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Art by Steve Wolf

A moodboard for the nostalgic designer: Vintage athletic‑inspired branding

There’s something special about classic athletic branding that continues to inspire designers to this day. Whether you’re a sucker for retro aesthetics or a lover of all things nostalgic, old sports branding has a way of capturing the hearts’ of creatives and generating some major inspiration. Get inspired to put a modern twist on timeless design as we explore some of the defining characteristics of vintage branding in sports:

Vintage Red Sox Ticket

Vintage Red Sox Ticket

by Kelly Rice

Inspired by a recent project to design a vintage Red Sox ticket.

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  • Muted Color Palettes: If there’s one staple of vintage athletic design, it’s keeping to a muted color palette. Avoid any overly saturated shades, and opt for off-white and dark greys instead of pure black and white.
  • Distorted Typography: There’s no shortage of warped text in classic sports branding. Try experimenting with arched fonts, bulged letters, and other interesting effects with type. You can easily do this in Adobe illustrator by selecting your text and hitting Effects —> Warp.
  • Classic Symbols: A few symbols that dominate in vintage athletic branding are pennants, banners, stars, and let’s not forget mascots! Even if the brand you’re working with isn’t directly related to sports, you can still implement these kinds of symbols into your work to achieve a classic, vintage vibe.


To inspire your next design project, here’s a moodboard filled with vintage-inspired sports branding with a modern twist—created by the talent that is Dribbble’s graphic design community. Be sure to give these designers a follow for even more branding inspiration!

  1. Charley Pennant
  2. SUPR Fly Numerals
  3. Fake baseball team branding for a cocktail menu
  4. Austin Grackles II
  5. Nolan Ryan - Tribute cans
  6. Gameday
  7. Fontacular Avant Garde
  8. Da Packers
  9. Fontacular!
  10. Detroit Three-eyed Tiger
  12. BackSpin Golf Apparel
  13. Peoples Garment Company - Branding
  14. Throwback Project - Part IV
  15. Ducks 25th Anniversary Poster
  16. Pocket Scorekeeper
  17. Minnesota Twins
  18. Saints Script
  19. The Lot Lettering
  20. BF Belles
  21. Upper Deck Restaurant

Row 1: Matthew Cook for The Variable, Brandon Moore, greg davis. Row 2: Steve Wolf, Jay Master , Tara Victoria. Row 3: Bethany Heck, Josh VandenAvond, Bethany Heck. Row 4: Jordan Kabalka, Andy Boice, Paragon Design House. Row 5: Emir Ayouni for Forefathers, Ort Design Studio, Bryce Reyes. Row 6: Bethany Heck, Kevin Fluegel, Daniel Q Halt. Row 7: Nathan Holthus, Bryce Reyes, Kevin Kroneberger.

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