‘Retro’ is short for ‘retrospective’, which means “looking back” – to a period from the 1900s to the 1980s, with all their different images bringing back the nostalgia of the past.
Retro is in…and web design reflects this, combining retro elements with modern minimalistic styles, responsive design, classic or infographic style layouts, Photoshop effects and more, to create websites that function smoothly with the newest web technologies, yet retain the charm of the past.
Retro web design draws inspiration from vintage ads and characters, mascots, cinema posters, billboards, record covers, newspapers and magazines, illustrations, scrapbooks, comic books, invitation cards. Design influences include vintage cars, radios and stereos with analog interfaces, clothes, music, even the shop fronts, drive-ins, delis and icecream parlors of years gone by.
Vintage design has a lasting appeal that cuts across ages and boundaries, and involves the viewer by evoking positive memories and nostalgia for the past.
Elements of retro design
Retro colors can be muted and faded or vibrant and colorful, depending on the era the design draws inspiration from. The World Wars had a dampening effect on the use of color in fashion and clothing in the 1920’s and 1940’s because of the shortage of dyes and material, while psychedelic, neon style or playful colors emerged from the flower power, hippie culture of the 1960’s. Photographs are in sepia tones and have a faded effect, or are bold and bright.
The typography of vintage eras when the printing press was born, featured letterpress and Roman fonts for the presses of old; headlines in bold fonts of different kinds with text tightly packed together; script fonts and handwriting; lightbulb fonts to provide a “name in lights” effect, Cowboy and Western fonts like the “Wanted” posters; graffiti fonts and handwritten fonts.
Retro web design makes a design statement using this distinctive typography.
Shapes and badges
Circles, badges and geometric shapes serve to draw attention to specific points and are popular in retro web design.
Borders and ribbons
Zigzag borders, ribbons with forks, irregular lines and frames (from the grunge influence) separate or highlight elements in the design.
Curlicues and embellishments
Decorative elements like curlicues and embellishments, especially in the header design, give the webpage the feel of an invitation to an elegant party for a privileged few. Used effectively in web designs for restaurants or foods.
Textures and Noise
Background textures give retro design its character. Grunge-style backgrounds for photos and navigation menus give a more realistic, genuine look, using old, yellowish, torn, dog-eared or stained notepaper, and dark and dirty colors, often depicting real objects elements from everyday life (like a coffee table or a wall).
Metal, pressed tin and porcelain enamel signboards of yesteryear are unique and distinctive with their illustration, typography and embossing and can be used effectively in retro web design. You will find many of the elements used in retro web design right here in these signs – like ribbons, badges and crests, illustration and fonts, borders, sunburst backgrounds and bold contrasting colors.
Old-world technology and devices
Vintage radios, TVs and cars with their analog interfaces and consoles are used in web design instead of the common menu buttons and icons.
Today, the modern Volkswagen Bug with its characteristic shape is a retro design because it is true to its original highly successful old-world design.
Retro Website Templates
We invite you to a range of beautiful retro web templates using the retro design elements mentioned above. Our templates include the latest jQuery, JS Animated, CSS3 and HTML5, PRO, Joomla, WordPress, Flash, XML Flash and Flash CMS, Responsive, Single Page, website designs.
Dance Studio Flash Website Template – flash 8
Retro is fun, classy and trendy! We hope you enjoyed our collection of muted and colourful retro website templates. Look out for many more amazing website template designs from Entheos. Do Share and Like this post if you found it useful!