Where once it seemed necessary to have a PhD in web design to put together an attractive site, it's now possible for even the most technically unskilled user to create something beautiful with the click of a mouse.
With ready-made themes and low-cost, on-demand web design it's possible to dramatically alter the look of your website in just a few minutes.
While this is all well and good (and it certainly makes for a more attractive Internet), there seems to be a tendency towards a sleek, technical look in the majority of websites.
People seem to favor a clean, modern design, and while this is usually a good thing it often doesn't effectively communicate the theme of a site.
You see, the primary objective of your web site design shouldn't be to simply make your content look attractive. It should also be to communicate an idea about what your site is all about. This means that if you're blogging about the latest 3D televisions then a clean, stark and futuristic look will fit the content perfectly.
If, however, you're selling vintage clothing or talking about quirky interior design… well, a clean, clinical web design might not work as well for you. What might fit the bill, though, is a retro design.
So what exactly are retro web designs? Well, they can incorporate anything from vintage typography to period icons to traditional textures. Retro designs are very much a 'know it when you see it' kind of thing, and they often go far beyond the usual basic template.
You can incorporate retro elements into your web design with something as simple as an old fashioned badge or logo, or you can go the whole hog and make your site look like something you'd find in a Victorian era newspaper, much like the design at www.dollardreadful.com.
Some of the best looking retro designs work heavily with simple texture, creating a rich, beautiful background with textured elements you could almost reach out and touch, such as this simple but effective mottled background from www.thigpendesigns.com.
Retro web designs are a great way to make your site stand out from the crowd. Mixing modern elements with vintage touches can not only create a rich user experience but can also make your site stick with visitors after they've left – hopefully enticing them back in the future.
In terms of the user experience people will always enjoy a break from the norm, and a site that incorporates vintage elements will stand out as both creative and valuable, offering more substance than the basic, run of the mill designs Internet users see every day.
In short, if you're looking for a simple way to give your website an edge over your competition there are few more effective ways to gain that advantage than adding some elements of retro web design to your pages. Your visitors will thank you.