Let's take a trip back in time! In this article, we'll explore the groovy and psychedelic decade by looking at some iconic vintage 70s fonts!
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The 1970s were filled with many social movements and cultural trends that greatly influenced graphic design. People wanted to express themselves as extravagantly as possible through music, fashion, and art. The hippy, disco, and punk movements were just a few of the trends that defined this iconic decade and made an impact in the visual world.
Fonts were a big part of this decade as designers were moving from the International Typographic Style that reigned in the 50s and part of the 60s. Hand-drawn retro fonts in the 70s were flowy and freeform. There was a big boom in 70s fonts for advertising. Disco 70s fonts were inspired by iconic neon lights.
New ways of typesetting were introduced, like the Letraset and the Visual Graphics PhotoTypositor. These two techniques allowed for an easier and more economical way to transfer type. Designers had more freedom to experiment with spacing and scaling.
Letraset introduced the dry transfer technique and could hold more detail. Many of the most recognizable 1970s fonts came from Letraset designer Colin Brignall: Aachen Bold, Italia, Octopuss, Superstar, and many more.
The Visual Graphics PhotoTypositor used large negative film strips that contained characters next to each other. The user simply lined up the character they wanted to be printed with a lens, and it was later projected onto photographic paper. This allowed for custom adjustments to the spacing of the characters. The unit also had different distortion lenses that made words take on different shapes.
Printing moved from letterpress to offset as darkrooms were becoming more and more sophisticated. It was normal to use film exposures to modify artworks and create chokes and spreads for trapping. Many devices were invented to alter type optically. For instance, one could take a solid typeface and create outlines, inlines, and interesting perspectives.
The 1970s aesthetic is characterized by multiple social movements and trends. One thing was for sure, the visuals were pushed to extremes—some might say tasteless, and some might say tasteful. Let's take a look at a few characteristics:
- Printing allowed for the use of photography, and advertisers wanted to go all out and use as much color as possible.
- Colorful illustrations became almost essential in every piece of design. We can see some Art Nouveau appear with the intricate psychedelic style.
- Designers had a lot more control when it came to typesetting. Experimentations with spacing and distorted type took off very quickly. Groovy fonts included swashes, another reference to Art Nouveau. These organic shapes were added at the end of capital letters and ball terminals.
- Graphic design became a weapon of protest. Many political protest groups made ways to draw type designs by hand, resulting in some really groovy 70s fonts.
- The most iconic element in this decade was type design. Groovy music inspired 70s fonts that almost looked like bubbles. Thick and curvy hand-drawn scripts carried on from the 60s. 70s disco fonts were inspired by neon lights. Punk rock inspired a revolution with collaged characters and distorted sans serifs.
- The gay pride movement introduced its iconic flag in the late 70s. This inspired designers to use many different colors in their design because it represented a positive and happy vibe.
Swashes were ubiquitous in vintage 70s fonts. A swash is a typographical flourish that exaggerated serifs and terminals on a character. Swashes were added to 70s style fonts as a tribute to Art Nouveau, the movement that inspired flourishes in every aspect of the design world.
Periwinkle Groovy Font (OTF, TTF)
This 70s groovy font is a revival of the charm of the 60s and 70s. The curly ends and rounded edges take us back to our childhood. Periwinkle comes with a full set of alternate swashes for capitals and a few for lowercase characters.
Swashington Retro 70s Font (OTF, TTF)
This serif font mixed with evocative swashes and ligatures will take you right back to the 70s style. This font has an extensive library of characters and options to experiment with. With over 270 discretionary ligatures, you'll be sure to find something that works.
70s Groovy Fonts
Illustration made way for hand-drawn groovy fonts in the 70s. Psychedelic and funky 70s style fonts weren't properly portrayed with your typical serif and sans serif, so designers started breaking the mold. They also had that 'look at me' quality that set them apart from normal ad campaigns.
Flowy, smooth, bubble-like shapes were almost a direct response to the International Typographic Style of the 50s. Fonts from the 70s were also exuberant and free, and hand-drawn fonts really show these qualities.
