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Celebration Of Vintage and Retro Design

Retro and vintage designs are often considered as being outdated, looking old, unattractive and dull.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.

Retro Cosmic Link

Retro Cosmic
Designs by James White.

Vintage and Retro - Retro Cosmic
Vintage and Retro - Retro Cosmic
Vintage and Retro - Cerriteno's Blog

Robot Rock!
Daft Punk’s recent cover is stylish and cool: retro is in.

Vintage and Retro - Robot Rock!

Evgeniy Kiselev’s design project.

Vintage and Retro - Yopta project

Andy Gilmore
Playful colors in the retro-look.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!
Vintage and Retro - Andy Gilmore:

Packaging and Advertisement Link

Ice Cream Man
A contemporary illustration.

Vintage and Retro - Ice Cream Man

Fortunello Advertisement
This one is so effective! We’ve bought us an ice-cream immediately after we’ve seen this ad.

Vintage and Retro - FORTUNELLO

Knitting and spool kit

Vintage and Retro - knitting and spool kit

Hudson – Circus C
Page from “Circus Alphabet”, a Whitman Tell-A-Tale Book, 1954. Illustrated by Patric Hudson.

Vintage and Retro - Hudson - Circus C

Boys and Girls
Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cook Book, 1965.

Vintage and Retro - Boys and Girls

Jantzen Swimsuits
Designed by Pete Hawley, 1949.

Vintage and Retro - Antzen swimsuits

Petri Wine
Everything tastes better with Petri Wine. Designed by Nick Carter in 1949.

Vintage and Retro - Petri Wine

Say their names!
The Thinking Book by Adelaide Hall, pictures by Dagmar Wilson, 1963 (1970 ed.).

Vintage and Retro - Say their names.

A mid-century ad print.

Vintage and Retro - remarkable.jpg

Kiss of perfection
‘Teen Oct. 1961.

Vintage and Retro - Kiss of perfection

Soviet Champagne Ad
Simple and beautiful.

Vintage and Retro - Champagne!

25 Project
“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!”

Vintage and Retro - 25 Project

Licor del Polo
A Spanish advertisement of the Licor del Polo, 1960.

Vintage and Retro - Licor del Polo (1960)

Wrigley’s Spearmint gum ad
Wrigley’s Spearmint gum ad from Real America Magazine April 1935.

Vintage and Retro - Wrigleys---Real-America-04-35

Magazine Ad – Scout (USA)
1961 Magazine Advertisement. “Meet the Scout: a whole new idea in low-cost transportation”. International Harvester Company.

Vintage and Retro - 1960's Advertising - Magazine Ad - Scout (USA)

Car ad
1948 Oldsmobile Series “60” Convertible Coupe.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

Skin creme ad
Do you actually believe that this ad is from 1970s? TV Radio Mirror, July 1972.

Vintage and Retro - They couldn't say it if it wasn't true, right?

Space Art
Bohn Aluminum & Brass, 1947.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!
Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!
Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

Colossal Cocktails
“Back of an old matchbook purchased on eBay, of course. Would make a great party invite.”

Vintage and Retro - Colossal Graphics

Diabolical Appliance Mavens
“Life magazine”, March 9th, 1953.

Vintage and Retro - diabolical appliance mavens

Calendar Hotpoint December
1953 advertising calendar for Hotpoint Appliances, featuring “All Electric” kitchens – December.

Vintage and Retro - CAL_Hotpoint_Dec

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.”

Vintage and Retro - 1957 Secret Squadron Official Manual - cover

Flight through instruments
Telstar Logistics: “Flight thru Instruments” and the Fine Art of Instructional Illustration.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

Traffic of the Future

Vintage and Retro - Traffic of the Future
Vintage and Retro - retro-0Futurismus: Klaus Bürgle - Weltraumfahrt I

1960’s Advertising – Packaging – Superga (Italy)
1969 Packaging. “Superga”, Advertising Office: Unimark International. Torino, Italy

Vintage and Retro - 1960's Advertising - Packaging - Superga (Italy).jpg

Vote! poster

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I Wake Up Screaming
Classic. How many books with such covers have you read in your life? Book cover from 1941.

Vintage and Retro - I Wake Up Screaming 1941

Vintage Pins and Vintage Buttons Link

Birthday Surprise!

Vintage and Retro - Birthday Surprise!

