Fashion trends aren’t the only things that come back into style, brand designs do too!


In today’s digital age, we are surrounded by sleek and modern technology. But as companies continue to innovate, some have hit the rewind button to draw fresh design inspiration from decades before. Vintage elements draw us in with the warm and fuzzy feelings of our past, but just how do companies use nostalgic designs to their advantage in a fast-forward world?

Elements of the past

It’s likely that during a trip to the grocery store you’ve noticed your favorite snack or drink using their original branding aesthetics on their packaging. Did you harken back to a fond childhood memory of sipping soda on a hot summer day? If so, you understand how nostalgia marketing works.

Many companies use this technique to target consumers’ emotions. Brands use elements of mid-century Americana design trends such as:  

·      Bright, bold, contrasting colors

·      Hand lettering

·      Bold type

·      Rough textures and halftones

·      Illustrations vs. today’s clear and high definition photography

Vintage elements can take us back to a comfortable time in the past. In a world where everything is constantly changing or being updated, these branding trends stand out.

Young millennials, old style

While all generations are attached to new technology, we most commonly associate this obsession with millennials. Even though they may be the first ones to purchase the latest iPhone or get the newest app trending, these throwback branding tactics are extremely effective on this age group.

Millennials, more so than other generations, crave authenticity. What’s more authentic than a company pulling from their original designs? Just think about how many millennials go thrift shopping or long to fill their apartments with antique furniture.

Millennials also value truth and transparency. It’s no surprise that millennials would be drawn to purchasing products that show they are loyal to the honest values they started out with.

Pepsi Generation

The recent “Pepsi Generation” campaign is an example of how products pull from the past. Starting with an advertisement during the 2018 Super Bowl, Pepsi brought back a limited time retro packaging, featuring bold, bright colors and an old-timey feel. While it tugs on our emotions as we remember it from years ago, it also blends in with the minimalistic style of packaging common today.

Merging the old with the new

Some brands bring back more memories than others. For instance, when Tide introduced a retro label on their laundry detergent several years ago, but they didn’t have much success. When it comes to washing your clothes you’re probably not going to buy a product with a vintage and yellowing label or have many fun memories attached to doing your chores.

Still, this trend of nostalgic design shows no sign of fading away. While companies strive stay ahead with innovations in our ever-changing world, there’s still a lot of truth in the idea that “eventually everything old be will new again.”