I am not old, I am vintage.

Design trend: old computer aesthetic


The first graphical user interfaces appeared on computer screens back in the early 1970s. The influence they had on the design industry in general and motion design in particular, can still be seen today. This style plays on nostalgia and refers to a retro aesthetic. Let’s analyze the characteristics of this aesthetic down into a few key categories:

Bold Frames, Grids & Geometric Frames

One common trait in this trend is the willingness to embrace bold, minimalistic grids and frames.

Bold geometric shapes can be seen throughout many of these pieces. Sometimes 3D inspired shapes, other times bold abstract outlines. These shapes can show themselves as prominent hero graphics, but sometimes they can be used in more subtle ways, popping up as background patterns or decorations.

Pastel colors and Pixel Fonts

The colors seen in this type of design could best be described as bold, vibrant pastel tones. It is almost as if you start off with a delicate pastel color and then just crank up the saturation as high as it will go.

Although it is not necessary to include pixels style graphics to pull off the old computer look successfully, those designs which try to stay more true to the original 1970 GUI’s do tend to make use of Pixel Fonts or Pixel Icons in order to fully embrace the retro 16-bit vibe.

Examples of the ”Old Computer Aesthetic”

As the advent of the World Wide Web becomes an increasingly distant memory, the promising web designers of today are taking inspiration from those early "Wild West days. The so-called "Web 1.0" style of the '90s featured bright background colors, visible table markup and robotic fonts like Courier. Here are some examples:

Figma — the collaborative interface design tool

Poolsuite — A continuous flow of upbeat tracks and a place to hang out online with a retro vibe.

Boldare Boards — online collaboration app for remote teams.


Start a Project