Nostalgia is one of the most potent and powerful feelings there is. Nostalgia can take us back to the most special and important days of our lives, bringing up emotions and memories that we may have thought were long since buried away forever. Eliciting a nostalgic feel, especially when purposefully trying to do so, is not easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest design concepts to nail down.
However, when it is done right and used to its fullest effect, nostalgia can spur very rapid growth and uptake for a new brand, while also having the potential to give a second life to an old one. If you can find a way to tap into people’s fondest memories and give them a way to relive their most treasured memories, the sky is the limit as far as your brand’s reach is concerned.
Consider Your Design
Design is something that is central to all of our lives, even if we don’t pay it that much thought as we go about our days. Everything around us, including our homes themselves, has been designed for a specific purpose and function. The best designs we encounter are those that strike the perfect balance between form and function. This means that they are able to fulfill their purpose (their function) while also being aesthetically pleasing (their form).
It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about a physical object or something more abstract like a smartphone app, good design can sell a product on its own. In fact, good design could really how how your business interacts with customers in a number of different ways.
But design principles, especially when it comes to the form side of the equation, are constantly changing with time. New technology makes it possible for designers to consider possibilities that would have been unthinkable before. When you are designing your branding, and going for the nostalgia angle, it is important to strike the balance between a retro design and modern manufacturing and production techniques. For example, a toaster which resembles a vintage toaster looks great in the right kitchen. But a modern toaster with the internal wiring of a toaster from half a century ago is far less appealing.
Typography is one of the simplest ways of dating something, and of taking your audience back to a particular point in history. While a reader or viewer of your branding might allow their eyes to skip over any text without really taking it in, they cannot help but notice the typography you choose to write it in. Making your typography as bold as you can further draw the viewer’s eye and will ensure that they take in this key aspect of your design.
When the text is too small or ornate, it also becomes more difficult for the viewer to read. If your branding materials contain important text, and you want to ensure that any viewers take it in properly, use your choice of typography to draw their eye towards it.
You then need to ensure that what you write is clear, concise, and coherent, or the reader won’t just avoid reading it; they may well walk away with a negative impression of your business.
The Right Color Palette
Color is a vital consideration when you are designing anything. In fact, many of us already associate particular colors with particular brands or product types. For example, Coca-Cola has become almost synonymous with red. If you were to stop someone in the street and ask them what color they most associate with Coca-Cola, most of them will say red. The fact that this is true of people of all age groups from all over the world is a strong testament to how powerful branding has the potential to become.
When you look at older retro designs, you will begin to notice how the color palettes have changed over the years. Today, with advanced printing and digital design techniques, there are few practical limits on the kind of colors, both flat color and gradients, that we can incorporate into our designs. Conversely, when you look at film posters from just a few decades ago, they are dominated by flat, bright, and vibrant colors. Go back a few more decades and they contain relatively few bright colors and are generally more washed out in appearance.
If you are trying to invoke memories of a particular point in time with your branding, make sure you do your homework and take a look at the kind of color palettes that designers of the time favored.
Simple is Beautiful
No matter what you are designing, there is always tremendous value in making it as simple as possible. Remember, simple doesn’t mean the same thing as basic. A product can be very simple in its design while still offering an array of features. Apple has generally been very successful in providing their users with products that are simple to use, yet capable of a great deal.
When it comes to nostalgic branding, adopting a more minimalist approach can be very useful in allowing you to enhance particular features or areas of a design. For inspiration, consider the Nike logo. That simple white tick on a black background has sold many millions of units to consumers. Sometimes all you need is one simple idea that you can put front and center of your branding.
Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion and an equally powerful marketing concept. If you are able to produce branding that can successfully capture a particular point in the past, it could prove to be a game changer for your business.
Author: Catherine is a web designer in love with art in all its forms. Branding, designing and making your business stand out in this digital age are areas Catherine is quite interested in and occupated with lately. She has been researching and learning for some time now, so she is always happy to share her knowledge and inspire others by writing some quality content.