/work/gaslight-menus/5/
  93. 93 http://ffffound.com/image/ced91bfc5432af45eae05363e9d2276cf014061a
  94. 94 http://ffffound.com/image/ced91bfc5432af45eae05363e9d2276cf014061a
  95. 95 http://www.wordsarepictures.co.uk/
  96. 96 http://www.wordsarepictures.co.uk/

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Robert Bowen is an emerging author, celebrated podcaster and poet, and most recently the co-founder and imaginative co-contributor of the creative design and blogging duo at the Arbenting Freebies Blog and Dead Wings Designs.

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  1. 1

    Nice post. I simply love retro! I really like the “Polaroid”. It seems timeless… Love it! :-)

    0
  2. 2

    Really Cool !

    Retro all the way :)

    0
  3. 3

    Alexandre Giesbrecht

    October 26, 2008 3:33 pm

    Retro rox!

    0
  4. 4

    The old ones are the best =] Interesting post.

    Adam | codefor

    0
  5. 5

    Fernanda Prevedello

    October 26, 2008 5:26 pm

    lovely post!

    0
  6. 6

    Ole Martin Kristiansen

    October 26, 2008 5:52 pm

    Enjoyed this post quite a lot :)

    0
  7. 7

    wow, that was a smashing post! some really nice examples there. Definitely inspiring!

    0
  8. 8

    it’s “confezioni”, not “conferioni”

    0
  9. 9

    great…

    0
  10. 10

    haha! I actually have one of those Barringer & Brown’s Mustard tins at home.
    Smashed!

    0
  11. 11

    Holy crap, someone spent some time google-ing images, collecting the decent ones and throwing them into a single post. What’s the point though? Why isn’t there a smaller selection with actual information about the fonts used (modern equivalents, alternatives, etc.) and why the choice of fonts has stood the test of time, as the post’s opening paragraphs warm us up to those kinds of fonts?

    1
    • 12

      They probably didn’t include the fonts because chances are that most of the fonts in retro packaging are either custom, a variation of Grotesque, or some otherwise some other font that is no longer published.

      0
  12. 13

    I love this, inspiring again, thanks!!

    0
  13. 14

    I love such type of Typography its the way of the beauty to communicate :)

    0
  14. 15

    great post! I love Retro Design!

    0
  15. 16

    @ Roland:

    Its an Inspiration post, its supposed to get your senses tingling and not to tell you the facts about each and every one. Its not an article, just a showcase of work..

    0
  16. 17

    I do have a rather huge soft spot for typography, but retro typography pushes all the right buttons for me…. nice post :)

    0
  17. 18

    Hmmm, no mention of House Industries http://www.houseind.com who were the first guys that sprang to mind when I saw retro typography.

    0
  18. 19

    Very nice typography post. Great inpiration source

    0
  19. 20

    Very inspiring. Great collection, Smashing!

    0
  20. 21

    This is an awesome site…I love Retro!! this is one of my favorite sites..Thanks so much to those that put this all together..:)

    0
  21. 22

    i love the style of cadillac, its a classic, but the examples going in the same way, luv it cheers!!

    0
  22. 23

    I love this old style typography I really like The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword – http://www.seblester.co.uk/ because the flourishes are so perfectly executed. If your into this retro typography search around for tin typography or tin can type. There is a lot of really neat stuff on old cans. like in this picture: http://www.pixeljunkie.org/index.cfm?BlogID=273

    0
  23. 24

    wow, that is very cool indeed!
    wonderful collection of beautiful designs

    0
  24. 25

    Lovely selection of old typefaces.

    0
  25. 26

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Just random photos for ‘inspiration?’ How about a detailing of the fonts used, or the techniques for kerning or otherwise which led to the creation of these pieces?

    This is worthless.

    1
  26. 27

    i love these collection… very nice inspiration. i will use it for my next work ;)

    0
  27. 28

    Nice collection, love it :) How is the “ampersand” not a plain E? Can’t see no t.

    1
  28. 29

    wow! great collection! thanks!

    0
  29. 30

    Nice stuff. I can also recommend the Universal Penman if you want to go retro properly…

    http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Penman-Picture-Archives/dp/0486206165

    0
  30. 31

    Pan Kierownik - Fajne Chłopaki

    October 28, 2008 8:27 am

    Retro Polish labels – from comunist era you can found also at http://www.pantuniestal.com

    1
  31. 32

    old days… some of these are just super duperlicious

    0
  32. 33

    Hello,
    This is all great retrospective of typography, I appreciate a lot
    Thanks

    0
  33. 34

    Be retro to avoid outdating.

    0
  34. 35

    Retro saga is never-ending.

    0
  35. 36

    great collection. thanks!

    0
  36. 37

    Really inspiring!

    PS: I quote Gabriel, it “Tenucci Confezioni”, not “Tenucci Conferioni”

    0
  37. 38

    Very well curated, men. Here’s my favorite recent find.

    0
  38. 39

    Hmm, your comment preview is not so accurate because it truncates any anchor text to “Link”. Should remedy that.

    0
  39. 40

    Awesome! Typography rocks my world!!

    0
  40. 41

    Great pictures…

    0
  41. 42

    It would be great if you could like to my kodak packaging on flickr rather than fffound. Many thanks. http://www.flickr.com/photos/maraid/179274962/

    0
  42. 43

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    November 22, 2008 4:47 pm

    @Jane (#43): the link was updated, thank you and sorry for inconvenience.

    0
  43. 44

    Beautiful resource! Thanks!

    0
  44. 45

    a good dose of inspiration !

    0
  45. 46

    We used to have some cool screen printed wallets with vintage type from old theatre posters ; they’re sold out now but they look cool!
    Royal wallet: vintage theatre typography wallet http://resisttoday.com/store/bags/105
    Iron wallet: vintage typography remix wallet http://resisttoday.com/store/bags/103

    0
  46. 47

    I really like the “Last Clicks.” Really beautiful showcase, thank you for sharing.

    0
  47. 48

    tom@plasticprinters

    April 9, 2009 10:27 am

    i always love trying to create stuff like this. or throw elements of retro into my designs.

    0
  48. 49

    Great collection, thanks for sharing

    0
  49. 50

    DelightfulGoodness

    April 1, 2010 5:22 pm

    A beautiful collection. I love the texture of a lot of these, they look like the would be great to touch.

    0
  50. 51

    like it, feels like go to the past… “retrographic”.

    0
  51. 52

    AMAZING! Thanks for posting!

    0
  52. 53

    The coke one is awesome. How strong a brand is that, that you can recognise it from the letter L, which is not actually in the Coke logo. Superb.

    0
  53. 54

    BLU:72 Creative

    April 7, 2011 6:06 am

    Some ‘very’ cool designs here, great to see!!

    0
  54. 56

    Beautiful example of vintage typography used in a contemporary context

    http://www.betleywhitehorne.com/bwlog/2011/05/live-the-language/

    1

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