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Article: 10 Simple Steps: How to Create A Vintage Poster Design

10 Simple Steps: How to Create A Vintage Poster Design

Creating a vintage poster design can be challenging at times, but here are some simple steps you can follow to create a great one. Let's find out!

Created by Nami Art |

Having a concept is one of the ways to make an outstanding and memorable design. It also applies to poster project work, which can come in handy to make certain visual interests. In this article, you will find the idea of using vintage concepts. The styling, the details, and the identity of having the old-fashioned design are here to help you work with the client's project.

So, what should you do? By being one of the iconic and long-lasting concepts, the vintage poster design has a particular visual point to nail. It is definitely, not a project that is easy to nail. In other words, when you are trying to nail the project, ensure you are prepared from the grounding point. After that, start talking with your client, make your design, and present it.


1. Find Vintage Poster References

If you ever have to work on a project, you have to start from the ground bottom references. The idea is that you can start working without getting an idea of what you are going to face. In this case, the vintage style is a particularly well-known and desired concept. It comes in many different forms, such as logos, marketing, and posters.

But what makes a vintage design vintage? This is one thing that you need to learn during the reference gathering. The majority will refer to the 80s or 90s period styled design as vintage and call it a day. But vintage is way more diverse than you think. It composes a great length of elements that shout out the identity.

Take a look at how the US capitol building has the taste of Greek architecture. It is also fun to see how many vintage pieces take the late 19th and 20th centuries style elements in them. It highlights that the concept mostly refers to how it incorporates the older design element. Thus, evoke nostalgia or emotional history for those who see it.

Created by Elio Moavero |

The main point of gathering and looking for many vintage poster design references is to learn what kind of style do you prefer? You have to know that there are tons of vintage types out there. Starting from the art deco, vintage badges, art nouveau, mid-century modern, the letterpress, steampunk, punk, vaporwave, swiss-style, atomic age, and many more.

Gathering many more ideas helps you choose the best references and model for the design project. It also creates a huge range of possibilities to work with certain products and brands, which is what you need. As you know the poster design model, you can go back and refer to your client's requirements and brief. Thus, you can represent the brand or product perfectly.

Created by Nadh P |


2. Ask Your Client About The Design Requirement

Asking the client's design requirements might be one of the keys to working with your project. How so? Because you are going to create artwork that later becomes theirs. In other words, you have to ensure you can fulfill the client's expectations about your vintage poster design. That is why always ask what kind of expectations or requirements for the project.

The design requirement itself can help you get a bigger vision of the product. What kind of style do you have to work? What are their preferences, and what kind of traits will you need to follow? You might have to come up with a loose random list in here. So, you can see how many poster expectations and requirements to follow.

It can be a bit bothersome, but it will help you appease the client's feelings. No designer wants to be called incompetent due to an inability to fit their client's wants. Thus, try to understand the client's knowledge about the poster design, the vintage concept, and what you have to do to achieve it. Tell them the truth about the estimation time, so you get a proper timeline.

Created by Bowling Tong |


3. Clearly Understand The Design Brief

Your design brief is the guideline. No matter how detailed or simple it is, ensure you can clearly understand all of the information in it. Why so? Because your vintage design brief will consist of all of the information about the product or project details. It also includes some expectations, project management, and also brand information.

How can it affect your work? When working with a design project, your brief shows all of the information to determine the perfect elements. It can include graphics, the vintage style, the concept, and even the brand identity. If you can understand the compromise of the business and the brand, it will be easier to make a relatable vintage poster design.

Imagine yourself working without any guidelines. You don't know where to go, what to add, how to highlight, and who is the target? High chances that you will lose or fulfill the client's expectations. It might also help you brainstorm and sketch the design. It is because the vintage poster concept is pretty vast; having a clearer guideline brings you to the best option possible.

One of the best examples is working with a game brand or company. The design brief shows all of the necessary detail about the game's aesthetic, purpose, target, and identity. The company might highlight concepts such as steampunk city. You can work from it. Create a vintage design with a steampunk design. Add all of the necessary elements and make it hit the target.

Created by Butcher Billy |

At some point, the design brief is your helper in progress. You know that every client might have different tastes and preferences. They might hate or like this and that. When you are working with poster design, learning these ideas helps you work in a safe area. You can hit their preferred ideas and prevent creating a fatal blow.

Understanding the target audience will also guide you in creating a proper poster. With different vintage styles, you can alter some elements to fit the audience. You don't want to show a pin-up girl with too much exposure for younger spectators, right? It again will steer your design progress to the perfect path.

What else helps you work with the poster design project? One of the vital points in project management. The brief will include details that state the time allotment and cost. The specific might differ from one designer to another. However, knowing them will give you a proper mindset to work with the vintage poster design project.

Yes, you know the deadline and the timeline. It might also include some of the milestones, which help create constant contact or confirmation with the patrons. The cost is also the best point to pay attention to since it will affect your final move and the overall progress. So, never underestimate the power of a poster design brief.

Created by Lucas Bellet |


4. Get Yourself A Vintage Typeface

Since vintage concepts come in many different styles, you will find a great length of typeface options out there. But what is the best vintage typeface that you need to use? It is one of the challenging points in working with vintage concepts since the answer will go back to your design era. Your pick might also depend on your poster style.

So, you have to consider many things before choosing the perfect font. One of the best ways to determine the best typeface is by considering the technology used during the era. If you are trying to evoke the 1980s aesthetic, a pin-up or letterpress font might fit the poster design. It is one of the vintage font's stylishness that fits with retro as well.

