Quintessentially 80s

typotect's picture

I'm working on a poster for an event named

kentlew's picture

Cooper Black = 80s? you're talking about the 1980s right? Hmmm.

When I remember the 80s I remember Memphis style with lots of wavy lines and Univers Condensed Oblique set on an angle to match the slant. Remember that?

And Charles S. Anderson and the retro, rubber stamp feeling. Maybe some Torino or Corvinus Skyline or Fenice. Or maybe even just some Cheltenham Condensed.

I also think of early Neville Brody stuff -- Industria, Arcadia. Or maybe early Emigre -- Modula, Senator, Base 9.

That's some of what says the 80s to me.

-- K.

peterbruhn's picture

Neville Brody faces
Franklin Gothic
Copperplate Gothic

peterbruhn's picture

Sorry, I missed:
> that still look decent today?

Please strike Copperplate Gothic.

trae's picture

define decent! nothing says "this is the dawning of the age of computers" quite like a cheesy, bit-mappy, early days of Pac Man sort of thing...

ooh! and Mistral!

Fine sans serifs... Helvetica Ultra Light ...

cheshiredave's picture

How about the title font from Purple Rain? There's some 80s euphoria for ya. It's not decent, but, then, neither were the 80s.

Larabie's got it for free. Click here and then scroll down to "Still Time."

Miss Tiffany's picture

Neville Brody, April Greiman, Vaughn Oliver >>> Google Search these and check out their early work.

sean's picture

Matrix, Matrix, Matrix. Useful, very 80's and still looks good.


sham's picture

I was in high school in the 1980s, we used lots of Mistral and Avant Garde in the yearbook.

typotect's picture

>Larabie's got it for free. Click here and then
>scroll down to "Still Time."

I actually downloaded that a few days ago because
it is perfect for the job. Thanks for the suggestions.
BTW, I know cooper probably wasn't tres chic during
the 80's, but a lot of kitchy design from that era
seems to use that happy typeface.

But I was a child then, so what do I know anyway.

hdschellnack's picture

>>ooh! and Mistral! 50s, not 80s. Had an 80s revival due to Corel Draw or something...

hdschellnack's picture

>Cooper black How does a 20s typeface have an 80s flair? :-) Still used as VIVA TVs principal font, though... Eerie, to see that font on young music television... Fonts with massive 80s flair, imo are the various works of Neville Brody, mostly available through Fontshop and Linotype. The standard, non Fontshop-modded DIN-Schrift also was very big, at least in Germany, in the 80s, used in a mag named TEMPO. Not a font from the 80s, but it fit the cold and sterile tone of the times. Many Emigre Fonts stem from the 80s, especially their bitmap work like Oakland. Also, Modular and Triplex suggest themselves, but I'm not sure they're from the 80s originally. Also, if we go late-80s, there were already some Instant Fonts in Use. VERY late 80s, we got the Beowolf by Letteror. Despite being called the Helvetica of the 90s, Erik Spiekermanns Meta was originally created in the mid-80s and somehow has an 80s Flair, imo, till today. Also, if you look at Vaughan Olivers stellar work, a nice step back in history is okay, so even Garamond and Sabon or specimen from old books can be used.

hdschellnack's picture

April Greiman!!! Jesus, I all but forgot about her... Gotta see that I get her old book one of these days... Never really dug all of her work, but yeah, she's quintessentially 80s/90s.

Also, but already more 90s, there of course is Alexander Branczyk, who did the Frontpage magazine and a very Carsoneque-with-a-Kraftwerk-Twist-style for Berlin Techno Music.

And there are many free fonts featuring fonts used on music albums during that period, eg. from The Cure.

trae's picture

Cooper (brings a tear to the eye)... who hasn't owned a t-shirt or hat with something in Cooper on it.

Kabel? Bauhaus? Peignot? I know, not from the 80s but I took another tour though some vintage job samples that no one's gotten around to chucking. And the Cure... I think I remember the packaging for one of the singles had some funny, flowing script, striped spider's legs. What was that, anyway?

cheshiredave's picture

Mistral's revival, I'm certain, came about via the titles to the classic 80s American television show "Night Court."

hdschellnack's picture

Cool. Over here in Germany, imo, it was a least up to a certain degree because of Corel Draw in te late 80s and 90s... Mistral, Peignot and some other fonts all suddenly were used quite a lot by folks who bought the package, which included parts of the Bitstream Library...

