10 Amazing CSS & HTML Retro Type Effects


Hipstamatic, Spotify, and now Adidas: it seems that our society has a massive craving for old days and old ways. Maybe our market is so saturated with everything high-tech and innovative that we are starting to get bored. Or perhaps it is just a banal nostalgia for old times when everything seemed to be easy, simple and rose-colored. The current obsession with everything from the recent past is evident.  It can be seen everywhere, and the web design sphere is no exception.

As a matter of fact, the retro style manifests itself from time to time in the web. It shows through pastel retro color palettes, duotone effects, bold oversimplified geometric prints, art-deco illustrations, grainy and noisy effects, Polaroid-like images, tabloid-inspired layouts, scenery taken from the old-school games, and of course old-timey typography.

Speaking of which, typography is one of the most popular options when it comes to instilling a zingy retro feel into a project. It is subtle and tasteful. And, most importantly, it does not overwhelm nor overload the project. It is just a perfect finishing touch that catches the eye and establishes a proper atmosphere.

What’s more, you can quickly reproduce effects from the 80s or 90s with the help of the beloved trio of CSS/JS and SVG. Just apply the effect to any word and obtain the desired result in seconds. And you don’t need to mess with photo editing or design-related programs like Photoshop or Sketch to make alterations. Simple and elegant, isn’t it?

If you are one who appreciates this way of getting things done, we have gathered 10 code snippets with amazing retro typography effects. Let’s take a look:

Left the Country

We could not help but start our collection with this outstanding code snippet from Gabrielle Wee. Her project is called Left the Country and was primarily inspired by the Duffer Brothers’ horror, “Stranger Things”. A great deal of designers and developers have reproduced it. Dribbble and Codepen are teeming with the professional takes on the show’s intro. There is even a generator developed by Nelson Cash that allows you to recreate a logo with your data and download the image. But if you want to avoid everything static, try out Wee’s code snippet that is a pure HTML and SCSS solution.

No Vacancy 404

No Vacancy 404 by Riley Shaw is much like the previous work by Gabrielle Wee. Its roots lie in the marvelous line art that is enhanced with a glowing touch and blinking effect for greater realism. It reminds us of all those bright neon signs that were increasingly popular in the middle of the past century in America. Though, maybe they did not look as elegant and refined as Riley Shaw’s masterpiece. The solution is a symbiosis of elegance, sophistication and vintage appeal.

Vintage Neon Sign

Need more of glowing effects and American vibe? Then you should turn your attention to Vintage Neon Sign by Kyle Lavery. It just feels like it stepped out of advertisements from the 60’s that were overpopulated with luminous signs. The smart combination of tubes of various diameters, marvelous glowing effect, controversial color palette and the magnificent typeface do the trick, resulting in an outstanding code-powered masterpiece.

Splitting: Space Invaders

Let’s go back to 80s and code snippets that feature typography effects made with this period in mind. First and foremost, the 80s and 90s were all about video games.  Our childhood was so adorable. And Martin Pitt is one of those who has managed to remind us about that. His Splitting: Space Invaders brings us back to our teens. This realization charms with positive vibes and playfulness. It looks cute and dreamy. It was created with the help of Splitting library, which makes manipulations with CSS easy peasy.

Playing with Retro Typography

There are no 90s without arcade games played in home video game console Atari. It is just a synonym of the 80s and 90s in the Geek World. And Max Kohler knows it perfectly well.  His codepen dedicated to retro typography features skillfully reproduced Atari logo. You will also find four more effects that give lettering a pleasant retro touch.

New Retro Text / 80s Typography / 404 SVG

There are several fantastic text effects in our collection that call to mind some sweet memories related to TV. For instance, New retro text by Vladimir Jovanović, 80s Typography by David Parker and 404 SVG by Marcos Mellado.  While the first two projects utilize bold typography, glossy surface, neon stylization, and drastic coloring for a certain VHS retro intro vibe, the second one is feeling a bit rustic, mundane and crude – just like music video clips on MTV from that period.

Vintage Typeface / Awesome Vintage Title

This wouldn’t be a complete collection of retro typography effects without a couple of traditional solutions. And we have two fantastic code snippets: Vintage Typeface by Thibault Jan Beyer and Awesome Vintage Title by Kevin Nagata. Both of them show a traditional vintage typeface, just like we are used to envisioning it: Ultra-thin with increasingly elongated letterforms, a subtle art-deco touch and of course a shadow that is the heart and soul of the artwork. While the project by Thibault Jan Beyer looks classic and majestic; the project by Kevin Nagata looks a bit modern with a certain playful undertone.

Back in Time

If you are sick and tired of everything ultra-modern, sophisticated and high-end, then it is time to ditch the present and seek inspiration in the past. Believe us, it always has an ace in the hole. Not once does it fail to save the day.

It offers designers trends and solutions that let a project stand out from the crowd. And retro typography effects are the perfect example of that. They are welcoming and pleasant blasts from the past that naturally draw attention, feeling like a breath of fresh air.

This page may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we may earn a commission from any purchase via the links on our site. You can read our Disclosure Policy at any time.