Califunkia Groovy Font (OTF, TTF)
This heavy, 70s retro font is based on hand-lettered advertisements. The font includes multiple ligature options for the characters. The fun part of ligatures is mixing and matching characters—there's always more than one perfect match!
Far Out 1970s Font (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
Far Out is a groovy 70s font that features round corners on all the characters. The set is inspired by the Flower Children of the 60s and 70s. A cool add-on? 22 hand-drawn graphics to complete your designs!
Marco Valmory Groovy Font (OTF, TTF, WOFF)
This retro font is bold and fun. Groovy? Check. Funky? Check. Drop shadow? Check. With this vintage 70s font, you have the full recipe you need to complete your hip design!
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Casual 70s Script Fonts
Casual 70s script fonts were less formal fonts used in advertising throughout the 60s and 70s. Much of the influence also came from the wellness movement and the need to use appropriate fonts that weren't flowy and free.
Funkies 1970s Font (OTF, TTF)
Inspired by disco, this funky 70s font is perfect for posters and album covers. It's bold, fun, and flowy, just like the iconic decade, and it's perfect for that fun party you've been meaning to throw! Retro fonts in the 70s are hard to nail, but this one is an exception: well designed, with many stylistic alternates, swashes, and ligatures for you to choose from!
Groovy 70s Style Font (OTF, TTF)
Drop shadows made 70s groovy fonts stand out by giving them an extra layer to pop. This groovy 70s font includes an extra extruded font version to create that extruded/drop shadow effect. It'll save you lots of time. The font is extensive: 593 glyphs, with 21 options for each character. That's variety!
Retrofunk Script: Retro 70s Font (OTF, TTF)
This 70s retro lettering font is inspired by the advertising of the 70s. This 70s script font has a square ending to all the characters, giving it an even more casual vibe. The font includes an extruded version, so you can make your text pop off the background!
- How to Create a Cool Bubble Font Text EffectAndrei Marius25 Aug 2020
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The Xerox machine exploded in popularity in the 70s, making it easier to copy posters and flyers. Punk rock took off as a social movement against the political happenings of the decade. Revolutionary graphics with an explosive combination of text highlight the fact that there were no limits for artists. Punk rock graphics were loud and abrasive—similar to the tunes of the decade.
Pop Punk Flyer: 1970s Aesthetic (AI, EPS, PNG)
This pop punk flyer has a photocopied quality that takes you right back to the 70s. The Dada-style collage and xeroxed quality were staples in the punk rock scene of the decade. This poster includes a stylized 70s rock font that completes the highly saturated image.
Here's another great example of the 70s gig poster. The mix of multiple 70s rock fonts and black and white imagery, alongside the layout, makes for a visually compelling flyer.
- How to Create a Punk Poster in Adobe PhotoshopLaura Keung12 Jul 2018
- How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in ProcreateMaria Dimova10 Jun 2021
Other 70s-Inspired Add-Ons
70s Retro Text Effects (PSD)
The 70s were filled with iconic text effects. If you're looking to stylize your design, search no more! This add-on is perfect to go on any 70s groovy font or 70s disco font. It'll instantly take you back in time.
Disco Retro Lines (JPG, AI, EPS, PNG)
Nothing screams vintage 70s font like the neon style. This awesome set of wallpaper is a great collection to have in your arsenal. These attractive, retro, and funky backgrounds are the perfect minimalist templates for your designs.
Inspired by magazines from the 70s, this is the ultimate pack you need. It includes patterns, brushes, and textures to apply to your design. Feel free to extrude titles, apply textures, and use brushes to obtain that vintage quality in your design.
Show Us Your 70s Designs!
The 70s were filled with many cultural movements that influenced graphic design in one way or another. Whether it was the use of colors, illustration style, or font shapes, the 70s were a decade to remember. If you are a fan of the funky and groovy fonts and designs, then show us your work! Let us know about your favorite style from this era.
If you want to learn more about 70s design styles, as well as other retro styles from the 60s and 80s, check out our blog post on retro design trends.
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