The nostalgia associated with vintage logo design is not unique to the just the logo design industry. From automotive to the apparel industry, and even construction and interior design. all of them and more rely on our love for the aesthetics of the past to get inspired for new designs.
But the question arises, that even though the modern design industry has changed drastically compared to the decades past, why is it that the retro-craze calls out to the people constantly? What was it about those classic designs that made them so timeless?
Read on and discover why the vintage design craze has seen a resurgence in recent years, and why professional logo design services are developing brand symbols with retro vibes today.
When we talk about anything vintage, it is all about the story it tells. Any design with decades of history behind it has a rich tale to tell. When you think about a brand that has been around for more than a few decades, you discover the rich tapestry of history that their logo has seen.
It evokes feelings of a simpler time, an escape from the fast paced life of today. When people look for something vintage, they are looking for something familiar and comfortable, something rooted into the fabric of the world around them.
Coming to what makes a brand symbol retro, vintage logo designs are easy to recognize. Their entire being portrays a sense of reliance and solidity, something that has braved the changing aesthetics through decades without change, and come out of it victorious. This may sound like an abstract description, but while retro logos are easy to recognize, they are hard to describe.
When it comes to creating vintage logo designs, there are many different types of logos that can be created to give off a retro vibe.
Any good retro logo design is not just about incorporating the design aesthetics of a specific era. It is about enhancing your brand identity using specific styles and ideas from the past to give your logo a sense of history and legacy.
That is why, before you get on with the design of your brand symbol, you need to know the design characteristics of the era you want to embody within your logo. That will help you know the exact elements you will need for your brand logo.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common styles and aesthetics of retro logo designs from different eras in history.
The roaring 20’s, as they are called, refers to the 1920s. This era was known for its extravagance and financial prosperity, after a brutally debilitating First World War. After years of hardship, this decade personified freedom, decadence, and prosperity.
After the war made many women more self-sufficient and employed, a new potential segment appeared in the market – the independent females.
One of the primary industries to target this new market, was the fashion and apparel industry. They quickly revamped their styles to create items meant for the office and other casual events, rather than purely evening wear.
Moreover, with women now freer and more independent, their aesthetics also changed. Less elaborate clothing and hairstyles were introduced to cater to the needs of a freer, post-war western woman. But that is not why it was called the raring 20s.
This era was defined by the popularity of jazz, parties, smoking, and recreational drinking, for the women and the men. This boom in the freedom from societal shackles, the use of vibrant and rich color combinations, and intricately designed logos, are the reason this era is considered vintage.
Like the Roaring 20s before it, the 1950s too was a post-war era. Unlike the First World War, which saw a rise in cultural reform, the years after the Second World War was the age of consumerism. In the United States, and much of the developed western world, the years following the war was a time for industrial growth.
During the war, the design styles were simple, with blocky masculine fonts, and bold colors which made it easy to identify the art created. Made using simple printing presses, this design aesthetic stuck around even after the war ended, bringing with the art of blocky logo designs.
The color schemes used were mostly pastel, which was a great choice given that they were the best choice when we consider color fading due to age. And as most of the advertising was done through the print medium, it personified the vintage aesthetics of the mid-20th century.
The 1960s was a time of social turmoil in the United States. Many minority groups rose up against the injustices they continued to face in their country, and the call for reform and retribution was on the lips of a vast majority of people.
This phenomenon gave rise to a general sentiment of anti-establishment and anti-war philosophies, giving rise to the popularity of hippies and their concept of free love. Also the decade known for the infamous Woodstock 69, this era was defined by a more naturally grounded designs.
The aesthetic was to often use a mix of psychedelic colors, elaborate poppy logo fonts, and revolutionary designs in their art. This makes styles from this era some of the most sought after vintage design ideas today.
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The 1970s are well known as the disco era. From the elaborately styled hair to puffy shirts, and bell-bottom trousers, the age of the funk is one that is fondly remembered by many. However, the era is also known as one of social reform, with many movements fighting for equality, freedom, and justice.
The most visually memorable aesthetics of this era, are the bold vintage fonts and bright colors, which are still used in conjunction with a variety of patterns to make the design look somewhat overwhelming. Using text effects in design was made popular in this era, mixing bold and pastel shades for a visually pleasing look.
The 1980s saw the rising popularity of the modern digital world, with 8-bit graphic designs ruling everywhere from the gaming industry to Sci-fi TV shows and movies. This design style also carried over to the logo design world, with the retro 8-bit style becoming one of the most popular vintage logo design ideas in use today.
