Posted 13th May 2014 | By ExtraMile

This edition of my design hour will be taking a nostalgic trip into the retro and vintage. Websites and digital media that delve into history, yet have a modern twist.

In the world of web

The Process - Ian Coyle. A stunningly simple website from this chap. A Jack of all trades, Coyle has a keen interest for anything creative, be it web design, app design, photography or writing. He also has a passion for motorbikes which is enhanced by his use of photography within the website. Adding a border around the home page adds to the vintage photography feel.

The Dollar Dreadful. The title does this site justice. Like an old timely newspaper, the site is tremendously text heavy with more typefaces than you can shake a stick at. The language used and the subtle nuances all add to the website's feel. Don't get me wrong, it's difficult to know what the core message is about, or even to navigate my way around, yet it's charm and presence intrigues me.

Mercer Tavern. There's a mixture of styles to this website. The overall colour scheme, imagery and arched text lends itself to being vintage, yet a lot of the fonts used add a modern day feel, some of which are quite retro typefaces, yet are accepted today. What's different about this is it's horizontal approach - clicking through the navigation takes you sidewards rather than down the page.

Caava Design. This one-man-band has the retro theme nailed down. I love opening up this site to see the 60's, the vinyl disks, the western look. His portfolio reflects what he does best, especially with the badge-like logos. I like the selection of typefaces used, the mixture between full width and grid layouts. There is also some snazzy CSS masking and animation effects running through the site. Bully!

Luksusowa. Type in your age, let them know you're of legal limit, then get through to an entire page on manliness. There are a lot of alcoholic items out there that play on the vintage theme, predominantly because there's a lot of history and heritage in what they do. I love the quirky illustrations on this website and it's satirical nature. I'm not a vodka drinker, but I think they've marketed this perfectly.

In email design

Stumptown Coffee Roasters. You don't see much in the way of rustic or vintage email design. Stumptown is a refreshing change to that. It's a little tamer than the websites we've seen, but the colour scheme and fonts lend this template well to being of a vintage nature. It's less 'techy' than what we're used to.

Folio. This could almost be a poster design, which is the beauty of email marketing. I'm a fan of the retro typefaces used. We'd always recommend you keep as much plain text as possible in an email, yet as long as you have the copy with the written content, an image led email like this would be very impactful.

Some badge logo inspiration

Badge logos are very popular today in vintage and retro design. I thought I'd take this opportunity rather than to say what I like about them, to give you an idea of how badge logos work.


1. Use badges to your advantage. Anything circular, a rounded edge square or even a stretched hexagon work well.
2. Apply to a background. Adding the logo on top of a textured background or old photograph instantly adds to its vintage feel.
3. Arch your text. It's all about adding the rounded feel to make it more badge like.
4. Use a combination of condensed uppercase, script and retro fonts.
5. Text shadows also add to its depth.
6. Subtle imagery like crosses, arrows, triangles or banners adds to its charm.
7. Keep it as symmetrical as possible. It's easier on the eye.
7. Most importantly, keep your foreground element one colour, especially if overlaid on a background.

This infographic of the Hipster Logo Design Guide from Tim Delger describes this perfectly.

And finally...

Completely outside of the vintage theme, I came across the website Silk where you can draw in beautiful colours and lines, and it will mirror what you've drawn symmetrically. It's fun to have a play around and see what you can create!

Written by Matt Preston, Lead Designer & Projects Co-ordinator at ExtraMile Communications. 

At ExtraMile we try to take an hour out each week to look around us at what others do and to gain inspiration and to admire people's creativity. Each post in this series is one staff member's take on the world of web, design and things online. We hope you enjoy it.


About ExtraMile

A digital marketing agency with international capabilities