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Design

Aesthetic Design: From Vaporwave Design to the Grunge Aesthetic

Aesthetic design is a new post-modern style of art: a blend of groovy 70s, digital 80s, and grungy 90s. This mix is sure to create something eye-catching—let's take a look!

We've seen it everywhere on social media and can't quite pinpoint what it is. Pink hues, neon colors, pastel gradients, and a mash-up of multiple seen-before trends with a dash of pop culture. Aesthetic design is the new postmodern visual art taking over the internet. In this article, we'll take a look at what the aesthetic design style is and what past trends are included in it. We'll also take a look at a list of aesthetic Photoshop fonts and effects to apply to your own pictures. So, if you're looking for an article on how to make the vaporwave aesthetic, keep on reading.

If you are looking for aesthetic design inspiration, be sure to check out Envato Elements and GraphicRiver. There are plenty of aesthetic fonts and soft pastel Photoshop actions to explore for your next project!

What Is the Aesthetic Design Style?

Aesthetic design is a new postmodern visual art style emerging from a blend of trendy styles of the last 40 years and the current pop culture. The aesthetic design style is a mash-up of everything nostalgia from the past. Technological advances allow us to easily recreate fonts, colors, and elements from the 60s to the 90s. 

We can see lots of groovy fonts from the 60s, the New Wave style from the 70s, pastel colors and digital fonts from the 80s, and the 90s grunge aesthetic. To make the aesthetic design style stand out, many have added trendy pop culture references to it. VSCO is a photo editing tool launched in 2011, and many of the filters initially had retro aesthetic colors. Many of the Instagram filters also offered grungy textures and a pastel aesthetic. These two apps had a major impact on pop culture, bringing the past to life with a modern look from the new generation.

The example below shows multiple types of grungy, holographic, and modern typography being used as mash-up of multiple styles that work together.

How to Create a 90s Abstract Rave Poster in Adobe Photoshop
How to Create a 90s Abstract Rave Poster in Adobe Photoshop

Characteristics of Aesthetic Design

The aesthetic design style is vast and has many layers. Often we see that the common denominators are pastel colors, cool gradients, and—most importantly—the feel of nostalgia. We've divided the key elements by decades: 

  • The 60s were full of groovy and hippie fonts. We can see a few bubble style fonts as well.
  • The 70s New Wave style opened the doors to vaporwave design. We can see many vaporwave gradients featuring neon colors.
  • The 80s and its films lent inspiration to more retro neon aesthetic colors and cool gradients.
  • The 90s featured grungy, grainy images, and vibrant color grading from old-style film cameras also made an appearance in aesthetic pictures. 
  • Music and movies are also a huge inspiration for the aesthetic design style. Blade Runner and other dystopian movies used elements like holographic and iridescent backgrounds, cyberpunk, and glitch art to convey a digital feel. 

Aesthetic Design Font Styles

Vaporwave Aesthetic Text Font

The trendy vaporwave design style emerged in the early 2010s and came in to stay.  This stylish font is a perfect balance between uber digital and regular sans serif fonts. The pack also comes with backgrounds that can be used as aesthetic pastel wallpaper. Create your vaporwave design, complete with a background.

Vaporwave Font
Vaporwave Aesthetic Font

Axeon Aesthetic Text Font

This modern futuristic font has a touch of contemporary sci-fi while still maintaining the neon style from the 80s. It's the perfect choice for projects in which you want to stand out from the crowd. Suitable for movie posters or editorial design, this aesthetic Photoshop font packs a punch! 

Axeon Aesthetic Font
Axeon Aesthetic Text Font

Carmina Burana

The grunge aesthetic has been around for a while, and it's darker and edgier. This handmade brush font is readable while maintaining the grunge style. Aesthetic fonts like this have lots of character, and Carmina Burana is versatile and suitable for a wide variety of projects.

Carmina Burana
Carmina Burana

Horsemen Retrowave Font

The 1980s influenced much of the retrowave, and therefore vaporwave design as we know it. The vaporwave aesthetic effect is a postmodern style with more refined and high-quality digital effects. This font is inspired by horror movies from the 80s, and it's great for music album covers, comics, and games.

Horsemen
Horsemen Retrowave Font

Dorris Aesthetic Text Font

Aesthetic design is a mix of the last 40 years in visual culture. The 70s were full of pastel aesthetic colors, and the postmodern style adopted not only that but also the fonts. This unique and cute font family includes many alternates and ornaments to create lots of groovy retro-style designs. 

