eighties fonts + design

i’ve discovered the need to make an 80s music compilation cd for myself, which i’ve entitled punky brewster’s breakfast club is saved by the bell, because i like long titles. i’ve finished the tracklist, and it’s a nice blend of new wave/synth-pop, old school hip hop and eighties rock, and not a big hair band in sight.

now i’m doing the packaging.

at the moment i’m thinking day-glo colours with cut-out black and white photos, but i’m willing to forget that if something better comes along.

so can anyone recommend me,

firstly: some good eighties-looking fonts, and…

secondly: any eighties style design ideas.

thanks y’all.

Checkerboards, pastel colors with neon swooshes on them, that’s what I remember.

Here’s a place for free fonts that has some 80s-ish ones:


Wasn’t the graffiti look big then? For some reason, I’m also thinking fat, cartoonish letters.

If the link is to the pizzadude font person I’m familiar with, then it’s a good start. :inspects site: Yeah, I think that’s him.

I can’t make any font recommendations-- '50s and '70s fonts stand out in my head, but nothing decidedly '80s. But I do think you’re better off getting design ideas first, and then finding a suitable font to go with it.

I’m picturing day-glo Andy Warholish pictures, poka dots, big swooshes and stripes. Wayfarer sunglasses, black and white kitschy pictures of waitresses from the 50’s, anything see through and plastic.

I always thought “Saved By The Bell” was 90’s (It started in 1989)? 80’s kids shows - “You Can’t Do That on Television”, and “DeGrassi Jr. High”.

Fun project!

Don’t forget the title fonts for Star Trek: The Next Generation, which may have seemed cool in 1987 (well, maybe not) but look really hokey now.

The computery font from WarGames might serve, as well.

I happen to have a TNG font and a Back to the Future font, might have some others but I’m not sure. They came with a font pack for Visual Pinball.

Nothing says Eighties music like Neville Brody, the one true celebrity graphic designer to come out of the Eighties music scene. He designed tons of album covers, picture sleeves for 45s (remember those?), etc., as well as typefaces for Arena, The Face, and other magazines. Start out looking at Neville Brody’s faces in the Adobe library: Arcadia, Insignia, and Industria. Look also at The Font Shop’s collection of Brody’s efforts. I realize that you’re probably not looking to buy fonts for this, but once you get a good feel for what Brody’s work is like, you’ll know what to look for among the freeware knockoffs.

A Nagel painting wouldn’t be out of place.

I’m thinking of the confetti look that seemed to be so popular in the 80’s - little triangles and perhaps the odd streamer, all in day-glo colours (green, pink, orange, yellow) on a white background for the backdrop. I hope you can picture what I’m describing.

Btw, this Duran Duran album seems to display the 80’s pretty well, as I remember them.

Excellent recommendation; you beat me to it. Another type designer who has achieved a degree of celebrity in the 80s (in graphic design circles, anyway, and not specifically related to music) is Zuzana Licko. Naturally, her company, Emigre Inc. is an excellent source for typefaces from that era.

Toward the end of the decade, Adobe introduced a series of their own type designs. A few that gained great popularity are Lithos, Charlemagne, and Tekton.

Finally, a font that was designed much earlier but became way overused – er, I mean, popular – in the 80s is Mistral.

How could you overlook the font used in the Miami Vice logo? To me, there’s no font that instantly says 80s as much as that one.

I looked in my normal retinue of Windows fonts, and this seems to be equivalent to the one called Broadway. But in pastel colors, of course.

ooh yeah, these are good. thanks y’all!

good stuff! it’s all coming back to me now!

Anything that looks like neon ought to do it. In bright pink of course.

“Cherri” is a very close font to Punky Brewster.
I’m a Punky fan since I was her age when the show was first aired. Grew up with her and Margo and Cherri and Allen (and Brandon) literally. Lol I’m fine with being a nerd.
I even named my second dog (rescue beagle) “Punky” she’s 6 and cute and mismatched and orphaned but super loving so I thought the name was perfect.
I’m 45 and trying to get my 9 year old granddaughter to try an episode to see if she will like it as much as I did at her age.
But here is the font and a link to it…

@LadyStanleyCup: You’ve responded to an 18yo thread. And that font of yours is atrocious.

But welcome to the Dope anyway.

Panache, I must disagree. That font is not atrocious. It has its place–that place would not be in Chase-Manhattan’s annual report, but it would do well in a poster advertising a high-school dance.

I studied typography, calligraphy, and design for some years; and came to the conclusion that fonts and design create moods in the reader. The trick is to match the font with the mood that you want the reader to see your message in. For example, you would never render the poster for Die Hard in Monotype Corsiva, just as you would never render the poster for Hairspray in Grenade Stencil.

I had many private communications with the editors at Cracked.com about the fonts that entrants were using in their Photoplasty entries, and ended up doing a couple of tutorials for Cracked on the use (and misuse) of fonts. At any rate, this thread may be a zombie, but as one with experience in the topic, I’m rather pleased to see it come back.

But delightfully atrocious… just like the 80s.

If the OP hasn’t finished that ‘mixtape’ yet, don’t forget the MTV aesthetic… MTV started in '81, and an old school big-name pro designer (George Lois?) came up with a pretty revolutionary idea: every time MTV used the logo, it would use different colors and textures.
So you’d get neon green with leopard skin with a drop shadow… all very 80’s.

For an '80s font, I submit Laser LET. I was a graphic designer in the 80s, and this is a font I am guilty of overusing back then, so to me at least it screams 80s. I don’t know how reputable this font site is, but supposedly it’s available to download for free here, or you can at least see what it looks like (scroll down the page aways to see the full alphabet:

EDIT: Damn, stumbled into a zombie thread! I feel like a stupid TWD character. Well, I’ll let me post stand in case anybody else wants to find a good 80s font.

What, no discussion of Peter Saville? I think his work is very much of the late 70s and 80s but looks fantastic even today.

Also check into the Memphis Design that was so popular in the 80s. It is the quintessential “80s” vibe, if you ask me. We all had furniture, clothing, or a Trapper Keeper with those designs!