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Despite the contemporary urge to be cutting edge, vintage postcards continue to serve as great graphic design inspiration, because they're packed full of broad-range creativity and nostalgia that resonates with modern audiences. No matter what generation you're aiming to appeal to, there's always a way to use the design techniques employed in vintage postcards to deliver your message. Here are a few ways vintage postcards can serve as inspiration for your designs.
Probably the most common use for vintage postcards is nostalgia. Think of all the Norman Rockwell-inspired postcards that hit the mailboxes over the holidays. You can use the same design techniques to harken familiar memories and help potential customers feel more comfortable doing business with your company.
In the same vein, vintage postcards can be used to celebrate history. An old photograph of an amusement park, actress, Native American or any other historical image can be used as inspiration for a postcard. If you exercise due diligence in your research, you'll likely find thousands of old historical postcards originally designed with photos, plain text or even as watercolors of national and local landmarks and street scenes you can use as inspiration for your modern-era designs.
Sometimes the past is poignant; other times it can be humorous. Perhaps second only to nostalgia, humor is often employed in design to turn a vintage postcard concept into a laugh-out-loud marketing piece that's memorable (and, yes, perhaps still poignant) to a well-targeted audience. A good example might be a "vintage" postcard for a hardware retailer that depicts Teddy Roosevelt sizing up Mount Rushmore: "If only I had a good chisel ..." and the tagline: "Super Hardware has the right tools for any size project."
Vintage postcards can also be used to make a serious point for modern audiences. The Red Cross, for example, once distributed postcards that depicted nurses providing much-needed care to soldiers on World War I battlefields. Such images could be resurrected to increase dramatic effect to a national cause requesting more patriotism, financial assistance for a war effort or even to highlight the brutality of war, depending on one's cause.
Vintage postcard images remind people of their roots, of simpler times when distractions were minimal, of the shared plight of humankind. They can be employed in both cause marketing and business marketing with equal efficiency.
No matter what vintage postcard style inspires you, make sure you print the finished project on high-quality paper such as 16-point gloss cover or 13-point matte cover - PsPrint has an eco-friendly version that is recycled. For extra attention-getting prowess, print your postcard vertically (as many vintage postcards were printed) or even oversized since nonstandard sizes are notable (in this case, bigger often is better).