Many designers and artists have a true love for vintage and retro design and share their passion when the opportunity arises. One could probably find several hundred showcases of retro designs on display today in the 21st century, but not many of actual vintage ones that were used in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s and are still in use today.
To celebrate the beauty of vintage and retro typography, we have compiled a showcase of vintage and retro signage to inspire you: a great excuse to take five minutes out to admire the styles, whether simple or complex, and the love that went into creating these gorgeous vintage signs.
Showcase of Vintage Signage Link
4600ish N Western
Johnny Rockets on Woodward in Downtown Detroit33
A cool sign for a 50’s style diner, this chain of restaurant was originally launched out of California in 1986. Located in Foxtown, this diner is right near The Fillmore, Fox Theater, and Comerica Park.
Last Click Link
route 66. hackberry, az. 2007.
A South Street icon bites the dust. At least the new shop left the giant creepy ants on the facade. And there is Crash, Bang, Boom — a very respectable spin-off shop, around the corner. Philadelphia, PA.
Flickr Groups Link
Flickr is a superb place to search for inspiration of all kinds, no matter what your project. Check out some of these great sign-related groups, and contribute to them if you have your own great photos of vintage signs!
- Faded Signage73
Dedicated to faded signs, and has over 13,500 photos to date!
- San Jose Vintage Signage74
Unique and vintage signage (in their original form) from San Jose, California.
- Signage & Typography75
Typography in signs, including advertising, neon and even simple instructional text.
- Vintage Neon Signage & More76
Old signage from motels, shops, bowling alleys, car lots and cafes.
- I Love Old Signs!77
Working and broken neon signs, steel signs, plastic signs and ghost ads.
- Motel & Hotel Signs78
This group is dedicated to motel and hotel signs, both new and old.
- Vintage Texaco79
Vintage Texaco goods, from old oil cans to postcards to toys… and of course vintage signs.
- Plastic Signage80
Plastic signs: new, vintage and everything in between.
- Liquor Stores81
Photos of liquor stores. And what do liquor stores have in common other than liquor? Signs!
- Vacuum Formed Signs82
Vacuum formed signs from all eras.
Further Resources Link
- Making Vintage-Style Signs83
A great walkthrough on how to make your very own vintage-style signs for your own home.
- How Neon Signs Are Made
A great article on the history of neon signs and how they are made.
- 50 Examples of Vintage Typography84
A collection of 50 vintage posters advertisements that make great use of typography.
- 20 Insane Vintage and Grungy Typography Poster Designs85
A magnificent collection of modern typographic posters that use vintage and grungy effects.
- Vintage and Retro Typography Showcase86
A beautiful and elegant collection of vintage and retro typography used in advertisement and brand design.
- 60 Rare and Unusual Vintage Signs87
A huge and stunning collection of vintage signs of all kinds, including labels and packaging and street signs.
- Retro and Vintage in Modern Web Design88
Same topic, different media. A great showcase of vintage and retro styles from modern Web design!
- 35 Beautiful Vintage and Retro Photoshop Tutorials89
A huge collection of the very best vintage and retro Photoshop tutorials!
- 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/russelldavies/3485806126/
- 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/russelldavies/3485806126/
- 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/264014748/in/set-72157603448582705/
- 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/264014748/in/set-72157603448582705/
- 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/macwagen/2296389574/
- 6 http://www.flickr.com/photos/macwagen/2296389574/
- 7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trudence/46266213/
- 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trudence/46266213/
- 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1307420603/
- 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1307420603/
- 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/236605229/
- 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/236605229/
- 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsimmons/3869330012/
- 14 http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsimmons/3869330012/
- 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanportfolio/3431403029/
- 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanportfolio/3431403029/
- 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4166543593/
- 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4166543593/
- 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/3330193607/
- 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/3330193607/
- 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mondoagogo/2774501889/
- 22 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mondoagogo/2774501889/
- 23 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eriwst/4236140391/in/pool-355438@N24
- 24 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eriwst/4236140391/in/pool-355438@N24
- 25 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregturner/2223239380/
- 26 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregturner/2223239380/
- 27 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bundscherer/2879022271/
- 28 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bundscherer/2879022271/
- 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyshooter/2471905619/
- 30 http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyshooter/2471905619/
- 31 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomuchfire/3879137766/
- 32 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomuchfire/3879137766/
- 33 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1878028866/
- 34 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1878028866/
- 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/131656510/
- 36 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/131656510/
- 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/2133401621/
- 38 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/2133401621/
- 39 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/83934855/in/set-1792740/
- 40 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/83934855/in/set-1792740/
- 41 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmeadows2/2850088363/
- 42 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmeadows2/2850088363/
- 43 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anselolson/3503207722/
- 44 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anselolson/3503207722/
- 45 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/2639726575/
- 46 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/2639726575/
- 47 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/939722769/
- 48 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/939722769/
- 49 http://www.flickr.com/photos/curtisperry/2810776412/
- 50 http://www.flickr.com/photos/curtisperry/2810776412/
- 51 http://www.flickr.com/photos/33237475@N05/3205178833/
- 52 http://www.flickr.com/photos/33237475@N05/3205178833/
- 53 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/470796408/
- 54 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/470796408/
- 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeioux/55162284/
- 56 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeioux/55162284/
- 57 http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardsmallbone/1737794385/
- 58 http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardsmallbone/1737794385/
- 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shani_stuff/430960731/
- 60 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shani_stuff/430960731/
- 61 http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/1772426024/
- 62 http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/1772426024/
- 63 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopos/13891569/
- 64 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopos/13891569/
- 65 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4204189318/
- 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4204189318/
- 67 http://www.flickr.com/photos/43067379@N00/3455678972/
- 68 http://www.flickr.com/photos/43067379@N00/3455678972/
- 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/spikyone/2256360958/
- 70 http://www.flickr.com/photos/spikyone/2256360958/
- 71 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lavidasegunseba/2973547227/
- 72 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lavidasegunseba/2973547227/
- 73 http://www.flickr.com/groups/fadedsignage/
- 74 http://www.flickr.com/groups/sanjosevintagesignage/
- 75 http://www.flickr.com/groups/signage_typography/
- 76 http://www.flickr.com/groups/vintageneon/
- 77 http://www.flickr.com/groups/ilovesigns/
- 78 http://www.flickr.com/groups/motelhotelsigns/
- 79 http://www.flickr.com/groups/vintagetexaco/
- 80 http://www.flickr.com/groups/plastic_signs/
- 81 http://www.flickr.com/groups/liquorstores/
- 82 http://www.flickr.com/groups/372089@N25
- 83 http://www.rightathome.com/view.aspx?pid=717
- 84 http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/07/50-examples-of-vintage-typography/
- 85 http://spyrestudios.com/insane-vintage-and-grungy-typographic-poster-designs/
- 86 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/26/retro-and-vintage-typography-showcase/
- 87 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/13/60-rare-and-unusual-vintage-signs/
- 88 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/07/retro-and-vintage-in-modern-web-design/
- 89 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/14/30-beautiful-vintageretro-photoshop-tutorials/
Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf Oxford, on March 15—16, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.