Classic graphic design trends can serve as a nearly limitless source of inspiration for today’s designers.
They are also hugely popular with millennials, whether it’s Swiss Style’s clean layouts and Helvetica fonts, the handmade look of letterpress or Art Deco’s geometric elegance.
While the past can serve as an inspiration, there’s a fine line between classic and outdated. You can give your designs a timeless look while reaching today’s younger audiences by adding a modern twist to vintage styles rather than copying them wholesale.
How to do Graphic Design in a Modern Way
Here are several tips to give your new designs a classic look while still appealing to a younger audience.
Add a Modern Twist to the Classic
A vintage design could start a fantastic starting point for a singular style. On the other hand, it can easily come off as stuffy, outdated or simply unoriginal if you simply copy it. Take important elements from past design trends and adapt them to modern needs. This can help your design stand out while helping you attract the demographic you are seeking.
Victorian typography and layouts are popular among businesses seeking a hip, offbeat aesthetic, while Bauhaus and International styles can impart an intellectual sophistication. Modern takes on these classic styles do not replicate wholesale the media from which they draw inspiration, but instead extract key elements.
"Victorian typography and layouts are popular among businesses seeking a hip, offbeat aesthetic, while Bauhaus and International styles can impart an intellectual sophistication."
Take from the Nineties
Nostalgia can be a powerful force for your designs if you know how to use it. Many millennials grew up in the Nineties and are shown in numerous polls to be highly nostalgic.
The confident, laid-back feel of the time was reflected by bright, bold colors and playful abstract shapes. While you don’t need to embrace the Jazz design, you could still integrate the emphasis on playful patterns and bold colors into your own work.
Letterpress for the Digital Age
Print media might be in decline, but its look lives on in the digital age. Letterpress style emphasizes the look and feel of the printing press, with all of the inconsistencies and imperfections elevated to an aesthetic.
This can give your designs a handmade look that is highly popular among millennials. Letterpress often uses older style typefaces, but this method can be extended beyond text to images as well. It can also be used in a variety of contexts, whether you want to convey a sense of playfulness, timelessness or if you want to evoke the outdoors.
Make it Hand Drawn
Hand drawn designs are increasingly popular, especially among creative professionals such as artists, writers and illustrators. Whether it’s a simple doodle in your logo, handwritten text or complex graphics, a hand drawn design can evoke whimsy and can make your work more accessible.
Less is More
Millennials love minimalism, but you don’t have to limit yourself to simple black and white designs. Minimalism originally embraced color, which can alternately evoke nostalgia among millennials while also giving your designs a fresh, modern look.
Taking advantage of vintage designs requires a careful balancing act. However, if you can successfully integrate classic elements into your work, you can better appeal to young audiences well into the future.