Or, What’s Out Is Out, Part 1

Want a look that says you never left the 80s? Try these trends whose trains left the station when Madonna met Prince and Harry Met Sally:

  • Purple
  • Black
  • Grey
  • Teal
  • Mint green
  • Dusty blue
  • Mauve
  • All white

  • Fake kids’ writing, brush lettering, bubble lettering typefaces
  • Prep-school/university-style type and insignias

  • Grossly overpriced wine lists

  • Overt sexiness
  • Overt masculinity
  • Skinny black ties
  • Scruffiness

  • Postmodernism
  • High gloss
  • Memphis (Italian) furniture

And, though these are hopefully nobody’s business design choices:

  • Fishnet stockings
  • Dog collars

That’s the Little List of 80s Don’ts. Can your company make tasteful or tongue-in-cheek use of an element from this list? Maybe, if done with skill. Maybe, if you know your Ideal Customer very, very well.

Whether starting up or considering a redesign, be cautious. These tired color, fashion, and furnishing trends have been done, and mark your business as uninformed. Using interior design, graphic design, and staff uniforms/grooming standards from another era can limit your customer base to people who have positive associations with the decade in question.

I could have linked to all sorts of examples, but I don’t want to be in the business of calling people out. I see unwittingly out-of-touch design all over as I travel, both in the real world and the Internet, and so do you. Because the 80s are not so very far away (to some), you may have been so busy that you didn’t notice your design strategy was in crisis. If you’re guilty, take charge today and start planning a revamped Customer Experience!

Moderation in all things, and if you’ve got to have that purple and black color scheme (oh, please don’t!), find a way to renew, revitalize, and take the concept into this millennium. Time warps are only funny to a very limited market!

Care to agree, disagree, or add to the list of dated 80s design trends? Leave a comment below!

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


What got me started? If You Lived Through It Once…

Say buh-bye, 90s. Click to read Part 2.