Diner's picture

There's a decent amound of reference at: http://www.eighties.com/

Overall, when I think of 80s I think of a more jaggy font like the Peavy Amplifier logo. There is a font called Space Patrol that has this look to it. And I usually see that font in the words "Radical Dude!"

tsprowl's picture

Cooper is more 70s don't ya think guys?
Welcome back Kotter?

trae's picture

true... I think it carried over to early 80s a little though. But you're right, very Welcome Back Kotter.

maybe bold serifs, slab serifs... for TV titles (always the cast etc., very utilitarian) I think I've re-noticed while indulging in a steady diet of re-runs.

piccic's picture

Any Oz Cooper typeface is eternal, for me.

Although I don't agree any typeface stops looking decent, as everything is the basis for the future, I can say my impression (from graphic design) is you would get the most of eighties design from the following:

1) Industria (Adobe)
2) Franklin Gothic and Franklin Gothic Condensed (mostly used in bold and extrabold).
3) Compacta
4) City (Berthold)
5) Eras (ITC/Letraset) (yes, Stephen is right!)
6) Enviro (ITC/Letraset)
7) Frankfurter (ITC/Letraset)
8) American Typewriter
9) Harlow (ITC/Letraset)
10) Santa Fe (ITC/Letraset)
11) Serif Gothic (ITC/Letraset)
12) Tiffany (ITC)

For a display type crying "1908s" and stuck in them (for now) Enviro, Santa Fe and Harlow are the best for me. (I hate Enviro but I'm following the brief).
Serif Gothic and Eras are also very OK for a more formal look.
If you want to look a bit "too fancy for my cat", Tiffany is fine, instead.
Steve (ITC/Letraset) it's from 1973 but it recalls a lot the "future past" attitude of the 1980s first videogames generation. A lot more than Data70 or Countdown and Amelia, more connected to their own 1970s.

I hope I have spotted something suitable for your poster.

piccic's picture

Ehi! I've forgot Van Dijk!!! (Letraset, 1982)
In the same league of Enviro et al.

marcox's picture

Ah, Van Dijk! I used a rub-down version on the first newsletter I ever designed, circa 1985.

For years afterward I would torment my wife with Van Dijk sightings at the grocery store, since it was a popular packaging font in the Reagan Era.

And look at the endless possibilities available to digital typographers today!

trae's picture

Van Dijk sightings! Ah, the blank and/or annoyed looks for playing games of Type I Spy. Trips to the grocery store have never been so much fun or educational.

gulliver's picture

I would add Windsor to the list of '80s fonts.
Every situation comedy prduced during the
decade seemed to use Winsor Bold
(complete with swashes) for opening
and closing credits.

ITC Caslon 540 Italic Swashes remind me
of the '80s, too....

...as does ITC Caslon 224:

ITC Korinna and ITC Souvenir were used
often as well.

Come to think of it, almost ANY ITC font
looks '80s-ish to me.... :-) Of course, many of these were holdovers from '70s styles too.

piccic's picture

>Come to think of it, almost ANY ITC font
looks '80s-ish to me.

Well, I thought the same thing but I was afraid to be gunned down cold by the CIA... er, the ITC. Letraset and ITC. The rotten but sometimes wonderful times of dreaded photo-typesetting and transfer types. And lowercase figures slipped into oblivion...

Mark Simonson's picture

ITC Garamond was very big in the '80s. Goudy Oldstyle and Les Usherwood's stuff was pretty popular in the early '80s. Later on with the desktop publishing boom, probably because of the limited quality type choices at the time, you saw a lot of the "LaserWriter 35", especially Palatino. The first few batches released by Adobe skewed things a bit, causing a revival of sorts of Century Oldstyle, Trump Medaeival, Optima, Bodoni and some others. Used to see Futura used with ITC Baskerville a lot. Bernhard Modern and Onyx were both pretty big. None of these really says EIGHTIES the way some of the others that have been suggested do, but these are ones I recall seeing a lot.

Mark Simonson's picture

Also, stretched type was more common as an intentional design effect (as opposed to nowadays when it's mostly done by people who don't know any better).

beejay's picture

saw this at the apple site...


Miss Tiffany's picture

Wouldn't you think that the fonts which were digitized first could be pigeonholed as "very eighties"?

Stephen Coles's picture

Eras. One of those rare fonts that almost ceased to exist
right after December 31, 1989. I'm not sure it looks decent,
tho, sorry.

anonymous's picture

Check an old Letraset manual if you have one.There was a lot of new type faces introduced from that era.

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