I have a couple of fairly strange hobbies that most might not understand. I collect old bottles from second hand shops and estate sales, for example. But one of my more obscure is finding instances where retro-style typography has been used in videos, art and other formats. This is not random; I do it because I think that old styles of lettering are interesting, unique, well made and perfect for modern designs that need a little flare.
The newer typographies tend to be very sleek, minimalist and created to establish a futuristic or just high-tech look. There is a coldness to it, like metal. While that can be cool, I just prefer the warmth and approachability that comes from the design models of the 1960s and 70’s, or even before then. Just look at the fonts used for war-time propaganda videos and public health brochures from the 1950’s. These are still common themes generated today.
It was this obsession that led me to look for the best typography videos on the web. I found dozens, but here are 10 personal favorites.
Aweome Retro Typography Videos
Set to a funk soundtrack of “Off With Their Heads” by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, this video shows a speedpaint of an 18 minute design project created by Ryan Quintal of Quintal Designs. He starts out with basic lettering and quickly turns it into a beautiful logo that comes from, as he says, “the time of flower power”.
Not only is the end result brilliant, but watching all of the little details so expertly applied is inspiring. The second I watched this I was wanting to make my own.
YouTube user Kokopelli1330 created this useful and informative video that shows you step by step how to create a typography wallpaper using simple text overlay and layers. The final product is really attractive and there is a retro feel to the whole thing, while still giving it a modern bend. That is due to the font versus the image placed in the center.
What I like about this video is that while it is not specifically retro, it does show in plain English how to create a wallpaper that could be.
This was a beautiful 30 second animation created by Emanuel Cohen of the Universite du Quebec a Montreal for a school project. While it is short, it not only uses retro typography but also a classic movie format and audio track to create a look similar to that found in old news reels. It uses the sound from the film “A Bout De Souffle” by the legend Jean Luc Godard.
This is the official music video for singer Caro Emerald’s song “That Man”. The song itself, if you have never heard it, is a throw back to retro classics by singers like Billie Holiday. The video was created to reflect the sound, with plenty of old school images to give you your field. It is a fun experiment in the way that old concepts can be successfully applied to today’s music scene.
eHow brings us this part from its wider series on graphic design by professional designer Mario Alberto Salcido of Dramatic Imagery. He talks about some of the more common uses of retro design in today’s concepts.
I liked hearing his views on how this style is making a comeback, but unfortunately it was more interesting than informative. So if you just want to take a peek into the mind of a professional graphic designer with a lot of experience, I would suggest watching this series.
This is an amusing little video made using all retro typography from the 50’s, based around the now infamous interview between Sarah Palin and Katie Couric. You might remember Palin’s much mocked assertion that she could “see Russia” from her home. In the interview used in this clip, Couric was trying to get an explanation about how Alaska being somewhat close to the Russian border furthered the former vice president elect’s foreign policy credentials.
Not only was the stumbling interview cringe worthy, but the way that the images used in the videoÂ enhance it make it an interesting clip.
I will warn you right now. Not a whole lot goes on in this video. There is no sound and more or less it is a slideshow of logo and poster designs. But I enjoyed seeing some of the things that had been done with the lettering, especially the colors. It is a nice way to get some ideas.
Besides making me laugh with the “Maybe some design here!” plastered all over during the video, this one just gave a nice little idea of a good retro template. The use of the old microphone, the almost disco-like music and the font placed against a blue, lined background were nice. It looked retro but not old.
This is another tutorial, this time showing you how to create typography in the style of retro pop comic art. It is a little dry, but it is very informative and easy to follow. The creator also has a great deal of other available tutorials in design you might want to check out, both on YouTube and his main site, which is linked in the description of the video.
One of the best uses of retro typography I have ever seen, this is the title sequence to the movie “Nick Knatterton: Der Film”, a German production of a live action super hero movie. The entire credits are made to simulate the patterns of the hero’s suit, which gives it a bit more creative flare.