Even with all the comforts modern technology brings to a designer’s life, many of us still tend to romanticize the past.

It can’t be denied that wood block printing, the Gutenberg press and sweet hand painted signs continue to project a scintillating and alluring beauty that persists despite the avalanching advancements of modern technology.

Among my favorite characteristics of original vintage and retro pieces are the subtle mistakes and inconsistencies brought about by early, unrefined printing processes and of course, human error.

Multiple hand painted signs and old mass printed books, aiming to be identical, had subtle variations and little quirks. These make them all the more appealing because they wound up feeling intentional and human, making each piece in a series unique and relatable. After all, to err is human and that, we are all.

This fascination with the past has resulted in a love affair in the creative community for vintage and retro typography. It’s not uncommon to see branding, typefaces and even websites and apps inspired by old school styles. Whether you’re a designer working in the typography space looking to jumpstart your creative process or, like me, you’re merely a humble admirer, you’ll love our compilation of 50 truly stunning examples of vintage and retro typography.

01. Super Furry

01_Super_Furry

Simon Walker

This groovy piece is done by designer Simon Walker, whose work all seems to be straight out of the past and in this case, the 70’s. Check out his Dribbble account, loaded with more retro goodness.

02. CCA Friday Night Party Invitation

02_Silencio_Sans

Jessica Hische

If old Hollywood took on the form of an invitation, it would look just like this—and Jessica Hische definitely intended to do so. She paired her very own Silencio Sans with custom lettering and black and white to take us back into a film noir movie.

03. Superscopic

03_Superscopic

Type Hunting

Superscopic, courtesy of Type Hunting, is a vintage script, super dynamic and likely custom.

04. Via Air Mail

04_Via_Air_Mail

Type Hunting

The simple, beautiful little illustration on this envelope definitely has me wondering why we ever traded in handwritten letters for cold emails. Check it out on awesome Type Hunting, a great archive of found vintage type.

05. Eighty Nine

05_Eighty_Nine

Simon Walker

Eighty Nine by Simon Walker cleverly incorporates numbers into words. The bold serif is paired with a script and sans serif and textured to add to its retro vibe.

06. Bisto Tin Limited Edition

06_Bisto_Tin

Behance

Bisto is a meat-flavored gravy powder, popular in the UK. Robot Food took elements from its original packaging, spiced them up with golden flourishes, and added a bit of a modern touch with a black background to this tin, paying homage to the beloved brand.

07. Braun

07_Braun

Designspiration

The Braun logo was born in 1934 at the hand of Will Münich and has since gone through two rounds of revision to arrive at the mark we all know. Today, it is an example of superb geometric simplicity and remains unaffected by the passage of time.

08. Jack Daniel’s

08_Jack_Daniels

Behance

The Jack Daniel’s label has gone through 4 iterations since its original conception, all which have aimed to make subtle changes that have helped the brand evolve without losing its original vintage feel. You can read about it in depth here.

09. Pepsi Cola on Type Hunting

09_Pepsi_Cola

Type Hunting

Pepsi Cola’s logo evolution gradually moved away from the beautiful, vintage script it once was and arrived at today’s seemingly smiling tricolor sphere. Maybe it is my bias towards skillfully crafted script logos but I’d likely be more inclined to chose Pepsi over Coke if I could admire this mark on its bottle.

10. Empress

10_Empress

Designspiration

Color can also take us back in time and Empress’ color palette is no exception. The use of blue, white and black draw attention to the center of the can, the area of highest contrast, and then allow the eye to navigate the rest of the composition, easily gleaning all the info on it.

11. High Ball

11_HighBall

Welovetypography

Type alone did not make vintage signs and decor successful—composition had everything to do with it. The HighBall sign is strikingly simple, but makes use of color and size to achieve a dynamic and interesting sign.

12. Nalco

12_Nalco

Type Hunting

While Nalco, again from Type Hunting, is a finalized mark, it can serve as a great reminder to always design in black and white first and add color later. This mark needs nothing else but it is masterfully laid type to be interesting.

