written by: Thursday Bram•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 6/30/2009
Most eras have a few typefaces associated with them, making it easy to give a retro feel to a desktop publishing project: all you have to do is add the right font. Even better, many retro typefaces are available for free.
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Airstream is a word associated with the travel trailers that first became popular in the 1930s, with their names emblazoned on the side in a recognizable font. The Airstream font allows you to use a similar font to add a hint of that era to your projects. The typeface is fairly complete, missing only a few symbols. It could be used for a wide variety of projects, including setting even longer passages of text in order to highlight them. However, it may be practical to limit just how much of your project is displayed in this font, if only because it can be difficult to read longer pieces in this typeface.
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In the Sixties, intricate paisley patterns were very popular. You can add a touch of paisley to any document with Paisley Caps: each letter is decorated with pieces of paisley patterns. The font is limited to upper case letters and numerals, making it primarily useful for headlines. You could easily pair this font with another font that has a Sixties' feeling in order to create visual appeal.
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Art Nouveau Caps
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Art Nouveau Caps
The Art Nouveau period was characterized by incorporating artistic appeal into everything from chairs to fonts. The Art Noveau Caps typeface is modeled on the flourishes that appear on hand lettering of the time. This font can add an artistic touch to any project, as well as a hint of the turn-of-the-century times during which the Art Noveau style was popular. The typeface is somewhat limited: in addition to the upper case letters, it includes numerals and a handful of symbols.
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The geometric elements making up the characters of the Cassandra typeface can fit into several retro periods, but it may fit best with the Art Deco period, which stretched from the late Twenties to early Forties. Fine lines and shadows create a particularly unique font, and the designer has also created a number of monograms to accompany the typeface. The font includes upper case letters as well as lower case letters which are scaled down version of the capitals. It also has numerals and a few symbols. This typeface is ideal for headlines, but is not the easiest to read in larger blocks of text.
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More Retro Fonts
The number of retro fonts grows everyday: many type designers make a practice of creating fonts modeled on older hand lettering examples. You can find a wide variety of retro fonts on font catalogs, such as Dafont, ranging in time period from fairly modern to quite old-fashioned.