Created by Elio Moavero |

The idea is to call back the nostalgia of the era. The art deco that loosely refers to the 1920s style uses many symmetrical and sharp shapes for its font. Sometimes, it works the best for logos or signs. But you can also use the font idea to complement your vintage poster design. How about the 80s poster style that has a retro pin-up design?

In this case, the best possible font is the fabulously neon aesthetic. Sometimes, fusing with the elements such as color, shapes, and styling helps you bring out the vintage visual details. However, there are times that a vintage design does not particularly connect with a certain era. It is where the modern and old poster aesthetics blended.

The idea is not a design mistake. You can see that the innovation is to splash some vintage elements in the poster design. It might include the font, image, or some copy. Again, you should refer back to the brand and product. Ensure you can incorporate the project and client expectations into the work. Take a look at some font ideas below for your research and project.

Created by Yevgeniy Shalagin |


5. Play Around With Typography

Typography works like a charm. Whether you are working with old or modern styles, you will always need to play with typography. It is also one of the essential points for vintage poster models. A vintage style can be quite overwhelming if you are not paying attention to the typography, especially with fancy poster script lettering.

So, how do you play around with typography? There are many ways to nail it. The layout is one of the keys. You got to ensure you can bring up the vintage aesthetic both up and down. In other words, you got to ensure all of the construction work together, creating one concept. In vintage poster design, your typography is also a key to delivering the message.

Please carefully position all of the elements, so your typography is easier to read. At some point, you have to pay more attention to the use of colors, layout, and illustration. High contrast helps enhance legibility. But, the juxtaposition of the element and construction style still needs to be carefully and purposefully aligned.

Of course, you are free to play around with the poster design typography. You can create vertical copies that resemble neon lamps. You might also work with arched copy just to resemble the nouveau styling. No matter what your decision is, you have to pay attention to the readability aspect since you want to deliver a message from the poster.

Created by João Neves |


6. Use Suitable Vintage Graphic Elements

Vintage pieces are full of graphic elements. And you have to be decisive for the style, era, and direction. Being confused with the era or style will only make your poster design crammed with meaningless graphics. So, ensure you know what kind of image to use or fit with the poster model you are going for.

The first thing that you can consider is shapes. Many old designers work with shapes since they have limited access to photography. At some point, they might also use hand-painted human characters to add another layer of visual interest. Some designs might even come with very detailed ornamental elements, which later state identity.

In the 1950s vintage poster design, you will find a range of signage graphics. The use of neon banners with rounded or pointed edges makes it a particular era's identity. Again, you got to do proper research about the graphic representation of the era. It includes the use of pattern, texture, imagery, or typography.

The consideration is one of the challenges of working with vintage-style poster design. You need to look at the color, ornament style, the script font for the final printed look. For more detailed reasons, you can refer to the respected technology, fashion, or even some music. It is a very interesting point to consider. You can see some of these examples for your graphic inspiration.

Created by Wouter van Empel |


7. Create Balance Between Texts & Graphics

Since you got a great number of styles to choose from, having the right balance is the key. Your graphic and text should come in 50-50 proportions. Thus, you can highlight the poster's focal point and deliver the message. At some, the balance can refer to the vintage poster style. You can go full retro or blend some modern technology in it.

The idea is that you cannot ignore the touch of modern design in your poster. Whether it is a poster or not, you got to know that the target audience is living in the present. At the same time, the most important part of your project is to represent the business and the target audience. So, ensure your viewer can relate to your poster.

Created by Alexey Kot |


8. Use Vintage Color Palette 

More less 4 colors usage is one of the general laws of design. You can use the principle for almost every kind of project, including your vintage poster design. But when it comes to color palettes, vintage concepts come with a wide array of shades. You can work with contrast, limited color palette, clashing shades, heavy blocks, vectors, or texture.

The best point to consider is the color schemes that are reminiscent of that vintage era. You can also choose one that fits with the imagery, font, and typography. Your project target audience can also affect your color choices. Try to learn about color psychology to gain the perfect rendition, including the poster background, contrast, and overall aesthetic.

Created by Axana Zasorina |


9. Consider The Print Material

To create more old distressed paper details, your material choice is crucial. Sometimes, you can play tricks with a papery texture as a backdrop to make a browned texture. However, to make it even more immersive, you have to find the proper paper material. A paper with matte and textured material can help you achieve the vintage poster design details.

It might be one of the best options to fulfill the client's expectations. However, you might also need to refer back to the cost and material guidelines. Try to choose the most appropriate material that fits the budget. After all, you don't want to make yourself or the client loses unnecessary money. So, ensure you consult the material with your client.

Created by Nache Ramos |


10. Present The Printed Poster To Your Client Or Use Vintage Poster Mockups

At the end of the road, you got to either present your final poster design physically or use a mockup. A physical print helps you showcase the real experience and printing possibilities. However, It might get a little bit pricey. It is especially true if you are working with more than one product or idea. Using mockups can save some production money and time.

But again, you need to refer back to the brief. If your client asks for a printed poster design, then do so. It is also okay to ask for an extra fee for print if it is needed. But, you can also use a mockup. There are tons of mockup templates that you can work with. So, you can present the vintage poster design in many possible positions, renditions, or details, just like some of these mockups ideas for you.

Created by Alexey Kot |


Final Words

The lengthy information shows that working with poster design is not a simple thing to tackle. It is especially true when you are working with a particular concept, such as vintage. The essence of old-time graphics, fonts, shades, and many other elements show how complex it is. Thus, you have to be prepared and ensure you know what you are working at.

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