Brooch Cluster-Retro Blue Dots On Brown

Vintage and Retro - Brooch Cluster-Retro Blue Dots On Brown


Vintage and Retro - - Kawaii Buttons -

Vintage 4-H buttons

Vintage and Retro - vintage 4-H buttons


Vintage and Retro - fan

Button Sets

Vintage and Retro - buttonset01a
Vintage and Retro - buttonset02

Crafting 365, day 173 – pink teacups

Vintage and Retro - Crafting 365, day 173 - pink teacups

Posters and Typography Link

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

Vintage and Retro - 1960's Advertising - Magazine Ad - Film special (Italy)

Scott Hansen
Scott Hansen’s work is extremely powerful. These poster impress with the effective use of colors and geometric forms.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!
Vintage and Retro - ISO50
Vintage and Retro - ISO50
Vintage and Retro - ISO50 - The Visual Work of Scott Hansen

A poster with a nice pattern. Simple and effective.

Vintage and Retro - Tipógrafia

A retro-poster from 70s.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

Ulrich Schnauss Poster
A poster for the Electronica concert of Ulrich Schnauss.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

Retro DVD Booklet
A clean DVD-booklet in a retro-look.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

For The Love Of Letters Poster
Nick Sherman with an interesting use of letters.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

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. “

Vintage and Retro - Graphis Annual - 1965/66

Graphis Diagrams 1974
Graphics Design from the 70s.

Vintage and Retro - Graphis Diagrams –– 1974

Olympic Pictogram designed by Otl Aicher in 70s.

Vintage and Retro - Archigraphia

Thirty years of design at MIT
A classic by Jacqueline S Casey.

Vintage and Retro - Posters. Thirty years of design at MIT - Jacqueline S Casey

Vintage Logos Collection
Collection of vintage logos from a mid-70’s edition of the book World of Logotypes.

Vintage and Retro - D-14

Outstanding typographics posters from 1969.

Vintage and Retro - ISO50 - The Visual Work of Scott Hansen

Five British Graphic Designers
A timeless poster created in 1969. “Five British Graphic Designers”, by Studio Coppola from Milano, Italy.

Vintage and Retro - ISO50 - The Visual Work of Scott Hansen

Say yes! to analog design
Yes studio hooked up a sweet 12″ cover for the UK band the stand. The album is from 2005.

Vintage and Retro - grain edit · Say yes! to analog design

são paulo – braSil
São paulo, Brazil, by Murilo Parra Contro.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

Book Cover
A book cover with an interesting use of geometric forms.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

Beethoven Poster
A minimalistic poster from 1955.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!

Burundi 57
Beautiful old-stylish typographic poster.

width=”450″ height=”449″ alt=”Vintage and Retro – StatAttak” src=”” />

Last Click Link

DVNO Music Video
Retro in action.

Retro Toy Packaging
Packaging design goes vintage.

Vintage and Retro - Retro Toy Packaging

A Retro Bus
Buses can also smile. Cutie!

Vintage and Retro - A Retro Bus

knick knacks
How sweet is that? Sculptures from the last century.

Vintage and Retro - knick knacks

OK, now it’s time for a coffee break.

Vintage and Retro - FFFFOUND!
SmashingConf Barcelona 2016

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    ohh my God !! Isnt that stunning !

  2. 3

    On the ball yet again!
    Keep up the goodness….

  3. 4

    That would be Jantzen swimsuits. (Portland, OR)

  4. 5

    Wow. Amazing post. Thanks!

  5. 6

    Livingston Samuel

    April 21, 2008 2:47 am

    Wonderful Collection!!

    great inspiration, I’m planning to study them and learn from the old techniques, so that I can improve myself :)

    thanks a lot! keep the working going.

  6. 7

    Spanish Civil War Posters

  7. 8

    Sausages look nicer when they’re Vintage.

    Nice list, everything looks beautiful. Its a great style.

  8. 9

    Love the dog one :) All very inspiring stuff though.

  9. 10

    Srecko Bradic

    April 21, 2008 3:11 am

    This subject is fantastic!!! Special to note that while today we all have computers and make design easy, all what is show above is hand made, brushed or airbrushed, foils precisely cut… Must say that all above presented design is still very strong and in some way fresh!

    Thank your placing this topic :)

    Srecko Bradic

  10. 11

    Thanks for the Monday inspiration! :)

  11. 12

    This is an amazing collection — snapshots in time — what’s old is new…

  12. 13

    Mithun P Sreedharan

    April 21, 2008 4:24 am

    Awesome !!

  13. 14

    It’s great! Suuupeerr!

  14. 15

    I love Jen Segrest’s free retro desktop pics and patterns at

  15. 16

    yet another inspiring post to get my creative juices flowing :) i love you guys!

  16. 17

    before computers(photoshop filters), designers *actually had to have design/illustration skills*

    that’s why i have much respect for retro arts. love this post.

  17. 18

    my godness…. superb!

  18. 19

    Jason Beaird

    April 21, 2008 8:15 am

    I love retro-modern design. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. 20

    April 21, 2008 9:36 am


  20. 21

    It’s absolutely great! I love this list :) Cheers


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