90s Graphic Design: A Rundown of 1990s Style

The 90s graphic design styles were full of bold colors, fashion statements and many music genres. The graphics bore the influence of pop culture and the underground music scene. More influence came from TV shows, which popularized new fonts, such as San Serif, Comic Sans, and casual handwritten style fonts.

The bottom line was throwing out the classic rules, and welcoming new styles and influences, ranging from graffiti to punk cultures. The 90s graphic design style marked the age of experimentation with new features, styles and views.

What typified the 90s graphic styles?

The 1990s graphic design was typified by a few characteristics which were seen throughout the decade. Although there were different trends, the 90s style graphic design featured the following prominent characteristics:

1. Bold and vibrant colors

The 90s graphic design style was marked by bright and bold colors, such as yellow, purple, pink, cerulean blue, and fluorescent green, among others. Designers also experimented with neon lasers, and used them to great effect. The result was highly creative and tantalizing designs that appealed to everyone.

This trend is still common today as most designs still use bright colors to attract attention. Billboards and TV commercials go for these vibrant colors to stand out from the crowded competition. The 90s graphic design style isn't about to go away just yet.

2. Funky patterns

The use of fun patterns also typified the 90s graphic designs. This was evident in rave posters which featured trippy backgrounds. It also saw the incorporation of geometric shapes into common objects such as carpets and wallpapers.

The funky patterns were everywhere because they featured on common household and outdoor items. Apart from showing up on wallpapers and carpets, they could appear on posters and other outdoor objects.

3. Abstract shapes

A common aspect of the 90s graphics was the use of abstract shapes, such as geometric shapes. Other bold abstract shapes, including the polka dot, found application everywhere, from clothing, fabrics, wallpapers, carpets, to famous 90s art.

Modern graphics still borrow heavily from the 90s, employing abstract shapes and concepts in their representation. Abstract shapes feature on just about anything, from photo frames to drawings and art. Popular graphic design apps, such as CorelDRAW, provide options for abstract concepts in graphic design.

4. Creative font styles

The 90s designs brought awe-inspiring font designs into existence. It was during this period that font styles with rounded corners, and handwritten fonts, such as Comic Sans, gained popularity. Casual handwritten style fonts were used everywhere, from newsletters to children's invitations. TV popularized the use of other fascinating font styles of the 90s, including San Serif.

But the overuse of the fonts created lots of controversy. Today, some of those fonts, particularly San Serif, are no longer in use, having been phased out on the Microsoft platform. Later editions of Microsoft Office word processors do not include the font, but Comic Sans still lives on.

5. Use of gradients

Vibrant gradients were a common feature of the 90s style graphic design. This was evident on the underground 90s rave posters and billboards. TV commercials also featured the 90s vibrant gradients, making for interesting and compelling graphics that lingered on the minds of viewers for years afterwards.


The 1990s graphic design was influenced heavily by the prevailing fashion statements, music genres and bold vibrant colors. It was a period of experimenting with different designs, including graffiti, and throwing out the classic rules. Creative fonts also came into existence, and found widespread use in both electronic and print media. If you're looking to include 90s graphic design in your graphic creations, consider using CorelDRAW.

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