7 Vintage Logo Design Trends

By on May 2, 2016 in Inspiration
7 Vintage Logo Design Trends

Vintage logos are all the rage on Creative Market right now. Every day we see more impressive collections of retro, vintage, and hipster logos and graphics. Whether you're looking to cook up some vintage logos yourself or want to purchase some items to add a dose of nostalgia to your current project, it pays to keep up on what's popular. Let's check out seven of the trends that we see in this type of artwork.

Badges

The badge concept lies at the very heart of vintage logo designs. These designers typically shoot for a nice, simple shape that can be stamped anywhere and on anything. Circles are by far the most popular shape for these badges, but you'll also find plenty of hexagons, shields and diamonds. I love ThunderPixels Store's usage of objects like bike chains and thorny vines to bring in some extra visual flair.

Hand Drawn

The hipster movement embraces all things handmade, so logos that have a sketchy or hand drawn look fit really well into this aesthetic. The artistic talent in this category is really impressive. Though vintage logo collections tend to be quite masculine in appearance, it's nice to see shops like MakeMediaCo. pushing back against this trend with complex floral arrangements and beautiful, muted colors.

Industrial

As we look back at early to mid 20th century design, we see simple logos without gradients, feathered shadows, or 3D renders, but they still managed to make bold visual statements. The graphical icons of the day were hammers, axes, wrenches, and factories, not clouds and wifi signals. I think it's natural for our tech savvy generation to be drawn to visuals that remind us of the industrial revolution. From our desks, we have a quiet respect for the men and women who built the modern world through sweat and labor instead of keystrokes and mouse clicks.

Land and Sea

For whatever reason, vintage logo treatments often feature animals with antlers: deer, moose, elk, it doesn't matter. If it has antlers, it's in. This goes hand in hand with the overall outdoorsy trend in these types of logos (mountains, trees, tents, etc.). Nautical themes are extremely popular as well. Anchors, fish, and ropes make for some really attractive graphical elements.

Beer and Coffee

Time marches on, empires rise and fall, but some things never change. Mankind's love for beer and coffee is one of these things. This shared affinity with our ancestors makes these two liquids prime subjects for vintage art.

Logos On Photos

Look back at how logos were displayed ten years ago and you typically see a solid background or maybe a gradient. The bright, colorful and complex Internet logos of the time looked too busy for anything else. These days, our monotone, hipster logos are simple enough that they look fantastic when overlaid on top of a great photograph. If you're looking for a way to make the logos in your shop look even better, give this a try.

Line Art

It's always interesting to see how current design trends change how we create vintage graphics. When skeuomorphism was the trend to follow, vintage artwork used heavy textures (paper, leather, rust) and maybe some ink brushes. Now that flat design is the way to go, vintage logos often use thin lines and greatly simplified illustrations. Here are two of my favorite items that leverage this style.

Go Your Own Way

I absolutely love studying design trends. It's always fascinating to see how the design community both latches onto and drops certain ideas in tandem. If your clients want something trendy and popular, you can use the ideas above as inspiration for your own awesome vintage products. Or, if you want to blaze your own trail, you now know what's already being done. Go make something unique and show us in a comment below.

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19 Comments

  1. RetroSupply

    Great job breaking the categories down. Really useful and interesting. Thank you for using my Americana logos as an example as well!

  2. hustlesupplyco

    Hey! Thanks for using my Hand Drawn Logos & Line Icons! Appreciate everything this site represents. Keep it up!

  3. benread

    Awesome collection, it's interesting to see how unique similar things can be in one timeline like this.

  4. maxbizley

    Dude, awesome post! I for one am in love with this style, but I ask you, mr. trend guru, how long do you see these trends sitting around for? They're really big right now and I'm on board, and I think we're all on the same boat for the time being? Gradients, 3d, etc, were the bees knees a while back, will things go 'futuristic' again? Are we just being suckers for a trend? Or do we have something solid here? Obviously design at your hearts content, but let's be honest, this sick sick trend is at the end of the day 'a trend'. What say ye?

  5. secondfret

    @Max Bizley, we went super flat first, a major back-to-basics movement, but I'm already seeing a lot of experimentation with adding things like shadows/texture/gradients while attempting to maintain that "flat" style and personality. In five years, we'll all see some AMAZING skeuomorphic designs by 17 year old designers who are rejecting our rejection of details, and then we'll all run right back ;) Trends are very cyclical. Every generation snubs the trends of their fathers, usually by embracing the trends of their grandfathers!

  6. maxbizley

    @Josh Johnson Well said. I would definitely like to see this style sticking around for a while. Although, something's gotta give sooner or later I suppose.

  7. SuperRosie

    Great article thanks. Love this trend but there's such an abundance of them it's difficult to sort them through. Great to have them split into sections like this.

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