Or, What’s Out Is Out, Part 4

Want a look that says you never left the 60s, or even the 50s? Try these trends with a grilled cheese sandwich on Wonder bread:

  • Trippy, psychedelic anything
  • Crazy squashed “hand” lettering filling a page

  • Vinyl

  • Fluorescent colors, esp. hot pink

  • Plastics

  • Turquoise
  • Bubble-gum pink

  • Cheap flatware
  • Napkin dispensers on tables
  • Plastic “glassware”

  • Farm equipment as décor
  • Fishing equipment as décor
  • Hunting equipment as décor

  • Neon signage

And, unless you’re a bowling-alley proprietor:

  • All things bowling

That’s the Little List of 50s–60s 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.

Negative associations are starting to fade from 1950s and 1960s design. What’s left on this list are elements that may just never be cool again. As we leave the Baby Boom and the Summer of Love behind in our memories, taking inspiration from these decades can be done, especially with a younger market that didn’t live through it the first time. If intentional, it can even be kitschy or campy, in a good way—but be warned: There’s a fine line between inspired and tacky. There’s a lot of “retro” design out there right now, and retro is in danger of developing its own negative associations—or has it already? If you’re guilty, take charge today and start planning a revamped Customer Experience!

Moderation in all things, and if you’ve got to wear that bowling shirt to work (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!

That’s all, folks. ‘Cause everyone knows the forties are hot right now, for one thing, and because it’s time to do a big list of what’s in. If you want to keep your business up on how to reel in customers with great Experience Design, take a moment to subscribe now, at the top left of this page. It’s easy and it’s free!

Care to agree, disagree, or add to the list of dated 1950s and 60s design trends? Leave a comment below!

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


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

Which 70s motifs should burn, baby, burn? Read Part 3!