Vintage typography invokes nostalgia and builds emotional connections

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Study emphasises the impact of nostalgia on consumer behaviour, and how typography in ads and marketing material is a key influencer.

Researchers from University of Newcastle–Australia have published a study in the American Marketing Association’s peer-reviewed Journal of Marketing that examines how brands can use references to the past, via vintage typography, to establish emotional bonds with today’s consumers. 


The research team says it’s impossible to ignore the resurgence of nostalgia in brands and advertising.  


Multinational toy manufacturer Mattel’s recent Barbie movie is one example. So too is Pepsi’s decision to adopt an ’80s-style logo. They all tap into the past, reminding us of simpler and happier times. 


The study explores the power of nostalgia and how brands can use references to the past to establish emotional bonds with today’s consumers. It focuses on vintage typography and the role it plays in establishing an emotional connection and, in turn, enhances perceptions of product safety. 


Although it may appear a minor aspect in marketing and advertising, typography extends beyond aesthetics. It plays a pivotal role in shaping how people think, feel, behave, evaluate brands, and make choices, explains Alicia Kulczynski from the University of Newcastle–Australia 

Nostalgia is increasingly popular in marketing strategies.

Photo: Feyza Daştan from Pexels


Vintage typography may trigger a form of vicarious nostalgia 


The researchers discovered that vintage typography could trigger ‘vintage anemoia’, a unique form of vicarious nostalgia. This describes a consumer’s emotional connection to the past and appreciation for the aesthetics, fashion, styles, design and cultural elements associated with vintage cues. 


This connection is irrespective of a specific historical period or an individual’s experiences. In other words, vintage typography can evoke a nostalgic response, regardless of a consumer’s ability to draw from specific childhood memories.  


Vintage typography, through its reference to the past, evokes the feelings of the ‘good old days’ – quality, beauty, and happiness associated with the past, whatever that past may be for an individual. 


The research reveals that consumers have a more positive attitude toward brands that incorporate vintage typography. They are more likely to purchase the brand’s products and are willing to pay more for them due to the perception that the products are safer. 

The research offers these consumer behaviour lessons for marketing teams: 


  • Vintage typography has the potential to evoke nostalgia and enhance perceptions of safety. 


  • Marketing teams looking to emphasise safety or address safety concerns associated with their products can benefit from vintage typography, which not only promotes nostalgia but also positively influences perceptions of product safety. 


  • Vintage typography is more than just aesthetics; it is a strategic marketing tool for creating strong emotional connections with consumers and shaping consumer perceptions. 


  • Brands should thoughtfully consider their positioning, consumer associations, and product attributes before adopting vintage typography. 


By aligning vintage aesthetics with their goals and avoiding potential pitfalls, marketers can harness the emotional power of nostalgia to create stronger emotional connections with consumers and enhance safety perceptions. 


You can find out more about the study here. 

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.