Often past trends predict what future trends will look like. Design and illustration styles ebb and flow, and what was popular decades ago might be en vogue again.
Take postcards, for instance. They demonstrate trends in typography, images and layout.
Some postcards below have gorgeous typography that designers have tried to emulate in present postcards. Others have a diffused, slightly hazy look in their illustrations and photographs, which has been revived thanks to apps like Instagram and photo filters.
If you’re interested in using past trends to give your work fresh perspective, consider how you’ll add a contemporary spin.
Try tweaking something that will make it uniquely yours. Maybe you’ll put a twist in your color palette, image selection or font choice. This will give your postcard a rich visual quality while combining your personal twist on a nostalgic image.
1. Postcards are a traditional way of communicating with loved ones, especially while traveling abroad. It’s an easy way to communicate and send a souvenir to a friend as well. This particular style below is iconic — big block letters you can fill with images or photos of your destination.
2. I love how San Francisco feels so small compared to how massive it is in reality.
3. If you think classic postcards aren't weird, then think again. This eerie card is still considered bizarre today.
4. I learned so many facts about California from this postcard alone!
5. This retro postcard has come back into style lately, so this postcard would be very popular to send to your friends.
6. Do you prefer a bold, graphic style in a postcard? Take a look at images from the 1950s and 1960s (aka mid-century modern). They're typical color palette and images are simple.
7. This paint palette isn’t your typical image, and it cleverly uses photography to make something that’s totally unique (if not a little weird!).
8. I like this abstracted representation of Tomorrowland. The simple color palette and images keep the postcard retro and visually stimulating.
9. There’s a nice play of scale going on in this postcard. We see the small trees in the background and large figures in the front. I love how the people are joyous and timeless at the same time.
10. While I’ve shown you many illustrations, here’s a card that uses two photographs stacked on top of one another. Notice how the larger image anchors the entire composition!
11. This image was made to look like it's 3D and wasn't accomplished through a computer — the artists created each element and then photographed it all together. Because of it, the shadows are totally natural-looking. This technique is easy to do if you’re willing to put in the extra time.
12. Even though this card is Christmas-themed, it embraces colors other than red and green.
13. I’m sure you’ve seen a variation of this image before (maybe in the Go-Go’s music video for Vacation?). It’s iconic, which means you can put your own twist on a highly recognizable postcard.
14. This postcard was created in Japan and considered avant-garde at the time. They still hold up as striking and modern today. What a beautiful use of color and pattern!
15. This beautifully illustrated postcard was used as a tool for learning. Postcards don’t have to be for travel anymore — they can be used for flash cards, too!
Class it up!
Hopefully, you feel inspired to create your own vintage postcard and put a twist on it. You can’t go wrong with any tweak or addition you make on a classic postcard. The sky’s the limit, and your imagination will help you create an amazing postcard.
Photos courtesy of etsy.com, allposters.com, ebay.com, theberry.com, flickr.com, fattycakeshandmade.com, tumblr.com, blogspot.com, and mit.edu.