06 Jan 2017

In The Spotlight: Modern Retro Graphic Design

There is a kind of renaissance taking place in the field of graphic design. It’s something that design companies such as Sphere recognise. New graphic design trends are developing as we enter 2017, including the so-called ‘modern retro’ style, which aims to bring back the good-old-days of classic visuals.

What is ‘Modern Retro?’

Modern retro is, as its name suggests, a design that mixes old and new visual styles into one cohesive image. It became popular in 2016, finding its way into web design, packaging, and even company logos. It often involves classic typefaces and colour schemes made to appeal to a more modern audience. At times, it’s specifically designed to exude an air of nostalgia.

The term perfectly describes a style that reflects visual elements from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Aside from a feeling of nostalgia, modern retro’s appeal is that it gives a sense of immediate connection and recognition between the user and the design. Upon seeing a modern retro design, users should say, “Hey, I remember that!” Obviously, this works best when such recognition brings about fond memories of yesteryears.

Modern retro uses classic colour schemes and shapes. Decades such as the 1980s are well-known for using loud, bright, bold colours to radiate a sense of fun. Modern retro gives graphic designers free rein to experiment with different colours to achieve an adventurous end-product. There are seemingly endless opportunities to mix and match since colours are almost never muted or subdued. The use of repeated shapes and patterns, flowing movement and classic visuals are also important.

There are downsides to modern retro, however. Vintage designs do not appeal to everyone. Some people can’t identify with them, no matter how hard they try. Also, modern retro’s penchant for playing around with bright colours and styles can make it look disorganised or messy. There’s a reason minimalist, largely two-toned designs became popular in recent years.

But, no matter what happens, it looks like modern retro is poised to be the graphic design trend of 2017, and there’s no slowing it down.

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