What 1990s graphic design trends are still considered modern?


Question

Are there any parts about 1990s graphic design that are still considered modern or retro? I'm talking about certain colors, fonts, patterns, etc.

Hotline Miami for example has a graphic style, that I would say is very 1980s, but also modern. Are there any modern works, that you would consider inspired by 1990s?

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3/9/2016 9:51:00 PM

Accepted Answer

The 90s had quite a few styles over the span of that decade that I think would be identifiable as big graphic design trends.

It started with a holdover from the late 80senter image description here that I'd perhaps call 'neon':

The mid-90s were dominated both visually and musically by the grunge/seattle-sound. Two of the big names from that era would have been Art Chantry (and a lot of the work he did for Sub-Pop)

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...and David Carson and his magazine Raygun:

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Related in its grunge-iness but coming from an entirely different perspective would be CSA's retro clip art style work:

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Then there was the return of Steve Jobs to Apple where a lot of the more classic layout styles of the late 70s advertising were combined with the bright and playful product designs of the era:

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And then, of course, the internet came. For print design, WIRED magazine is perhaps the most memorable showcase of 'cyber' (I use that term with tongue in cheek) design:

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Are any of those 'modern'? I'd say, no. Are parts of these styles used today? certainly. I'd say the photo-copy low-fi-ness of both Art Chantry and CSA are still in widespread use today. But keep in mind that's been a style that's been around 100 years or so, so isn't necessarily strictly 90s-related.

To answer the question in your comment:

I am looking for something from the 90s that would be still considered a good design practice/style.

There is no particular style that would fit that broadly speaking. Whether a design trend or style is considered 'good' has everything to do with how it's applied and the context of what it's being applied to.

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10/10/2015 9:50:00 PM

Are there any modern works, that you would consider inspired by 90s?

Yes, grunge.

Hotline Miami for example has a graphic style, that i would say is very 80s, but also modern.

The thing is, some trends stick and become "classics" in a way. They have personality, an identity to refer to in a way. And trends often get on a cycle, they rotate and evolve. For example, the neon colors; They took a 15-20 years break and now they're back for some reason!

And in every cycle, there's always a modern and a retro trend; this way everybody is happy when they go shopping. It's a "marketing script" that works and is really present in the fashion industry for example. 15 years ago, the miami style looked a bit outdated while the style gogo and hippie from the 70' was very strong. You might think miami is modern because that's the cool retro right now (possibly). Or as I said, it became a classic.

Then there's trends that don't stick. This is an example below from the 2000:

example trend from the 2000

Unlike the grunge or miami style, it has no personality besides being "cute." You don't associate this with rebellious mind, Fight Club, independence, speed, coolness, alternative lifestyle, or anything. There is nothing memorable about that kind of design. It might come back differently in 15 years though when some creator will pretend to be original and re-use the idea again... and serve it to us as a new one :)


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