It seems like everything from the past was better made and more detailed. This most likely has to do with automation, but that doesn’t mean your own designs have to look bland and without detail. An excellent way to find inspiration for your own designs is by looking at highly-detailed vintage products.

These are the items you’ll only find on places like Etsy and eBay. They’re the fancy doodads that you stumble upon in antique stores or your grandparents’ attic. And the greatest thing about these detailed designs is that you can learn from every one of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a website, product, logo or mural. These vintage designs are sure to bring you inspiration long into the future.

Movie Producer Cufflinks

Movie Producer Cufflinks

These movie producer cufflinks are a great gift for anyone who likes movies, but it’s also a wonderful look into what old cameras and film projectors looked like without having to go out and buy one. The reels are so detailed and it almost looks as if you can push the buttons yourself. The bronze coloring certainly helps to add a little retro taste, since those video film projectors looked and felt heavy.

Tricycle Trike 1960s

Tricycle Trike 1960s

This tricycle product is either from the 1960s or based on some of the popular items from that era. Tricycles still exist but most of them are made from plastic, and they lack the handcrafted durability of these steel and aluminum gems. Sure, metal rusts more than plastic, but old tricycles definitely looked cooler than what we have today.

Vintage Motorcycle Badges

Vintage Motorcycle Badges

This example is not a physical product, but a digital one. It’s a pack of vintage motorcycle badges that could be used on websites, books, presentations, or for a motorcycle crew to print out the designs and place them on clothing. This style of vintage design is seen in all sorts of industries. For instance, golf and camping companies have similar elements, with the twisting backgrounds, minimal colors, and pencil drawings. Overall, this design says handcrafted and high quality. It’s an example of how you can take vintage products and transform the details into your own designs.

Airplane Pedal Car WW1 Vintage Military Aircraft

Airplane Pedal Car WW1 Vintage Military Aircraft

Some of the toys sold today are still detailed and beautiful. This is especially true for action figures and dolls, where the eyes, muscles, hair and facial expressions are all quite accurate. Vintage vehicles are also excellent forms of inspiration, since the toys often matched the real things perfectly. Take this military aircraft toy for example. Sure, it’s a pedal car, but the paint job is pristine, the colors pop and you can’t beat the quality.

Steam Walking Beam Engine

Steam Walking Beam Engine

Beam engines had several purposes, but they all ran by pumping water to power a mill of some sort. You might be making clothing with your engine or pounding grain to feed to your animals. Regardless, the steam walking beam engine is a stunning look into the industrial past. It’s also cool to take a look at because of the recent steampunk revolution, which can be seen in popular movies, TV shows, and website designs. If you’re thinking about adding a bit of steampunk to your designs, a detailed beam engine like this is sure to guide you along your way.

Dalek Teapot

Dalek Teapot

The Daleks are a race of aliens portrayed in the Doctor Who series. References to the Daleks have been around since the 1960s, so any product made to represent them is a solid look into the history of science fiction. The Daleks are a completely robotic race, so the particulars shown on the teapot are fun when you’re composing a design that needs a taste of Sci-Fi.

Written by Brenda Stokes Barron

Brenda Stokes Barron is a professional writer and blogger and The Digital Inkwell is her personal brand. You can often find her typing furiously at her local Starbucks. (Yes, she's that person).