Dorris
Dorris Aesthetic Text Font

Far Out

Another example of 70s style aesthetic fonts is Far Out. This groovy font is inspired by flower children from back in the 60s and 70s. Also, check out the pastel aesthetic. Set your design on this font and place it against a similar aesthetic pastel wallpaper, and you're good to go!

Far Out
Far Out

Leo Sans Oblique

Another style of aesthetic fonts is sans serifs. As we mentioned, aesthetic design is a mix of trends from the last 40 years. Sans serif fonts bring a modern style to many dated trends. Leo Sans is geometric and is an extensive family. It comes with ten weights and extended language support. So no matter what language you want to create your aesthetic design in, Leo Sans is ready to be used.

Leo Sans Oblique
Leo Sans Oblique

Aesthetic Effect Add-Ons

Holographic Iridescent Soft Pastel Photoshop Action (PS)

Check out this aesthetic picture with a holographic effect. The vaporwave gradient using pastel aesthetics is modern and visually appealing. Soft pastel Photoshop actions retouch your photos with iridescent colors that make it look really original. There's a video tutorial included in the pack, so you can explore many options. This action would make a really great cover for a book in the aesthetic style. This can also make an awesome aesthetic pastel wallpaper for your digital devices. 

Holographic Iridescent Soft Pastel Photoshop Action
Holographic Iridescent Soft Pastel Photoshop Action

50 Cyberpunk Chrome Vaporwave Theme Presets (LR, LUTs)

Aesthetic images don't have to be difficult to create. This amazing chrome vaporwave theme preset will take your photo to a whole new level. The pack comes with 50 cyberpunk style presets for Lightroom and LUTs, and these neon colors can make anything look futuristic. If you're wondering how to make a picture aesthetic in Photoshop or other software, look no further. 

50 Cyberpunk Chrome Vaporwave Theme Presets
50 Cyberpunk Chrome Vaporwave Theme Presets

Toxic Potion Glitch Effects Pack (PS)

Glitch effects are part of the grunge aesthetic. So, if you're wondering how to make a picture aesthetic in Photoshop, look no more. Turn any plain image into something fresh with this Toxic Potion pack. Inspired by fuzzy mornings and aerosol paints, the aesthetic effect will make your images look psychedelic and modern. 

Toxic Potion Glitch Effects Pack
Toxic Potion Glitch Effects Pack

80s Retro Text Effect (PS)

Give your projects an awesome vaporwave design style. This Photoshop action comes with all the effects ready—all you need to do is change the text, and voilá. The effects are organized with layer styles, and the file is 300 dpi—optimal for printing. Also, check out that awesome vaporwave gradient in the background! Or you could also use a different background, but just make sure you save your vaporwave PNG file for transparent elements.

80s Retro Text Effect
80s Retro Text Effect

Retrograde, Retro and Vintage Actions (PS)

Aesthetic images are a blend of trendy styles from the last 40 years. This Photoshop action includes many aesthetic effects and soft pastel Photoshop actions. The actions are fully editable and can stylize and turn your projects into pastel aesthetic images. Create a photography book in the aesthetic style with these awesome actions.

Retrograde Retro and Vintage Actions
Retrograde, Retro and Vintage Actions

Light Painting Photoshop Action (PS)

Are you wondering how to make vaporwave aesthetic edits with a single click? This Photoshop action creates a color light painting effect and can turn your design into chrome vaporwave themed images. Drop your vaporwave PNG onto a cool background, and you're good to go! 

Light Painting Photoshop Action
Light Painting Photoshop Action

50 Cotton Candy Lightroom Presets and LUTs (LR, PS, LUTs)

If you're wondering how to make a picture aesthetic in Photoshop, here's the solution. Soft pastels are key when creating aesthetic pictures, and this mega pack of presets is perfect for that. You can edit your pictures anywhere with the Lightroom mobile capability—pastel aesthetic pictures at your fingertips!

50 Cotton Candy Lightroom Presets and LUTs
50 Cotton Candy Lightroom Presets and LUTs

Show Us Your Designs!

The aesthetic design style is a trendy hybrid visual art that has been in the making for a few years now. We've rounded up many of the elements and inspirations for this interesting and nostalgic visual style. In this article, we also showed you how to make vaporwave aesthetic edits by using soft pastel Photoshop actions. We also did a round-up of aesthetic Photoshop fonts to use on your next project. Now it's your turn—show us some of your awesome aesthetic artwork!

For more trendy grunge aesthetic designs and aesthetic effects in Photoshop, check out the high-quality assets over at GraphicRiver and Envato Elements. Happy designing!

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