Looking into the past for ideas on design is always a good plan, especially if you are looking back into the past 50 years or so, with an emphasis on the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. This is what is most often referred to as “retro,” and it is a design concept that is always in vogue.
Here are five ways that you can become inspired by retro designs to come up with your own fantastic creations.
One of the simplest ways you can start looking at retro differently is by realizing the trends during the eras you will be examining were different everywhere. What qualifies as retro in the United States does not mean the same thing abroad. Taking a look at what was big and how it is incorporated into artistic designs today is a great place to begin. One example is the work of Iv Orlov. He takes Russian retro and creates breathtaking pieces that utilize the beautifully mild colors of the time, along with uniquely shaped figures that actually run off the border to create expansion while using almost every bit of space. The end result is almost abstract in nature and immediately brings the term “retro” to mind – but in a style that was specific to Russia.
There is something really special about posters, old and new. They are a style of promotion that has never ceased, despite the hit that printing has taken since the creation of the Internet. One popular thing to do is create new posters in old styles, which means you have a lot to look at for inspiration. These examples show the differences between the eras of poster creation and the way that each contributes to today’s designs. There are even a few international posters so you can take a look at how printing has been handled abroad, as well. You might get a chuckle from a few, such as the massive “portable computer” from IBM circa 1975.
Photoshop tutorials are a wealth of inspiration while providing a valuable resource. While you look for something new to inspire you, you can also learn how to do something you didn’t know how to do before. This article lists 40 tutorials that show you how to get certain retro effects. Not only can these skills be applied to future designs but you might see something you want to adapt for your own project needs.
It is interesting how often people will forget that logos are a great source of retro design. In fact, they tend to use such elements more frequently than any other medium. Often it is easy to look at a logo and have an idea sparked for a different project, fueled by the unique style presented on a smaller scale. This post has 70 retro logos, in various types. This is one of the better vintage collections, so it’s really worth bookmarking for when you find yourself stuck on project ideas. These also make great practice images for test duplication.
There is a big difference between real retro and inspired-by-vintage designs, especially in today’s media formats. Web design is a great example of how styles are adapted to work in today’s world, such as on the web. These 40 websites use vintage designs that are nevertheless incredibly modern in their use. Many of them look as though they are ads in an old magazine, yet they have the interactive power and even the same grid system layouts that you have come to appreciate about the Internet. If you want ideas or just visual stimulation, you should check out each one of these.
You can see why people prefer to go with the classics sometimes when coming up with a design. Whether online or print, there is something to be said about choosing a retro motif. What are some of your favorite places to find vintage inspiration? Let us know in the comments.