Some people get put off by that old phrase “there’s nothing new under the sun”, but not us! As true as that is, here at SAXOPRINT, we don’t take it literally, but rather as an invitation to go looking in previous periods for inspiration. That, in essence, is what the word “retro” is about when applied to culture, fashion, and design: it’s about going shopping in the past for old elements that you can refashion into something for today’s world.
Last year, we showed you how identify and break down old styles into their elements: Gothic Revival and Arts and Crafts from the 19th and early 20th century, for example, or phenomena like Bauhaus and Modernism. This time round, we’d thought we’d show you a few examples of where old styles have influenced new ides in poster design.
Take a look at our list and you’ll see clear Arts and Crafts influence, for example, in the Body Shop poster, which is heavily patterned and with a focus on nature. Or, conversely, the anti-beauty poster with flowers and birds – also an obvious take on old-fashioned, “granny’s house” styles. Arts and Crafts also inspired both the early 1950s and early 1970s styles – think of the florals and pastel colours – so posters like this are in fact retro three times over!
Then there’s retro comic style which – with its reliance on graphical text elements and stylised drawings – is a clearly fertile source of inspiration for eye-grabbing poster design. The other great thing about the old comic-book look is the less saturated colour shades, which stand out against today’s high-colour world and can make printing easier to boot. In fact, general retro looks right through to the 1980s are easy to achieve by keying down the colours somewhat.
Beyond colour, it’s also interesting to see what text can do. The retro-look footballing poster, for example, puts big text and stylised geometric backgrounds to use to give the players a touch of art-deco glamour, as does the delightfully Evelyn-Waugh style wedding poster, replete with ill-tempered musical ensemble.
So next time you’re stuck for something new, why not try out something old? Especially if there’s a thematic connection between your poster topic and the past, you might end up being happy that there’s nothing new under the sun…
Our collection of retro poster design inspirations