What is “Vintage” Design and Is It Right For You?

Given continued advancements in technology, it seems reasonable that companies would want to emphasize how modern and advanced a product is.  After all, modern means better, right?  For a growing number of consumers, however, the word “modern” is often conflated with words like “confusing” and “impersonal.”  For that reason, many companies have taken their designs…

Given continued advancements in technology, it seems reasonable that companies would want to emphasize how modern and advanced a product is.  After all, modern means better, right?  For a growing number of consumers, however, the word “modern” is often conflated with words like “confusing” and “impersonal.”  For that reason, many companies have taken their designs in a different direction, choosing to express a design that is more vintage in its appearance.  Is that kind of approach right for your company?

The Benefits of a Vintage Design

  • A vintage design, one that intentionally harkens back to an older, simpler aesthetic, can provide a level of assurance to a customer. It sends a message: “This design has been around for ages, so you know that it works.”  It’s hard to argue with that kind of reassurance.
  • Such a design is often very simple, which can help your product stand out from more complicated designs.
  • Products that use a vintage design are often viewed as being more durable and of better quality. Phrases like “old world construction” and “long lasting” are often associated with them.

Some Drawbacks

  • If your product is in an industry where older wasn’t always better, then this could backfire. In some cases, older versions of your product were unsafe, unsanitary, or poorly manufactured.  Televisions, for instance, are never marketed with a vintage design because nearly everyone agrees that they had a worse picture many years ago.  That would be a poor association to make.
  • If all of your competition uses a vintage design, it will cause your product to blend in rather than stand out. Consider all of your market options first.
  • Vintage designs have been all the rage for the last decade or so. The trend begin to create a backlash in the near future, so be cautious if using this approach to your design.
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