Is digital design about to get nostalgic?

Are brands ready to embrace rainbow Comic Sans and site counters? CR investigates whether we’re about to see a new wave of nostalgic digital design

Nostalgia never gets old. No matter how much technology advances, or how many creative possibilities open up, there’s always the lure of the past. It’s the reason game designers have gone back to pixel graphics, why Netflix has embraced all things 80s, and why the internet lost its collective mind over the recent time-travelling Captain Marvel movie site. And let’s not forget the original 1996 website for Space Jam – which is still up, and still getting visits and press coverage.

For most people, it’s not since the days of the dial-up modem that they’ve seen flashing rainbow Comic Sans and a site counter used online. Marvel has kept quiet about the creative process behind Captain Marvel’s site, only revealing that it’s hosted on Angelfire and built using bygone HTML editor FrontPage. What is clear is how much effort has been spent in making a believable replica of the kinds of sites that populated the internet in the 90s.

“I find it fascinating that a client was willing to take it in that direction and take some risks,” Morten Sølvstrøm, creative director at digital design studio Hello Monday, told CR. “I do think it’s a bit risky to make something like that. It’s different and unexpected, which is a good thing, but from a user point of view it resonates with a certain target audience that remembers sites like that. I think there’s a lot of people coming to the site thinking, ‘holy shit, what is this?’”

Top image: cameronsworld.net, designed by Cameron Askin; above: and below marvel.com/captainmarvel

While the site might raise question marks for younger users, there’s no doubt that it’s caught people’s attention. Ask yourself – how many movie websites have you actually explored? Forget that. How many have you even bothered to visit? According to the Captain Marvel counter, the site’s had around over 13m visits so far, not to mention the reams of press dedicated to it.

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ART DIRECTOR

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