Nostalgia for an analogue era is one of the biggest overarching trends we’ve seen this year, and the phenomenon is only getting stronger. It’s an attitude we’re seeing reflected in art, music, and fashion, pointing out a growing disillusionment with perfection at the push of a button. Technology has made almost every aspect of the creative process so much easier… but have we lost something meaningful in the absence of effort?
Of course, technology has always been an ally to our creative efforts (paint is technology that revolutionised smearing berries on a wall, and the fax machine was a futuristic device in 1843). But in the 21st century it seems that machines do the work for us, instead of with us.
Which explains why outdated photography tools like Polaroid and 35mm film continue their meteoric rise from the grave, despite the insane sophistication of modern digital cameras. There’s something satisfyingly physical in their clunky mechanisms, and the limited number of shots per roll makes you cherish each snap more – even the slightly out of focus ones. Unlimited perfection, it turns out, is overrated.
The trend of vintage technology in photography extends to a broader range of artistic formats, like screen printing, VHS video, and audio cassette tapes. The Risograph (a primitive one-color printing technique used to produce small runs of ‘zines, brochures and flyers in the mid-twentieth century) is in the midst of a massive revival. This aesthetic reduces images into overlapping patterns of tangy colors, typically on heavily textured paper.
As we’ve progressed deeper into the digital age, the computers we grew up with are now relegated to the vintage section too. Old school user-interface has become a contemporary look unto its own, pairing particularly well with glitches and sorrowful-looking Greek statues. The iconic 32-bit Windows 95 logo is a cornerstone of Vaporwave, a surreal aesthetic engaging with the popular entertainment, tech, and advertising of previous decades. Our Retro 95 layout collection was one of our most popular releases in 2019.
It’s beautifully ironic that digital technology allows us to easily mimic the analogue approach, but the decision to do so is a bold creative decision that says a lot about your brand or personality. There’s a cliché that photographs on film have “more soul” than digital pics, and there’s something to be said for that. Effort, craftsmanship, and imperfection are all very human ideas that we’re unconsciously drawn to as they become more rare. We’re all a little bit clumsy and rough around the edges, after all.
We’ve got tons of graphic material for you to get on trend with vintage tech. You can use blend mode to add film grain, negative frames, and light leaks to your photos, giving them that 35mm photo look. Or drop your pics into a Polaroid frame, and add a warm, bleached filter to send it back in time.
Retro UI was huge this year, and so we have some super cool templates and graphic packs to take you in this direction. Throw some glitches and holographics into the mix, and you’re golden.