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Graphic design

#Logo design

18 Unique Retro and Vintage Logo Designs That Will Take You Back in Time
Graphic design

#Logo design

18 Amazing Retro Logo Designs to Make You Nostalgic

June 19, 2020
Danica Popovic


Retro logo design is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. If you have a customer base that’s keen to reflect on “simpler times” or hipster millennials in love with all things vintage, then one of these logo ideas can help you create a stunning brand identity.

I’m one of those annoying people known to use the phrase “I was born in the wrong decade”. What I’ve come to learn as such a person is that retro style means a lot of different things. For me, it’s always been the 1950s and 60s. For a lot of my friends, it’s the neon colors of the 1980s.

Finally, for those well versed in design, the best vintage-style logos are those that evoke a sense of nostalgia but fulfill the aesthetic expectations of the 21st century.

Cool vintage typography

I like to start these lists with simple wordmarks, as it’s amazing how much of an impact a custom typeface can deliver. The best thing about this type of vintage logos is that they resonate well with pretty much anyone—if you know next to nothing about logo design, you’ll still likely notice an especially groovy retro font.

1. Whistler Bottling Co.

If you thought this soda looks like something the Scooby-Doo Gang would drink - you’re not alone! This kind of typeface was a huge favorite with 1960s movie posters, and the asterisk on the letter “I” gives this logo a further, playful note.

whistler retro logo Design by thisremedy

2. PawnShop Kings

This awesome logo was created for a country band’s rebranding before a big tour. Hoodzpah, the design agency behind this logo design came up with a terrific custom typeface that makes a great fit for any country or blues album. The circle frame is another awesome choice as it resembles old vinyl.

pawnshop kings retro logo Design by Amy Hood

3. Lancaster Sweet Shoppe

Ok, but how about something a little more timeless than the 1950s and 1960s? I hear ya! Take a look at this graphic designer’s exquisite logo design that’s just the perfect company logo for a vintage candy shop (pardon, shoppe!). The elegant, cursive lettering and subtle aesthetic details give this logotype a retro look that still ticks all the boxes of contemporary logo design.

sweet shoppe kings retro logo Design by Gretchen Cobaugh

4. The Daybreaks

Here’s another fun band logo (no surprise that the music industry is particularly partial to vintage logos). The 1980s are definitely the era behind this logo design inspiration. You may have expected loud neons, but this graphic designer brilliantly achieved a retro look with a more elegant color palette. This retro badge is definitely something you can imagine on hand-me-down retro t-shirts!

daybreaks kings retro logo Design by Hank Ewbank

5. Phaëton

I am not one for loud neon colors (sorry Stranger Things fans), but you can certainly color me impressed with this powerful 80s logo! There are several design elements (including complex shading) which wouldn’t make this logo a great choice for print designs. However, for a vintage arcade game, this bold futuristic design makes a lot of sense.

phaeton retro logo

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Emblems and retro logo badges

A badge or emblem-style logo is a wonderful option to achieve that vintage design style. Think of old uniform patches or classic university crests, and you get the idea of how this style makes a great addition to any business card or branded merch (like t-shirts and hoodies).

6. Heisa

This one is a bit of a cheat, as it’s not exactly the company logo, but rather an emblem created for their clothing line. Nevertheless, it makes for perfect retro logo design inspiration! It marries a retro look (color palette) with sleek modern design (simplicity and cohesiveness of design elements).

heisa retro logo Design by Jeroen van Eerden

7. Dreadphile Cinema Club

This business name promises a very interesting logo concept, and sure enough this graphic designer’s logotype delivers. The old school style lettering and skull drawing make the logo a little less scary, but still delivers that delightfully weird and slightly ominous effect you’d want for a horror movie club!

dreadphile cinema club Design by MSG317

8. Kohii coffee shop logo concept

Although this awesome retro badge isn’t actually used in this company’s branding, it’s a wonderful example to look up to. The great thing about retro emblems like this one is the toned-down colors that are a lot easier to get right in print (back in the days before graphic design went digital everything had to be print-friendly).

