Design Nuggets February - nostalgia!

Monthly nuggets!
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Written by
Eilidh Dunsire
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March 22, 2021

It's February, and there has been a lot going on in the design world. From a brilliant baked beans themed tweet from Weetabix to a KitKat advert that perfectly sums up the day to day of work from home & lockdown, we've been entertained by well known brands.

For this month's nuggets, we're taking a look back at some familiar (and not so familiar) designs from the past.


100 days: 100 graphics!

We’re taking part in the 100 day project (#The100DayProject) this year. The global project started on the 31st of January and sees people around the world committing to 100 days of creativity. Participants are free to create the rules for their own project, as long as it gets those creative juices flowing.

(It’s kind of like those 100 day workout challenges, but for your creative muscles).

We decided to restrict our daily sessions to 15 minutes. I’m focusing on creating a daily graphic in a minimal or abstract style with the theme of nostalgia. Daniel is creating web hero sections on IMDB’s top 100 films, complete with UI elements!

Here’s a preview of our projects so far:

Some abstract nostalgia (minus the powdered cheese).

Forrest Gump: imagined as minimal landing page.


VHS design trends

Talking about funky designs from the past, my nostalgia exploration gave me a new appreciation for the various delightful designs of blank VHS sleeves of the 80s and 90s.

The flimsy cardboard sleeves, always worn from the tapes being removed over many multiple re-watches of (badly taped) favourites, still have a cool kind of charm to their design.

The sleeve designs were typically minimal and full of bright, block colours. Fun phrases like ‘videocassette’ (one word) and the ample overuse of the word ‘super’ furnish almost all of the designs (irrespective of brand), which also promise ‘superb quality’, ‘excellent resolution’ or ‘brilliant color and sound’ (we knew better to believe the lies).

*drool*

The typography, often skewed, and always bold somehow always manages to pull off an effortless cool while still being practical. The hierarchy of the text flows logically from the key features, tech spec and brand to the additional benefits. 

Bright and striking colours and graphics emphasise the promises laid out on the sleeve, and ‘high tech’ grids, patterns and waves offer a satisfying visual centre piece to the designs. That is, before they started to introduce gradients, bevelled type and ‘high tech’ textures and ruined everyone’s retro indulgence.

Check out this truly awesome animation titled by artist Forty Ninety Six which honours the VHS sleeve heroes: blank vhs covers were kinda beautiful’:

Want more?

- See this Flashbak article which curates some of the funkiest covers.

- And if you still haven’t got your fill of nostalgia, Vault of VHS will definitely hit the mark with its impressive archive of VHS sleeve design goodness.


Mr. P is… bald?

Wait, who's Mr. P? Pringles' moustached mascot has a name - that's Julius Pringle (or Mr. P for short), and he's had a haircut!

The familiar Pringles’ packaging has had little facelift and the most obvious change is Mr P’s erm… lack of hair.

The facelift gives Pringles a minimal look: removing details like background gradients, shadows and outlines. Most notably, Mr P’s moustache has lost all detail and shading in place of a flat design moustache, and his hair is missing. His bow tie is also now flat. His eyes have lost their highlight, which could’ve made for a creepy look, but he now has eyebrows which works quite well to reintroduce some feeling, counteracting any potential creepiness. The wordmark is almost the same as before, with highlights and outline intact (although slightly reduced for a cleaner look).

No gradients or unnecessary details here!

A really nice aspect of the new look is the dynamic emotion brought to Mr P’s eyes and eyebrows for the special varieties. He winces slightly for the sizzlin’ range, and looks pretty content on the wavy range. I’m looking forward to seeing how he reacts to other varieties.

Everybody loves an adaptable brand element.

More Pringles trivia you say? We all know the phrase "Once you pop, you can't stop!", but did you know that when Pringles came out in 1968, the snack was marketed as 'Newfangled Potato Chips'? There's just something fun about the word 'Newfangled'.

Until next month!

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About the author

Eilidh Dunsire

Resident brand specialist, designer, creative solution finder & coffee connoisseur.

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