80’s Design Patterns: What Graphic Design Style Was Popular in This Decade?
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80’s Design Patterns: What Graphic Design Style Was Popular in This Decade?

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Summary: In the absence of the Internet, the 80s wear was heavily influenced by the graphic designs centered around the cultural landscape including art, interiors, movies, and TV shows of the time. Many styles like gothic, cyberpunk, pop culture, and grunge emerged during the period and have since taken the fashion world by storm.  

Fashion is not just about designing clothes for the sake of it, it is influenced by a lot of factors that come into play in particular eras and decades of fashion. The 80s wear was highly influenced by the art and culture of the time. We can confidently say that the design and patterns in fashion, as a creative process in the 80s, were influenced by graphics designs inspired by the cultural spectrum that includes art, movies, and pop phenomena. 

From generation to generation, fashion has been loving graphic designs and patterns. Today, fashion designers are aware of the trends alongside basic design attributes, interactive elements, photography, branding, and much more. But even though the 80s were not that technologically advanced, art and graphics were a prominent part of apparel. Let us look at some trendy 80s wear and the graphic art that influenced it around that time. 

1. Art Deco of the 80s

Art Deco

The 80s Art Deco was about minimalism combined with a hint of vintage. The 80s deco style in graphic design was about clean fonts with intricate curves and angles. The deco details were highlighted in pronounced pastel and modest colors.

The warm colors that were standard in home decor inspired the clothing of the era as well. These could also be seen in many clothing ventures of the time. For 80s wear, brands like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein were all about creating casual styles of clothing involving suave shirts, pastel-colored polo t-shirts, straight pants, and much more. 

2. Neon noir 

Neon noir

This neon noir style is connected to various graphic designs seen in film and TV show posters during the 80s like "Taxi Driver," "‘Miami Vice", and "You Live and Die in L.A." David Lynch films like "Lost Highway" and "Blue Velvet" were reminiscent of the eye-catching cinematography with neon graphics. 

The whole noir feel of neon and shiny finish found its way into popular celeb clothing. It did not take much time for the noir theme to pick up on the fashion trends. The noir style in the 80s wear was highlighted in hats, long coats, leather gloves, slacks or stockings, and shoes. The noir style was all about black backdrops with well-lit designs. Expressive elements in the noir design included neon sunsets and palm trees. Neon has since then been coming and going in waves. For now, neon hot pink is all rage in the town of fashion with the spring and fall runways of 2022. Other neon shades to follow the power in 2023 include orange and red. 

3. The Memphis Milano style 

In 1981, a group of Milan designers formed The Memphis Group and shook up the fashion and interior design industries. The Memphis Milano style was all about striking color combinations, shapes, and patterns. This style got incorporated into 80s wear with bold graphics shapes, asymmetrical designs, and primary colors on shirts, jackets, and skirts.

Simply put, the 80s Memphis style was all about fashion and interior designs finding a common ground in bold shapes and colors and geometric motifs, all of which were majorly influenced by pop culture. These patterns of Memphis style are still prominent in many outfits including printed pants and shirts.

4. Tropical style 

Tropical style

All things tropical flourished in the 80s starting with a pair of jams. The tropical style emerged on artworks and movie posters and entered the clothing and fabric space. The palm trees and pated were all over, from t-shirt prints to illustrations. Fashion designers at the time with the tropical style expressed themselves in a positive and cheerful way. 

This tropical style has been prominently seen in today’s fashion as well with brands picking up elements from the 80s wear now and then. With bright colors and floral prints, designers and brands can also create a tropical, beachy collection. 

5. Cyberpunk 


Cyberpunk during the 80s was a connection between cyberspace, technology, and reality. Due to this, the whole theme in the 80s became dark and academic. Remember Harrison Ford in "Blade Runner"? Cyberpunk was born of the books and movies in the Science-Fiction genre. Cyberpunk style in the 80s wear was gothic-cum-futuristic fashion involving tall boots, shiny black clothing, colored dreads, and trench coats. The popular "Matrix" series was inspired by the cyberpunk styling of leather finish, unruffled silhouettes and body-hugging tops and bottoms, which are popular to date. 

Going graphic with the 80s design 

The 80s was a beautiful era, which birthed style icons like Madonna and Michael Jackson and gave way to a whole new era of graphic and designer fashion. Designers frequently experiment with the 80s wear styles for their runways and collection. 

Having said that, graphic designs and themes, film posters and interiors, cinema and books, and the overall art landscape influenced the 80s wear collection. Today, it has become difficult to separate graphics and fashion. The visual identity of movies, viral promotions, online brands, and social media influencers hugely influence the fashion industry. Designers looking for embedding graphics and tech-style fashion in their collection must consider Fashinza - a one-stop platform for all fashion manufacturing and brand-building needs! Contact us to understand how graphic art can help design fashion studios and labels.

Key Takeaways

  • Fashion in the 80s was majorly influenced by the graphics, art, and culture of the time.
  • Many brands used references and fashion styles from films and novels to create their collection.
  • The 80s wear promoted graphics patterns and styles that included neon shades mixed with noir and Art Deco styles. Cyberpunk and gothic designs also shared the design space with tropical style. 

Connect with Fashinza today for more information!


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