Vintage is in…really in. Your parents’ and grandparents’ closets and junk drawers have become the coolest places to shop. But in a society racing to the future, it just seems paradoxical that there is such a preoccupation with the past. Ever wonder why vintage is so darn charming?
Let’s break it down:
The key to vintage color schemes is warmth. Very rarely do you find sharp, intense colors in vintage packaging. Even in the age of state-of-the-art photography, there is Instagram (or other similar apps), which puts your images through various filters, blocking out harsh lighting, muting over-bright colors, accentuating undertones. The colors of yesteryear seem to be more connected with Nature, itself. There isn’t any over-saturation of pigments; there are pastels, earth tones, and jewel tones, all of which can be found outside, in the sky, in fields, and in gardens.
Vintage typefaces are truly beautiful to behold. My theory on this is that designers of the past were just as much, if not more so, concerned with the design of their typeface as they were with the product, itself. They are works of art all on their own. Designers were not afraid to mix and match types and weights; scripts got just as much action as serifs. Font was the representative of the product, and oftentimes font is the first thing that the consumer associates with it. Take Coca-Cola, for instance. Even before you think of the fizzy, brown liquid (Let’s face it: Coke isn’t the most appetizing-looking thing out there. If I were a Martian, I’d be skeptical of drinking a glass of the brown bubbly stuff), you think of its red and white curlicues. Products of the past didn’t use font simply as a mode of communication; it was part of the experience of using the product.
Modern marketing has lost its imagination. In fact, I’d venture to say that it has lost faith in the average consumer’s intelligence…and understandably so. Packages from the golden years told you, in text, what you were buying, because they were just plain smarter than we are. You had to actually read it the box. Education has changed considerably in many different ways, but behind the world of education between 1900-1950, there was always a war or a depression looming. Many people nowadays don’t read simply because they don’t want to. The laziness of the 21st century manifests in its advertisements and packaging: we can’t be bothered to even read a few lines. After all, If I want coffee, there’d better be a cup of it on the front! How else am I supposed to figure this out?! On other packaging, there are entire scenes, where the product is simply implied, or makes a very small appearance. The design focus in vintage packaging isn’t on the obvious- doesn’t it feel good not to read a picture book everywhere you go?
Somebody once said, “It’s all about the money.” A whole lot of people have said that, actually. (That’s how we know it’s true.) The depressing fact is that the US Piggybank isn’t as full as it once was. The vast majority of working people out there are being more careful with their dimes and nickels than they ever had to be before. Our parents and grandparents remember times of widespread poverty; they also remember times of widespread prosperity. They remember times of simplicity, when there weren’t so many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. Vintage reminds us of those simpler times, and it is comforting to know that there are still remnants of the glory days out there just waiting to be found.