A bit like minimalism, retro and vintage design seems to be neither in nor out of trend these days. It is a style that lends itself to certain trades and industries, and it can also be used for almost any kind of project.
These days we are seeing modern, trending elements included in retro design – and designers have made it work, as we can see in the following examples.
Retro and Vintage Web Design
Olszanska Art Studio
Dirty, scribbles, hand-drawn images, grunge and retro ornaments render this design true retro. Touches of animation and scrolling effects give it a touch of modernity.
This site is promoting a new shopping center, and I guess they want to give the impression of ‘old fashioned values’, as they use a vintage image of an Edwardian-style family and old-fashioned hand pointers, as well as a retro color scheme. Some mouse-over animation on the home page adds modern touch.
Fox & Crow
This digital agency simply uses a full screen photograph of a very old-looking street. The interactive nature of the site makes it a very modern design.
Sanchez Romero Carvajal
This Spanish ham producer uses a retro color scheme and typography, and from just a few years ago, a ribbon is included in the design. As you scroll down the site, scrolling animations display the modern side of this design.
Apart from the color scheme, the main thing that gives this site a retro feel is the imagery… and this site sells retro and vintage household items, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised! The modern touches are a couple of animations and a grid-style layout.
RFTB Meat Co
It amazes me that this long after Christmas there are still the holiday versions of sites around, but for the purposes of this article, this site is great! The retro typography and staff dressed in Victorian clothing and a lot of desaturation of the main image, this site definitely has a retro feel. Notice the modern hamburger menu button.
Glazed & Infused
So how do you promote donuts? Like this! Retro elements on this site design include a zig-zag top edge to the full width image, and an illustration of a woman straight from the ammunitions factory during WWII. The main modern feature of this website is that it is an eCommerce site.
M2M Private Bank
A beautifully presented site in a simple black, white and red color scheme, with vintage illustrations. Mouse-over animations bring it right up-to-date.
The whole of this site design is in the retro style that you can see on the home page, with a canvas texture background, a color scheme ranging from beige to a darkish brown and retro typography with letterpress-style links. As you scroll down the page, although the appearance is retro, you will see that the way the design works is very modern.
Wooster Hound is a ‘head-hunting’ company, and their home page plays on the ‘hunting’ side of their business. The rest of the site is presented in a minimal style with small thumbnail images taken from the landing page full screen image.
This Spanish marketing site is a perfect example of retro design in the modern world. All elements on this site are in the retro style, but scrolling animations keep it in touch with modern trends.
The Literary Bohemian
This is a submission site for writers, and the site design has remained unchanged for some years. It is a beautiful example of vintage/retro design, using a pile of old and battered paper items and coins.
The New York Moon
The retro look of this site really needs no explanation – but the modern twist is that you can ‘tune in’ the radio to various stations. Sadly, it appears there has been no new issue of this online magazine since July 2009.
Blue Moon is a dueling piano bar and restaurant, and has a grungy title bar and an aged poster on a brick wall for its landing page.
This site is deceptive – when you first land on the home page, it seems there are no links… look at the suitcase with country flags stuck on it – click on the language you prefer, then you will be asked if you are a boy or a girl.. you will then arrive on a page similar to that shown below. Within the main image you have the choice of three music tracks, or to stop the music or stop the sound. The site’s portfolio is also available there. At the bottom of the screen you can change the background and the top of the screen shows today’s date. From initially seeming there is little to this site, it turns out to be an enjoyable place to spend a few minutes.
1927 is a theater company that takes shows around the world. This very retro-looking site promotes their shows, where and when they are, and offers company merchandise for sale.
The portfolio site of this travel photographer opens with a full screen image of some very retro and vintage items. The gallery itself which can be viewed by scrolling down is laid out in a grid style on a black background showing the beauty of the photography which is mainly HDR.
Oriel Grande Brasserie
This restaurant, situated at Heathrow airport, presents its site with an image of a couple of women dressed in 40s/50s style. The image has a slight blue hint, with a red circle containing text over it. As you scroll down this site there are a lot of retro elements, and for a text-heavy site they have managed to make it look quite minimal.
Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel is an indie rock band, and this is their official site. With a very washed-out, vintage image on the landing page, and heavy sepia images for categories lower down. When you hover over the category images, animated scratch overlays appear.
The Threepenny Editor
The Threepenny Editor specializes in editing fiction and literary non-fiction. The vintage styling of their site needs no explanation, and this same style, with the illustration of a typewriter at the bottom holding the paper, continues throughout the site.
The design of this site has successfully aimed at recreating a second World War appearance. If you just wait a little while after landing on this page, a shadow of a fighter plane will pass across the page. When you hover over the navigation bar, a targeted magnifying glass expands the titles.
This is a purely vintage-style website design, from the torn, aged paper textures, to the flock wallpaper background, vintage ornaments and old-style photographs, there is hardly an element that does not have some touch of vintage. The only modern parts of this design are embedded videos, and some of their displayed designs that are modern.
Most of us have a soft spot, or at least a spark of interest in nostalgia, and there are many sites that use small touches of retro and vintage style in their design still. It seems designers don’t want to let go of this style of presentation, and who can blame them? When done properly, retro and vintage site design is beautiful, intriguing and interesting to viewers.