Retro branding/marketing is back and hotter than ever, in particular, the  80’s/90’s Digital Retro Style also known as “Retro Wave” is here and thriving. 

In honor of the start of the school year, the term for this style of marketing is called “nostalgia marketing.”  The goal of nostalgia marketing is to invoke a sense of familiarity, connection, and comfort. I can’t imagine a more perfect time than the pandemic to try to capture those feelings. Take a look around and you will find a retro theme on products, tv shows, music videos, social media, you name it. What makes Retro Wave interesting is that although it is a form of nostalgia marketing it is now considered its own new unique genre. 

Retro Wave , visualized by bright neon colors and geometric patterns is synonymous with the Synthwave music genre. Retro Wave is greatly inspired by the 80’s New Wave, but is known to have culturally originated in the mid to late 2000s, growing in tandem with then becoming a part of the Electronic music genre. A few musical artists that have helped perpetuate this new genre are Kavinsky, FM-84, Daft Punk, and Carpenter Brut. While music was where it began, Retro Wave has become much, much more.


Perhaps what brought it well into the mainstream have been Netflix series like Stranger Things and GLOW, along with reboots and reruns of shows including Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and the Twilight Zone. And the return of all the classic video games with Arcade1Up and Super Impulse. I would be remiss not to mention Disney’s Tron Legacy with its sound track by Daft Punk. Tron Legacy is a perfect example of the sounds and visual esthetics of Retro Wave. Additional examples include:

Who knows what the next trend is going to be but I’m putting my money on Retro. 

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