Graphic Design Trends & Their Connection To Nostalgia Marketing

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Graphic Design Trends & Their Connection To Nostalgia Marketing

By Samantha Brooks on 3 May, 2018

The team at Fuse Agency contributed their favourite graphic design trends as of right now, and a recurring theme reared its head! All these trends have been seen before… hello 80s & 90s! From glitch effects to Memphis design trends, it became evident that a prominent theme in today’s graphic design landscape is history reinventing itself. Graphic design is an iterative process (calculated to achieve a desired response), and these trends do just that by creating that warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia. Memories came flooding back of the first Microsoft Word document we made as a kid with bold colour gradients as headings, that bright, abstract, geometric tracksuit we once owned, the glitches in family home videos, and rainbow streams on old photos. All tapping into fond memories of the past … fond memories which made us smile and created connections between the past and present, the holy grail of brand marketing.  

The “Glitch” Effect

Oh, the irony! After all these years of wanting high-quality media, waiting for the next best iPhone to be released so we could upgrade our camera, we have now taken a great liking to the technical glitches technology once gave us authentically. Now having to artificially create those rainbow streams, pixelations and white noise chopping effects (we once loathed) on our crystal clear media outputs. Why is it that we are reverting back to the lo-fi 90s look? Nostalgia. Nonetheless, this trend is making its mark and is here to stay, being adopted by some heavy hitting brands such as Adidas, ASOS and KKW Beauty. Adidas even created a line of football boots and accompanying campaign named “Glitch.”


Spotify adopted duotones into their brand identity in 2015 and it has really taken off since. Utilising one contrasting colour halftone over another halftone adds strength to any image. Replacing a traditional neutral toned transparent overlay with a duotone effect allows brand identities to be communicated more effectively when using busy media.  Even though bold colours are used and is often described to strengthen media, it can soften an image and create an opportunity for a new focal point. Duotone design techniques have the ability to neutralise image-heavy media by removing clashing colours and creating a more uniform, streamlined design output.



It really does look like the 90s never left when it comes to graphic design. Are gradients back and better than ever? We think so! Introducing Gradients 2.0. While this trend has been back for a while now, we are seeing it more and more frequently each day. Utilising bold colours, gradients add a sense of motion, progression and realness to media. As most things in our world provide natural gradients from the sky, fruit, flowers to other natural fibres, it creates an opportunity for technology to have a sense of realness and complexity which it once lacked with past “flat” design trends. While this design application is similar to duotones, the distribution of colours differ. It now is utilised by most brands in their digital presence.

Millennial Pink

Pantone’s colour of the year in 2016, Rose Quartz or better known as Millennial Pink has stuck around unlike any other and we think it’s here to stay a little while longer. While this trend might be tagged as a little dated by some, it is consistently being reinvented and in the past year, cult brands have given this colour and its variants a completely new life. Used in all things “aesthetic,” the colour has been heavily utilised in interior design, cosmetics, fashion, lifestyle and event brands. A huge player in the reinvigoration of this colour would have to be Glossier, a cult, millennial beauty brand from the States. They have embraced this colour so much so, that their Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube display picture is simply the millennial pink colour and even without their official logo on display their brand is recognised. For their target demographic, there is no doubt millennial pink is synonymous with Glossier the brand. This colour and its variants is also utilised by big brands such as KKW Beauty, Mecca Cosmetica and Splendour in the Grass as well as our own local brands such as James Street and Cailie Hotel. Maybe this millennial pink trend has something to do with the increase of instagrammed Rosé pics?

Memphis Design Trend

We are seeing a modern take on Memphis graphic design trends from the 80s and 90s through refreshed abstract and geometric design applications. Embracing pastel colours, unconventional shapes, lines and squiggles as well as flat 3D shapes, this is the ultimate nostalgic-evoking trend of them all. This one pushes the boundaries of conventional design and questions where items should be placed on a canvas. The irregular, asymmetrical shapes, colours and lines definitely bring back those Saved by the Bell memories.

The Fuse Agency team are experts at helping businesses execute fresh branding and design work for the current media landscape. Brands can no longer just communicate through words and services. They need beautiful, on-brand imagery to help them sell their message and drive customer loyalty. A business needs to be able to make consumers feel something about the brand if it’s going to have longevity in the marketplace. Whether a business is in its beginning phases or just needs a refresh, Fuse can provide start-to-finish design. From initial branding strategy through to collateral rollout, we’ll be with you every step of the way. We put in the hard yards to help our clients achieve their desired results.

About Fuse Agency
Fuse Agency is a full-service agency that can assist your business with anything from design, marketing strategy, web development, digital strategy, content marketing and public relations. If you are looking for assistance on developing your marketing strategy, carrying out strategic marketing activities (both digital and traditional) or growing your business and sales, then give the team at Fuse Agency a call on 3198 4890 today to find out how we can help you. We look forward to hearing from you!

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