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Everything Old Is New Again: The Beauty of Retro Design Elements

Posted on 28th August 2016

Whether you're a graphic designer, photographer or crafter, retro elements can make your work more appealing and marketable. Retro-styled fonts, for example, can be especially eye-catching, while retro-inspired touches can impart a classic beauty to your photographs and digital art. Crafters, too, can work retro-inspired designs and objects into their projects to make them not only more beautiful, but also more appealing to customers.

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Retro Fonts: Using Stylized Scripts for Your Designs and Merchandise


Whether you're creating a cover for an e-book, designing trendy storefront signage or trying to come up with a new motto for a coffee mug, retro fonts will make your product really stand out. Here are just a few examples of popular retro fonts being used today:

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  • San-serif, in an extra-wide format, was widely used for diner posters and menu cards in the 1950s. This eye-catching font is great for signage and also adds an ultra-cool 50s look to everything from mugs to T-shirts.

  • Cursive writing might be passe in today's classrooms, but it's considered ultra-chic as a design element. Cursive fonts lend themselves to Victorian, Edwardian and art nouveau styled signage or print work, and to everything from scrapbooking projects to wedding invitations.

  • Art deco fonts, with their streamlined, geometric shapes and contrasting shading, look amazingly trendy in all types of signage or graphic design projects.


Retro Designs in Crafting


Retro crafts, such as crocheting, knitting and lacemaking, are making a huge comeback, so it's not surprising that retro elements have become increasingly popular in crafting projects. Just a quick visit to Etsy will give you an idea of the many ways in which crafters are using vintage materials for their original creations. Here are some vintage elements that are popular with today's crafters:

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  • Vintage fabric squares, in either a flat patchwork "decoupage" style or a raised quilted design, can be pasted or stitched onto picture frames, jewelry boxes, lampshades and other accessories to create a country primitive look.

  • Vintage beads are the hottest item for today's jewelry designers. These beads can be recycled into beautiful retro-influenced designs. Likewise, vintage buttons, old metal bottle caps or broken jewelry pins can be repurposed into earrings, attached to handbags or hats, or glued to picture frames for a trendy shabby-chic look.

  • For fiber crafters, vintage yarns can give a warm, antique look to hats, shawls, afghans and other handcrafted items. Likewise, vintage thread can be used to create one-of-a-kind tatted lace or bobbin lace projects.

  • Vintage knickknacks, such as thrift shop figurines, dollhouse miniatures and bits of old lace and fabric, can be used to beautiful effect in creating imaginative shadowbox pieces.


Retro Elements in Graphic Design


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Graphic designers are availing themselves of the thousands of free vintage images offered online. Especially popular are antique maps and vintage advertising posters, which can be incorporated into original graphic art designs and digital products. Likewise, classic art masterpieces can be utilized as they are, or can be recreated in humorous or thought-provoking digital designs.

Using Retro Images in Photography


Photographers are finding a gold mine in the wealth of vintage photographs posted online. These can be implemented into original photos to create stunning templates and backgrounds, or used to create fascinating artistic collages. In today's eclectic market, vintage imagery can help you create photographic projects that can quickly go viral.

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Whether you're working with printing, handicrafts, digital products or photographic images, you can make your work even more outstanding and artistically unique by implementing vintage fonts, imagery and materials into your merchandise or creative work. With a bit of imagination, and a new way of looking at old objects and images, you can implement retro elements into just about any type of

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