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S2N Takes a Look at Vintage Typography

By | December 18, 2014

A few weeks ago one of our designers happened to visit the Piggly Wiggly in the Pink Palace, a reproduction of the original 1916 Piggly Wiggly and the first ever “modern” grocery store, where they found the motherlode of turn of the century packaging. Just like the original store, it’s stocked with real products from 1916, with original packaging featuring vintage type and hand drawn illustrations. The most interesting things about the designs is that although they’re almost a hundred years old, a lot of them wouldn’t be out of place on a shirt or in a store today. In the past couple of years in particular, there’s been a huge resurgence in “vintage style” typography and logos (like this, and this). So what is it about vintage-style type that keeps us coming back?

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Vintage type, first off, is not to be confused with retro typography. “Vintage” type was actually created in the past, while “retro” type was created more recently but in a similar style, either digitally or sometimes by hand. If you’re looking up “art deco” on myfonts, what you’re seeing is retro type, not vintage. It’s usually not all that historically accurate, or very well done.

When vintage-style type is done right, it evokes a time when real care and physical effort went into design, when a letterer had to painstakingly create each letter by hand through trial and error. Many companies today have gone the route of a vintage style of type or logo to give their customers that same sense of care and trust inspired by what looks like a long-established business, and to set them apart from their nondescript competition.

Typography is a true passion for many designers, and as you can see in the photos shown in this post, it was the focal point of most designs in days past. These vintage type treatments are a shining example of type-driven design. Most of S2N’s designs are made with this in mind. We ask ourselves, “What can we do with the type treatment to grab the consumers attention, and, regardless of needing it, make them buy that product or service immediately?” The answer: make an amazing type treatment, that calls out to the consumer as they pass by.

Basically, great type never goes out of style.

We believe typography is a true art that can stand on its own, to be held high and appreciated for its beauty and creativity. See the photos below from Piggly Wiggly: we find them pretty inspiring–how about you?