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Though we are currently facing complicated situations with forced lockdowns in every part of the world, that would not stop the creativity from flowing and embracing the 90s nostalgia in graphic design. This trend has made a comeback recently, thus leads to many designers started to implement the ideas in their design, products and even their marketing and advertising with 90s influence such as neon colours, fashion statements, graffiti, skateboarding and many more. Without further ado, let’s explore the 90s Graphic Design Trends that are currently popular and one of the Top Graphic Design Trends in 2021!

What is 90s Graphic Design Trends?

If you are not familiar with this, it is a trend packed with different styles and genres! Imagine throwing the classic rules of graphic design out the window, expressing and experimenting with your ideas beyond the limits with exaggeration and maximalism. Technically speaking, it is the total opposite of minimal graphic design trends. Let’s take a trip down to a memory lane where the loud, unpolished and raw look of fashion statements, pop culture and underground music genres making a mark for that era!

Aesthetic Characteristics of 90s Graphic Design

Here are several key characteristics of the 90s aesthetic though this era is known as a melting pot of different styles and genres with their specific attributes:

  • Eye-catching typography – using the concept of the bigger, the better! Large fonts that scream for attention were used as the focal point of the design. Contrasts in font sizes with uppercase, lowercase, bold or underlined. Pop culture design has been monopolised by Comic Sans style font while more extreme Sans Serifs were applied in a rave or grunge style.
  • Bold and vibrant colours – fluorescent green, bright yellow, pink neon, purple, orange and cerulean blue. All of these colours combined with fun patterns give a bold effect to the 90s graphic design.
  • Fun and crazy patterns – patterns were everywhere and could be found on the rave posters and even on the clothing, carpets or wallpaper.
  • Bold shapes – mainly abstract and geometric shapes

Let’s check out some of the iconic 90s design trends such as pop culture, grunge, rave and anti-design!

The 90s Graphic Design – Pop Culture Trends

Who has never heard of Spice Girls, Britney Spears or even the best sitcom comedy F.R.I.E.N.D.S? All of them happened in the 90s era and brought an unforgettable influence regarding fashion style, movies, music and even design. The 90s pop-culture design features bold and vivid colours, abstract shapes, over the top fonts, kitsch textures, fun and crazy patterns. The casual handwritten font with bold colours and geometric shapes were used as their first choice of design style for clothing, logos or even editorial before the Comic Sans font was released in 1994 and became the most favourable font style during that era. Recently, Comic Sans font is making a comeback in graphic design and lead to younger generations purchasing the products or using the services due to the feeling of being nostalgic for the time they have never lived. Many brands are currently incorporating all these 90s elements and Memphis Style in their design due to this trend. Let’s take a look at some of the designs with Memphis Style and these pop cultures elements:

The 90s Graphic Design – Grunge Trends

If pop culture trends defined by Spice Girls and F.R.I.E.N.D.S, grunge trends originated from underground music cultures like Nirvana, skateboarding and graffiti! As a result, giving rise to more experimental typography and gritty elements like distressed fonts and textures, dirty backgrounds, ripped edges, real-life imagery and hand-drawn doodles besides using the dirty and subdued colour palettes such as black, brown, beige, grey, red, green and yellow. Unsurprisingly can influence the audience mood and behaviour by combining all these elements in your design. Though breaking all the rules of traditional graphic design, however, it has been applied everywhere on posters to album covers, magazines and even art due to the realistic elements suggested by this trend. Here are some of the vector grunge icons designed by Vectorfair:

The 90s Graphic Design – Anti Design Trends

What is Anti Design? If the graphic design would propose beautifully crafted and designed content with perfection, anti-design would suggest an opposite approach. Anti-design is famous for being an expression of rebellion representing the true chaos and hideous with a lot of exaggeration, ugly elements, distortion, unorthodox layouts, maximalism and eccentric fonts. Effective at expressing a clear message about a brand and drawing extra attention towards the advertisements or products though you might not like the design outcomes. But the main point here is, this trend calls for attention with their authentic content. Surprisingly, to perfectly master this trend, you must know the rules of graphic design, have a particular skill and experience though this trend requires breaking the rules of graphic design. Many designers are now embracing the anti-design style and include these elements in their design.

The 90s Graphic Design – Rave Trends

Have you ever heard of rave culture and how this music phenomena brought a massive impact on the world of graphic design in the 90s? Similar to grunge, this rebellious trend was inspired by underground music like cyberpunk, house music and club culture. However, the 90s rave trend proposed the evocative, powerful and futuristic feel by featuring a combination of bold typography, neon colours, experimenting with patterns, dark backgrounds and breaking the rules of graphic design in their piece of work. In other words, it promotes the feeling of surrealism, psychedelia and visually compelling to the viewers. Just like how you would feel when listening to rave music, this rave design allows you to feel the energy from the unlimited creativity in the content. The posters, digital artwork, flyers and album covers are among the popular advertisements that used the 90s rave trend design in that era. But please bear in mind, this trend is still alive and featured in the same form of advertising since the 90s. Let’s check out some of the designs here: