If you're a big fan of 1960s design and are always looking for opportunities to incorporate its aesthetic into your own projects, then you're in luck.
Major Design Influences of the 1960s
From the Southeast Asia wars to the Civil Rights Movement, student protests, Woodstock, Stonewall, the Moon landing, Beatlemania, rock 'n roll, hallucinogenics, and miniskirts, the 1960s were a decade of intense political, social, and cultural upheavals which had a profound effect on the graphic design of the era.
The functional and unemotional design of the 50s, with its clean minimalism, geometric shapes, and rejection of the ornamental, was washed away by this firmly postmodern spirit which embraced experimental styles, wild imaginative forms, dizzying optical illusions, and vibrant colours seen in widely distributed posters, flyers, and album covers.
The two major trends that arose in this period were Pop Art graphic design and psychedelic design. Let's take a more in-depth look at each.
Pop Art Graphic Design
You may have asked yourself more than once: "What is Pop Art?" Well, the first thing you should know is that Pop Art is a postmodern movement which started in the 1950s in the UK but really came into its own in the 1960s. It was a rebellion against what was seen as the elitism of fine art and an embracing of the images, icons, and themes found in popular culture—namely television, advertising, magazines, comic strips, and mass-produced everyday objects used by average people.
In their celebration of the everyday, Pop Artists tended to use accessible techniques to create their art like reproduction, screen printing, and collage, and they often used irony, satire, and humour in their work.
Two of the best-known artists of the Pop Art movement were Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and it is their work which came to represent the movement as a whole and influenced graphic design the most.
Design Characteristics of Pop Art
- Bold, vibrant colours
- Images and icons from popular media
- Celebration of everyday products
- Comic book aesthetic of Roy Lichtenstein
- Screenprinting aesthetic of Andy Warhol
Cool Pop Art Style Graphic Design Resources
If you are interested in blending pop art and graphic design, this is a great Photoshop action for giving your images the Roy Lichtenstein effect. The Photoshop action is fully editable and really easy to use, so that in no time you can create your own 1960s poster design or any other retro 1960s graphic design you care to.
Sour Crunch (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
Looking for a great pop art style font for your next project? How about Sour Crunch? The font comes in uppercase characters only and offers irregular shapes that give a dynamic look. An excellent choice for creating 1960s poster design.
Having a garage sale? Check out the Pop Art Ideas for Garage Sale Flyer template. The template is offered in well-organised Photoshop layers which make editing text and colours super easy.
This terrific pack of art text effects is great for retro 1960s graphic design styles. It contains eight different styles, all of which are fully resizable, so you can scale them as big as you like without losing quality.
Craptons 60s Graphics Font (TTF, OTF)
Craptons 60s Graphics Font is another great choice if you want to bring a Pop Art style to your project. The font contains both upper and lowercase characters, numbers, punctuation, and multilingual characters.
Halftone Brushes + Bonus Patterns (AI, EPS)
This Pop-Art-inspired brush set is a great way to add that signature halftone effect to your work. The pack contains 26 halftone brushes, divided between scatter halftone and line halftone effects. By adjusting the settings, you can change the size, scatter, and rotation, or even make them pressure-sensitive for use with a graphics tablet. This is a terrific Pop Art style resource.
Pop Art Poster Action (PSD)
Creating the famous Andy Warhol effect is now a few clicks away with this wonderful Photoshop action. There are four actions included, which allow you to generate four different colours. For the best results, use photos in the range of 800px to 3000px.
Psychedelic 60s Graphic Design
Psychedelic style began to gain attention in the mid-1950s and had a tremendous impact on many aspects of popular culture, including music, dress, the way people expressed themselves, graphic design, and more.
The term 'psychedelic' came from hallucinatory drugs like LSD and Psilocybin that were extremely popular at the time among young people and were commonly known as psychedelics. The drugs intensified sensory perception, sometimes distorted perception, and created hallucinations accompanied by extreme feelings of either euphoria or despair. The phenomenon popularly known as tripping became quite popular among musicians, artists, and others seeking an elevated or spiritual experience.
Soon graphic designers started creating 1960s psychedelic art for band and concert posters and album covers which sought to visually express the feeling of tripping. This was represented by intense colours, swirling patterns, optical illusions that appeared to make designs vibrate, highly stylised and often illegible hand-drawn type, Art Nouveau-inspired curvilinear shapes, and tons of ornamentation.
Characteristics of Psychedelic Design
- Bright, intense colours
- Swirling patterns
- Optical illusions that appear to make designs vibrate
- Highly stylised and often illegible hand-drawn typefaces
- Art Nouveau-inspired curvilinear shapes
- Tons of ornamentation
Cool Psychedelic 60s Graphic Design Resources
With its bright colours and swirling patterns, this is a perfect example of psychedelic art. It was made in the digital age, though, so it comes as an EPS file with vector elements assembled into a portrait—a technique that would amaze the sixties pioneers of the style.
Here’s another background that will give you a shift in consciousness if you stare at it too long. The dense concentration of lines converging in the centre makes the whole image seem to vibrate. It would also be a great way to focus the viewer’s eye on whatever you want to put in the centre.
Acid Psychedelic Fractals (JPEG)
Things got quite trippy in the late 1960s, and the design of the period reflects that. This amazing set of five psychedelic backgrounds perfectly captures the creativity of the 1960s counterculture. They’re all high resolution, so you can use these backgrounds in any project you like.
Morgy Font Psychedelic Design (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
How cool is this 1960s psychedelic art font? It's just what you need when you want to create 1960s poster design or any other 1960s-inspired project. The display font comes with over 50 ligatures and alternates that are perfect for creating your own standout text.
Janger Display Font (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
How awesome would your poster or T-shirt look with this 1960s psychedelic art font? Janger is a bold and fun display font that offers uppercase characters only. Use it to bring a retro 60s vibe to your next project.
Gruvilicious: Retro Groovy Font (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
Gruvilicious is a psychedelic style font inspired by 60s music albums and posters. It captures all the qualities of 1960s psychedelic fonts and is an excellent font for projects that require a fun and funky display font.
This template is a perfect 1960s-inspired design for a music festival. It captures some of the best qualities of 60s graphics. The A4 template is easy to customise. Change the text and colours to adapt it to your needs.
Psychedelic Music Flyer (PSD)
If the flyer above doesn't quite do it for you, how about this terrific psychedelic 60s graphic design? It comes with well-organised layers that you can edit in Photoshop.
Choose Your Favourite 60s Design Elements
That's it for our look at 1960s graphic design. Now you know all about the era and where you can find superb design resources when you want to bring a retro touch to your projects, head on over to Envato Elements and GraphicRiver and download your favourite resource today.
And if you're interested in more 60s graphic designs, check out these super helpful articles below:
- DesigningCreate a 60s Psychedelic Style Concert PosterKyle Pero
- Resources30 Cool Retro Fonts to Download in 2021Melody Nieves
- Graphic DesignA Look at Graphic Trends That Define the 70s (Retro Fonts, Text Effects, and More!)Laura Keung
- Fonts24+ Best Free Retro Fonts (50s–80s Fonts to Download)Daisy Ein
- Logo Design30+ Best Vintage Logo Templates (And Tips & Tricks on Creating Vintage Logo Design)Nona Blackman
- Tools & TipsQuick Tip: How to Make Pop Art with Live TraceCheryl Graham
- Photoshop ActionsHow to Create Pop Art Photo Effects With Photoshop ActionsJohn Negoita
- FlyersHow to Create a 60s Retro Flyer DesignLaura Keung