In this article, we look at the history of groovy 1960s logos, with plenty of examples and retro logo design inspiration.
The 1960s were an exciting era that found innovation in music, pop culture, and design. In this article, we touch on 1960s logo design, how it evolved, and some famous 60s logos. You'll also find retro logo design inspiration and typefaces.
If you're looking for 60s restaurant logo design or retro logo design inspiration, be sure to check out Envato Elements. For a small monthly fee, you have access to thousands of high-quality assets like logos, graphic templates, and 60s fonts.
1960s Logo Design
The 1960s were a reaction to the clean and geometric layouts of the 1950s. Sex, drugs and rock and roll dominated this era. The rock 'n roll trend emerged and launched the psychedelic era. Groovy was the word to define anything cool from the era.
The psychedelic movement experimented with mind-altering drugs, and it was a time when teenagers questioned sociocultural and political norms. Design transitioned from clean and geometric layouts to experimental, asymmetrical, and messy designs. Designs of this era included Art Nouveau inspired shapes, hand-drawn logos, and vibrant colors. For logo designs, classic logos had a heavier illustrative quality to them, while modern retro logos featured sophisticated iconography, sans serif fonts, and daring layouts.
Before the iconic minimalist logo from the late 60s, there was another logo redesign that lasted just a few years. In the early 1960s, the emblem used the original color scheme combination of red, white, and blue. Designers added the "American" inscription under the bird, which was already a simplification of an older logo. While the logo used a heavy sans serif at the top, the bottom featured a slanted version of "American" to convey movement.
The AT&T logo has gone through several redesigns. The second redesign from the 1960s was thanks to famous American designer Saul Bass. The logo was a simplified version of the old logo, which featured a bell inside a circle. The logo used a thick stroke that matched the font and that also created a heavy impact on the audience. This time, the simplified depiction of the bell only included the words AT&T and no descriptive text.
The very first Doritos logo was a true representation of 1960s logo design. The font used is a reversed contrast font, typical of this era. The sans serif font lacked clear straight lines and looked almost hand drawn. It also featured curved corners as serifs. Its characters were placed inside rectangular shapes, which were arranged unevenly to create an alternate pattern. It also featured bright colors like yellow and orange—at the time, marketing specialists believed these colors made people hungry.
The Dunkin Donuts 1960s logo design was in a hot pink shade. The logo featured a circular wordmark that represented a donut being dunked into a cup of coffee. The tall sans serif font used for the wordmark was funky and playful. The wordmark was pink on the top, while the bottom part was reversed so that it could be identified against the pink cup. This type of play was common in the designs of 1960s logos.
Oreo changed its logo drastically during the 1960s. To go along with the styles of this era, each character was placed in an individual circle. The circles were arranged in a repetitive pattern with different y axes. This created a fun and happy logo. The circles were also divided by thin lines. The font used for this 1960s logo was a wide thin sans serif; these types of fonts were used for most mid-century designs.
The original Taco Bell logo had the two words as separate elements. It featured colorful rectangles that, like the Dunkin Donuts logo, contained each character of the brand. The logo was fun and used a bold sans serif font that made the logo heavy.
The original Gap logo was introduced at the end of the 1960s. The logo featured a fun and playful sans serif font. Back then, "the" was part of the brand, and in the logo it appeared slightly slanted. The logo's font was rounded, similar to Futura, and it was sleek and clean, yet fun.
1960s Logo Design Examples From Envato Elements
Cafe Racer Motorcycle Logo (AI, EPS, JPG, PDF, PNG, PSD)
This hand-drawn logo is a great example of the beginning of 60s retro design. All of the styles through the decades blend from one to the other. No style becomes obsolete from one day to the next. The 60s graphics slowly evolved to custom-made and hand-drawn designs. Typography, just like most illustrations, was also created by hand and had that same quality in the final product.
20 Line Badges (AI, EPS, PSD)
Designers like Saul Bass created American retro logos that were reduced to their purest form. That's the case with this Camp logo too—simple and minimal, it uses just a few lines to convey a direct message. Most retro corporate logos were simple and distilled to almost icon-like illustrations.
20 Simple Badges (AI, EPS, PSD)
This is another awesome example of American retro logos that resembles the style of Saul Bass. His style was distinctly minimalistic, and brand design gained a lot from his work. This modern retro logo badge depicts a well-known tool used by designers on screen, the Pen Tool.
Penguin Cartoon Retro Logo Design (AI, EPS, PDF, PNG, PSD)
The 1960 graphic design style that developed after the rigid 1950s was more fun and friendly. Especially in the typography department, sans serif fonts had an edge to them that took them from serious and stern fonts to the opposite. That's the case in this retro logo design—the illustration is very simple, but the font is funky. It's also set on an uneven baseline, so the characters appear to be dancing.
Mountains Calling Retro Logo Design AI, EPS, JPG, PDF, PNG, PSD, SVG)
Uniform camp patches and badges had a unique look in 60s graphics. So much so that this style came back in the 2010s. These 1960s logos had a handmade quality to them. This one is mostly targeted at explorers and people who would use outdoor gear. Here, the typeface is hand drawn, and we can appreciate the unevenness of the lines.
Retro Logo Design Templates and Badges (AI, EPS, PSD, PDF)
These 1960s logo designs were created with retro in mind. In this template, you can find anything from a retro corporate logo to a 60s restaurant logo design. This set of logos includes retro sans serif fonts and handwritten scripts, both representative of the 1960s logo design era.
Typefaces for 1960s Logo Design
Winter (OTF, TTF)
This playful font is a style you would typically find in 1960s graphic design and American retro logos. The font is fun, and it has a human touch—it isn't the regular serious serif font. This type of font is often combined with a script to create awesome retro logos.
Ashland (OTF, TTF, WOFF, SVG)
Ashland is a groovy font that also has a human touch. Because of that, the font has so much personality that is typical of the fonts from the 1960s. The reverse contrast was normal in most fonts that came out of this era—designers were breaking rules and trying anything that was contradictory to classic design.
Grunge Decade (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
This psychedelic style font is very similar to the fonts that would be used in the 1960s. Many designs from this decade drew inspiration from Art Nouveau and reinterpreted design with funky colors and shapes. Grunge Decade is a typeface that would be found on a 60s logo design or poster.
Euphoria Party (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
Distorted is a synonym for the typography of the 1960s. This psychedelic style font is also inspired by Art Nouveau, and more specifically by its creativity and hand-drawn quality. This type of font would be used for a retro logo design or an editorial piece.
American Signer (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
A different style of hand-drawn font is a sign-painting style typeface. Typically drawn using brushes, sign painting was used on walls outside businesses and drawn by skilled artists. This style made a comeback in the 2010s, and the skill was picked up by several graphic designers again. This is a unique style of typeface that can be used for a 60s restaurant logo design.
Articulat is a 60s modernist Swiss style font that could be used for a retro corporate logo because it's highly legible. While the font is balanced, it also has personality, something slightly uncommon for fonts from that era.
In this article, I showed you famous 1960s logos and how the decade evolved. This was heavily influenced by sociopolitical changes and the need to be free. The 60s retro design was characterized by freedom and exploration in every artistic aspect. In design, that meant hand-drawn elements and a mission to convey fun and playfulness. Retro corporate logos evolved from the use of the typical Helvetica to sans serif fonts with more personality. Which is your favorite font?
If you're searching for modern retro logos or American retro logos, be sure to check out Envato Elements. Their library has new high-quality assets every week, and for a small monthly fee you can have access to all of them.
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