kohii coffee retro logo Design by Michael Ernst

9. Sirilo’s cafe

This very simple little monogram still manages to evoke a sense of nostalgia. This dark shade of mustard yellow can be a dangerous choice - without the right graphic designer, it can look outdated. However, paired with the simplicity of the typeface and the elegant grey it’s a great choice for his cute, little diner.

sirilos cafe retro logo Design by Dustin Haver

Vintage logos with illustrations

This type of vintage logo design often holds a stark difference to a more contemporary style. While simplicity is often insisted on in modern logo design, illustrations that have a retro style are often a little more intricate. If you enjoy colorful designs, then some of the examples from this logo collection will certainly put a smile on your face!

10. Alpha Floral

As I said—sometimes it’s ok to leave the hipster minimalism to someone else, and instead opt for a design that’s luxurious and truly fabulous. This gorgeous art deco-style logo boldly pairs golden letters with prominent, red flowers. Like this style? Make sure to check out our comprehensive article on luxurious art deco logos.

alpha floral retro logo Design by Chelsea Bunn

11. Columbus Metro Park

This logo is actually for a sticker the graphic designer created by incorporating the company’s monochromatic emblem logo. The style of this vintage logo resembles a child’s drawing and the typeface gives a positive 60s vibe.

12. Olives Organics logo concept

This food logo for a fictional organic company includes a cool, modern illustration that takes inspiration from the past. The earthy tones are a good match for a company like this and the typeface gives this retro logo design a more luxurious feel.

olives organics retro logo Design by Nathan Holthuse

13. Bird and Jim

This cool logo is definitely not “over-the-top” old school, but the imagery and style remind me of old Lucky Luke comics. Use this example as a retro logo template if you’re interested in finding a way to give retro designs a simpler, more modern twist.

bird and jim retro logo

14. Moonbuggy blend

This logo for a particular blend produced by Jubilee Roasting Co. features a retro RV and a very cool typeface. The coherence of the whole logo is achieved with bold yellow lettering paired with the RV’s subtle grey and white tones.

moonbuggy blend retro logo Design by Kevin Kroneberger

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Turn of the century retro design logos

When we think of retro the first thing that usually comes to mind our styles dating back to the 1950s and onwards. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you may consider traveling further back in time and take inspiration from these traditional logotypes that resemble styles prominent at the turn of the 19th/20th century.

15. Lambay Irish Whiskey

Of course, it’s also possible to create a gorgeous illustration in black and white. The bird you see here is called a puffin and is native to Ireland. The custom typeface is simply wonderful with the swooshes giving it a very nice flow.

lambay whiskey retro logo

16. Commissiary Barber & Barista

As if a 2 in 1 barbershop and artisanal coffee bar wasn’t enough to draw hipster audiences in, this vintage logo design really sticks the landing with its target audience. The tiger illustration that resembles old circus posters is a great asset to use on social media, while the simple wordmark portion of the logo makes a great little addition to their web design (there’s a lot going on with photos and videos so the simplicity of the typeface works well).

commissary barber and barista retro logo

17. Clementine

This eclectic gift shop now uses a new logo that’s a little more modern, however their old one is definitely a terrific example for those seeking retro logo design inspiration. The gorgeous handwritten custom font along with this elegant frame would make this logo a beautiful addition to any business card, packaging, or label.

clementine retro logo Design by Jackson Latka

18. Grove’s Style logo concepts

If you google Victorian-style logo, you’ll be amazed at how many great vintage logos are out there that take inspiration from old sign painted typography. This example is a particularly successful one as it, again, transforms this distinctly retro style into a cleaner, more modern layout.

groves retro logo concept Design by James Donaldson

Be retro, not outdated

Whether you go for classic elegance or something that’s nostalgic and quirky, make sure to keep your retro designs up-to-date. This means taking inspiration from retro styles, but adhering to all the principles of good logo design that will keep your logo on par with those of your competitors!

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Danica Popovic

June 19, 2020

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.