Old School is Cool: Top 4 Retro Web Design Trends

  • Web Design
  • 25 August
  • 5 min read

Who doesn’t like a little blast from the past sometimes? We want to take you back to when the Internet was a new thing. Just think of how many changes has the website design experienced since the ‘90s.  


Many old-school trends are coming back into web-design today. The most significant change in the design is that today, we create things for people and make design user-oriented.


Just take a look at the design of the 90’s – you can see at a glance that it is far from the concept of the ‘human-centric design.’ The design was created for the machines at that time; people didn’t think of the importance of the user experience. However, the elements of such a ‘machine-oriented design’ seem to be comic and even cute today. Many designers take their inspiration from this ‘primitive design’ and use it in modern web designs.


In this article, we will take you back to the early days of the Internet’s childhood, and take a look at the evolution of web design services. Proving that old school is always cool, we’ve created a shortlist of the top four retro-design trends that are coming back today. 

Animated Navigation

Animated navigation is one of the most important trends that are especially worthy of mentioning when it comes to retro web design. Just check out Space Jam. It quickly moves our consciousness straight back to the 90s. Such design inspires to think of a cute design which is seemed to be created by a kid. It can probably evoke a specific feeling of nostalgia and add a pinch of remarkable style to your website.

Space Jam Web Design

Animated Cursors

Do you remember them? They’ve started in the ‘90s and continued their existence in MySpace pages in the ‘90s. Users have liked animated cursors at that time, and they still love them today. If you’d have such an element on your website twenty years ago, it would drastically slow down your 500 MHz Getaway to almost a standstill.

Pastel web design by Fireart Studio

Such a cool, old-school trend was, maybe, a bit ahead of its time due to some technical reasons. However, today it is still actual and used in web design – just think of all these flames, rainbows and glitter trails which you can see on the websites and which make you feel a sweet taste of nostalgia.


Gradients are usually used in design to add a sense of depth and make the color even more eye-catching. They were a prominent design trend until the late ‘90s. Gradients are the color transitions that are gradually blending from one color to another. The web users in the past have loved them, and they still are loved today too. An excellent example of the gradient design is Instagram’s logotype. All of us love it, and this giant still dominating in a social media world.

Gradient Illustration by Fireart Studio

Flat Design

Flat design slowly replaced the gradient design in the ‘90s. However, the flat design we are talking here about is different from a concept we used to understand under it. At that time, flat design gave birth to a responsive design. The main idea behind it was that a website should respond and adapt to different displays and be used on different devices.


Taking into consideration the fast extension of mobile devices, designers should realize that modern people need the same website experience; however, on smaller smartphone screens.

Winrar Rebrand + UI Concept by Fireart Studio

It demands increased efficiency in web development and maintenance. That’s why flat design came in place. It embraces a visually pleasant yet efficient style. In 2019, flat design is not stepping back. Here are some more effective web design tips you might find useful. 

The Journey Of Web Design

Web history is relatively short. However, it has gone through many challenges in a comparatively short time. The above-mentioned old-school trends show some stages of the web design evolution. Many retro-design trends were born far in the past, but are coming back today. In this article, we have outlined a few of them to show that a forgotten fashion always tends to go back, especially when it comes to web design.


In the ‘90s, people cared about how to create a website, but they didn’t care about website UX and usability. Although some of the trends mentioned above showcase that issue, they still are very cute and comic if designers use them today, at the time when the things speed up and we can use various design effects without slowing down the website’s processing. It has been our shortlist of the coolest retro web design trends, that still are cool even now. Hopefully, we reminded you of your favorite one.


Case Studies
Let’s make something amazing together