13. Procrastiworking

13_Procastiworking

Jessica Hische

An inspirational quote by Jessica Hische, set with flourishes and energetic retro type treatments.

14. Hunter Sprague Photography

14_Hunter_Walker

Simon Walker

May have developed a design crush here but Simon Walker just keeps hitting it out of the park. The logo, created for a photographer and displayed on a matchbox, is interesting considering candles were used in very early experiments that lead to the development of cameras.

15. Cocktail Kit—Old Fashioned

15_Old_Fashioned

Behance

This awesome kit has vintage written all over it, from the type to the colors to the very classic drink brought back by Mad Men which it allows you to make.

16. Concarneau

16_Concarneau

Pinterest

Concarneau is one of France’s most important fishing ports, depicted beautifully in this vintage illustration. The orange and blue tones are characteristic of vintage pieces and create a subtle visual tension that is rather electric.

17. Hen’s Teeth Tattoo Co.

17_Hens_Tattoo

Behance

Mateusz Witczak created a series of pieces revolving around tattoo parlors. He loaded them with intricate line work commonly seen in old school pieces, and set them in black and gold. Although they were published in 2015, they certainly appear to be from a time past. Check them all out here.

18. Plans are Only Good Intentions

18_Plan_Walker

Simon Walker

Inspirational quote by Simon Walker, featuring beautiful, retro ligatures.

19. Today

19_Today

Designspiration

Today features awesome ascenders and descenders, common elements of retro and vintage typography.

20. Wensky Malina

20_Wensky_Malina

Behance

Wensky Malina is a hand drawn, retro logo with excellent ornamentation designed for a line of fruity beer. The script seems to have time traveled to land on the company’s bottles today.

21. Vintage Monogram

21_Vintage_Monogram

Mustbeprinted

Monograms are motifs made of overlapping letters, usually the initials of the individual or business that bears it. They were widely used as signatures and first made an appearance around 350 BC. They have a habit of translating into beautiful, elegant marks that remind us of wax seals and vintage decor.

22. Static

22_Static

Designspiration

Static coffee is handmade just like its mark, featuring a custom piece of lettering. It is dynamic, like retro scripts, and uses a monogram for a secondary mark.

23. Shark Week

23_SharkWeek

Designspiration

Shark Week is hardly a thing of the past and possibly the most exciting week of the year. Yet the designers creating poster pieces for it decided to go with a retro vibe, using rounded corners, a limited palette, and simple fin illustrations.

24. McCormick Mustard

24_McCormick_Mustard

Type Hunting

Vintage pieces, like the one above, did an excellent job of combining a myriad of different typefaces. The pieces, far from chaotic, resulted in attractive, balanced compositions.

25. S & Co.

25_S&Co

Tumblr

S & Co. is another fantastic example of monograms and how using them will give your projects an old school, elegant feel.

26. Explore the Universe

26_Explore_the_Universe

Designspiration

Simple, friendly illustrations were common components of vintage pieces. This Nasa poster is featured at an interesting time, considering their latest announcement.

27. Wilson Sport

27_Wilson_Sport

Type Hunting

Wilson Sport’s red shape adds interest to this old racket, by alluding to one of tennis’ most important elements: a ball.

28. New Old Whiskey

28_New_Old_Whiskey

Jessica Hische

Beautiful piece that Jessica Hische created for The Atlantic, inspired by stencil work on old whisky barrels. A great reminder that inspiration comes from all and unlikely places and combining finds can yield excellent results.

29. Silvertone Recording Wire

29_Silvertone_Recording_Wire

Type Hunting

Another great example from Type Hunting of how designers of the old days use to make excellent typeface pairings and would build a straightforward palette, resulting in seemingly effortless branding.

30. Duke’s

30_Duke_Sauers

Type Hunting

C.F. Sauer produces condiments and seasonings, among them the Duke’s line. The classic script mark has seen little change with time and is still perfectly recognizable on its packaging today.

31. Slingshot Coffee Co.

31_Slingshot

Designspiration

The coffee industry is experiencing a movement that is taking it back to its roots, as single brew coffee and old school roasting methods continue to make a comeback. It only seemed fitting for Slingshot Coffee Co. to look in that direction for inspiration when creating its new brand.