Edgy and unconventional designs with bright neon shades, crazy patterns and futuristic fonts, stretchy lycra leggings and elaborate hairdos made using liberal amounts of hairspray are what the 80s are known for. With many consumers who still remember the era with fondness, it is a great way to evoke the feelings of nostalgia and convince them into interacting with your brand.
Humans are highly visual creatures; we all know that. Sight is the sense we rely on the most, and it is the one that helps us gather our first impression about anyone and anything around us. Moreover, along with the sense of smell, it has the ability to bring up specific memories and moments from our past.
That is why, as a marketing and branding tool, logo design, or graphic design in general is a great way to leverage nostalgia to a company’s benefit. For example, finely stenciled wordmarks are a thing of the late 19th century, and as such bring to mind a well-established business. Similarly, a café that uses warm, earthy tones for their logo paired with a simple, minimalist font portrays a modern aesthetic.
Now, vintage logo designs can be broadly categorized into two groups. The first category contains those brand logos who have actually stood the test of time and have represented their companies for decades. The other category contains the new logos who used the vintage aesthetic for their brand symbols, such as the design of the Detroit Red Wings, one of the only NHL logos to have seen only minor improvements over the decades.
The first category keeps the same design to portray their legacy and long experience. The other category aims to use nostalgia to get consumers attracted towards their offering. While both use retro logo designs, the concept behind their use is quite different for each.
There are two major factors when using vintage logo designs for your brand symbol. The first factor, is the visual theme you want to portray. The second, are the design elements you want to incorporate within your design.
Let’s take a look at the visual themes that are usually portrayed in vintage and retro logo designs.
These logos rely on their nostalgic factor into influencing consumers to buy from your brand.
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These logos are often used to show a connection with the local community, portraying their roots within the community and the values they work by.
Retro style vintage logo designs are often used to portray rural connections. A well-known example for this phenomenon can be the Pepperidge Farms brand.
A simple rustic charm is perfectly portrayed by an old-style brand symbol, portraying their salt-of-the-earth business model.
Besides the popular themes portrayed above, there are a number of other subliminal messages often portrayed by retro logos.
No matter the style of the logo, there are a few elements that are common to vintage logo creation. They most common among them include:
Depending on the type of theme you wanted to portray, these and many other elements would be combined to create a truly nostalgic vintage logo design.
Many brands today use vintage logo designs to portray their business identity. These brands have a rich history, with decades upon decades of legacy serving their customers, perfectly represented by their old-world aesthetic.
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known retro logo designs.
Levi Strauss Denim company is an old company established during the Gold Rush. The company has been using the same brand symbol since its inception, with only minor changes through the years later. Even today, this vintage logo is well recognized around the globe.
Who doesn’t know the classic Coca Cola logo. The exquisitely curving lines, and the script-like font used in the wordmark have been in use for more than a few decades. With only minor alterations through the years, the logo is testament to its everlasting design.
Jack Daniels whiskey is an American classic. Aged in charcoal-treated wooden barrels, the classic aged whiskey known around the world uses an old style logo since its inception.
Now that you the know why vintage logo designs are so important for many brands, let’s look at how to design a logo for your brand that perfectly incorporates vintage vibes within your brand identity.
The simplest option is to use an online tool to create a logo for your brand. There are specific AI-based logo design tools available online that specialize in creating vintage logo designs. However, as these logos are often created using generic elements, the resultant brand symbols are not considered unique.
The best option to create your retro logo designs is to hire a professional logo designer to design one for you. These experts are specialized in perfectly merging your brand identity with relevant vintage elements designed to amplify your logo’s impact.
You can create vintage logo designs using either an online logo maker tool, or you can hire a professional designer to create one for you.
A vintage or retro logo is one that uses design aesthetics from the past within your brand symbol.
You can create a vintage logo design in Photoshop by either importing an existing vintage template into the tool, or creating one from scratch using vintage design elements.
The process of creating a vintage logo in Illustrator, is the same as Photoshop. You can either import a template into the tool, or you can create one from scratch using retro design elements.
Vintage logo designs are all the rage nowadays, and there are many businesses who want to have a retro style brand symbol for their business. Whether it’s to pique their consumer’s nostalgic interest, or it is meant to portray your long history in the industry, vintage logos are only great if used the right way.