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The groovy guide to retro branding design

What gives a logo or branding design that retro look and feel?

As an artist and designer who specializes in branding thats meant to give you a blast from the past, this is my two cents! I’ve been full time freelance for almost 8 years, and have created hundreds of logos. Designing branding that gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling of a Grateful Dead song, is what I live for.

One of the key elements of retro branding design is the use of vintage colors and typography. In the 70s, for example, earthy tones like brown, mustard, and olive green were popular, and typography was often bold and geometric. In the 80s, bright neon colors and playful, bubbly typography were all the rage.

Another important aspect of retro branding design is the use of vintage graphics and illustrations. These can be anything from geometric shapes and patterns to vintage illustrations of flowers, animals, or other objects.


Why vintage inspired branding?

Retro branding design is all about capturing the essence of a bygone era, whether it's the 70s, 80s, or even earlier. It's a design style that has stood the test of time and continues to be popular today, especially in the boho and hippie communities. Everyone loves going back to their roots, and you have seen a lot of brands reverting back to their old style of branding, think Burger King, Tiffany & Co, and even Gucci.

Nostalgia is a powerful motivator for consumers, and people can be nostalgic for a time when they weren’t even alive yet! That’s why 60s & 70s style patterns have been so popular the last couple of years, especially with millennials, and y2k style has been popular with GenZ. When times are tough, and they have been for all of us since 2020, we want things that remind us of a ”simpler time”. That’s what nostalgia does for us!

Having a logo that reminds people of something they loved as a kid, that record their mom played all the time from their childhood, the styles of fashion that they couldn’t wait to dress in “ when they grew up”, immediately makes them want to know more about your brand.

I have always been drawn to the 60s/70s aesthetic, and that’s because my parents were hippies! They were born in the early 60s and were teenagers during the 70s and that was really their entire personality haha. My dad was a musician, so he was always playing music around the house, listening to vinyl records and I would spend hours looking at the covers. Before I ever made art professionally I was just drawn to that aesthetic because it reminded me of home, and it still does. I’ve lost both of my parents and if we really wanna psych analyze me, that’s probably why my art leans so heavily on those aesthetics, because it gives me a piece of them.

understanding the past to create the future.

To create a successful retro branding design, you need to have a deep understanding of the era you are trying to capture. You need to know what the fashion, music, and cultural trends were, as well as the graphic design styles that were popular at the time.

Since the 1970s is my favorite era to pull inspiration from, let’s look at some notable design trends from that time period!

what were some notable traits of 1970s design?

Design in the 1970s was characterized by a variety of different styles and influences, but there were some common design traits that emerged during this era. Some of the key design traits from the 1970s include:

  1. Bold colors: The use of bold, vibrant colors was very popular in the 1970s. Colors such as orange, yellow, green, and brown were particularly popular.

  2. Organic shapes: Design in the 1970s was heavily influenced by nature and the environment, which led to the use of organic shapes and forms in many designs. This included curved lines, flowing shapes, and natural textures, and FLOWER POWER!

  3. Geometric patterns: Alongside organic shapes, geometric patterns were also a popular design element in the 1970s. These patterns often featured repetitive shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles, and were often used in bold, contrasting colors.

  4. Use of new materials: The 1970s saw the introduction of many new materials, including plastic, acrylic, and fiberglass. These materials were often used to create futuristic, space-age designs that were popular at the time. Textures were super important during this time period, particularly in the use of natural materials such as wood, stone, and woven fibers. In keeping with the organic and nature-inspired design trends of the time, many designers incorporated textures that mimicked natural materials, such as faux wood paneling, shag carpeting, and macramé wall hangings.

  5. Retro and vintage design: The 1970s was also a time when many designers looked back to earlier periods for inspiration. Retro and vintage design elements, such as Art Deco and Art Nouveau, were often incorporated into contemporary designs.

  6. Experimental typography: The 1970s was a time of experimentation in typography, with designers pushing the boundaries of traditional typography to create new and unique designs. This led to the use of unconventional typefaces, bold lettering, and experimental layouts. The psychidelitype by Photolettering is some of my favorite type design of all time, I even created a revival font for one of the styles!

  7. Pop art influences: Pop art, which had emerged in the 1960s, continued to influence design in the 1970s. This included the use of bold graphics, bright colors, and a sense of fun and playfulness in many designs.

To create a successful retro logo design, you need to combine all of these elements in a way that feels authentic and true to the era you are trying to capture. This requires a skilled vintage branding designer who has a keen eye for design and a deep understanding of the history of graphic design.

If you're looking to create a retro branding design for your business, it's important to work with a designer who has experience in this area. A designer who specializes in vintage branding design or retro logo design, and who has a portfolio of work that showcases their expertise. At Dear Darling Design Studio we are pros at bringing the past back to life, and would love to work with you! Let’s make some magic together and create your brand’s retro inspired branding!


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