32. Mad Dogs

32_Mad_Dogs

Behance

Mad Dogs compliments its retro mark with plaid, giving it a vintage vibe with a punkish twist.

33. Sprite

33_Sprite

Designspiration

This friendly vintage Sprite advert showcases 3 common techniques of the old: a monotone palette, custom type and quirky illustrations.

34. Indianapolis

34_Indianapolis

Tundrablog

This piece is part of a series of insurance maps created for each state in the USA for Sunburn Insurance. Its use of fine line work, flourishes, and type skewing all help create a vintage vibe.

35. Porter’s Liniment Salve

35_Porters_Liniment_Salve

Type Hunting

Porter’s Liniment Salve is an awesome example of type skewing, a common way to manipulate typography used on old pieces of packaging, branding and logo design.

36. USA IRS Stamp

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Designspiration

If the IRS used stamps and paperwork as beautiful as this one, the tax subject would be a lot less painful.

37. Virtuola Cigars

37_Virtuola

Web Designer Depot

Virtuola Handmade Cigars’ mark feels sporty, featuring custom type reminiscent of pieces we see today in sports banners and apparel.

38. General Dynamic

38_General_Dynamic

Designspiration

This poster makes use of repetition, another principle commonly used in vintage design, to take us back to the golden days of air travel, featuring carriers like Pan Am.

39. General

39_General

Designspiration

A little part of what must have been a ticket to a play or show. Stark and beautiful.

40. Darkness Whisky

40_Darkness_Whiskey

Behance

Vintage and retro branding is particularly popular in the alcoholic beverage industry and within it, within the whisky niche. Darkness Whisky uses fleurons, eye catching black and gold and vintage inspired type to create an elegant label.

41. Balthazar Bakery

41_Balthazar

Balthazar Bakery

Anyone that has been to New York City will likely be able to recall this gorgeous menu. Balthazar Bakery, known for its awesome baked goods and brunch, is part of a network of restaurants, all featuring branding inspired by days of old.

42. Americano Font

42_Americano_Font

Behance

Americano by Opus Nigrum makes use of beautiful, subtle imperfections, common in retro handmade type, to create an expressive typeface excellent for vintage inspired branding.

43. Bib & Tucker

43_Bib_And_Tucker

Behance

Bib & Tucker did not only use the days of old to inspire its look but also to inspire its name, old slang used to describe your finest apparel.

44. Amour

44_Amour

Branding Identity Design

Beautiful little piece that makes excellent use of ornamentation and decorative elements to give this seemingly etched little box an antique feel.

45. American Forkball

45_American_Forkball

Behance

Textured typeface inspired by the old days of baseball and completely hand drawn. The typeface, available for purchase, is packed with great extras, like illustrations, excellent for a new sports line.

46. Air France

46_AirFrance

Designspiration

A stark, simple layout with typography beautifully laid on a grid. Air France created a series of posters, all great sources of inspiration.

47. Brunch

47_Brunch

Colour Lovers

Neat poster featuring one word set in a variety of ways, all referencing typographic styles of the past.

48. International Poster Annual

48_International_Poster_Annual

Designspiration

Simple, geometric shapes in different colors can be an excellent way to give posters a retro feel, masterfully illustrated in this piece.

49. American Rose

49_American_Rose

Jessica Hische

American Rose, another striking piece by Jessica Hische, was inspired by the grandeur of the roaring 20’s.

50. The Miami Cocktail Co.

50_Miami_Cocktail_Co

Simon Walker

One last stunning piece from Simon Walker to bring our list to a close.

There you have it, folks. 50 stunning examples of vintage and retro typography complimented with a variety of other awesome linked sources for inspiration to get your creative juices flowing.

Maria is a professional designer and social media devotee. After a few years of working in boutique agencies in New York and Boston, she decided to trade in her morning runs for morning dives and moved down to the warm Caribbean. She is currently working on becoming a scuba instructor in order to find a way to merge her two loves: design and the ocean.