Web design trends aren’t always a nod to what’s new. Take the popularity of the Synthwave aesthetic. It harkens back to the early 1980s – years before the world wide web was even invented.
It’s gaudy and impractical. Yet it’s hard to deny both the charm and the feelings of nostalgia it evokes. For me, it conjures images of Miami Vice, big hair, and the artificial sounds of new wave music.
For web designers, Synthwave also provides a great playground for experimentation. It’s a place to work with color, create animation, and add interactivity. While fun on the surface, it’s a means to learn and further sharpen one’s skills.
To the Future by Jane
To the uninitiated, this snippet is an excellent example of what Synthwave is all about. The pink-to-purple gradient sky, the sun shining in the distance, and grid-like earth. This tribute was built with CSS and features a vertical stripe pattern that, when you focus in, almost looks like it’s moving.
See the Pen to the future 🍻 by Jane
CSS Synthwave by Sacha Van den Wyngaert
This spin on the trend has a classic sci-fi feel. It utilizes CSS transforms to mimic navigating through a high-tech 3D superhighway. While we have no idea what’s on the other side, it sure is a cool place to visit.
See the Pen CSS Synthwave by Sacha Van den Wyngaert
Advanced Synthwave Scene by Radik
See the Pen Advanced Synthwave Scene by Radik
Synthwave Inspired by ltrademark
Beyond the gridlines and bright colors, retro typography is also a key ingredient of Synthwave. The sparkling two-toned title in this snippet would fit right into a vintage MTV broadcast. Perhaps it could serve as a segue to that hot new Prince video?
See the Pen Synthwave inspired by ltrademark
It’s Disco Time! by Rémi Lacorne
Despite the title, disco and Synthwave aren’t the same things. But I won’t get too upset, because this neon text effect is awesome. The use of CSS transforms adds perspective to the text, while the colorful lasers on the right are true to the era.
See the Pen It’s disco time! by Rémi Lacorne
Lofi Synthwave by Vincent Tang
If Synthwave comes on a little too strong for you, this “Lofi” snippet may be a better fit. It offers the basic elements without being too busy. For those who want this aesthetic, the design would work well as a page title and/or hero area.
See the Pen Lofi Synthwave by Vincent Tang
Synthwave road by Pierre Darrieutort
Oh, that beautiful grid. Here it’s placed on an infinite loop and would make for a fun animated background. It’s also lightweight, thanks to its pure CSS construction.
See the Pen Synthwave road by Pierre Darrieutort
Single Div Flickering Neon Text by Annie
Want to combine a Synthwave vibe with a more modern look? This snippet gives you the best of both worlds. The retro colors are given a makeover, while the flickering neon text still gives off an 80s feel. Consider it a new-and-improved spin on an old favorite.
See the Pen Single Div Flickering Neon Text by Annie
Going Back in Time, While Looking Toward the Future
Even if you weren’t yet born in the decade, the style of the 1980s has likely influenced you. After all, fashion is cyclical. And it makes itself at home on mediums that weren’t around when the original was fresh. The volume of Synthwave-related designs we’re seeing on the web is proof.
Are you in need of even more retro vibes? Get on down to our CodePen collection for a full listing of Synthwave hits.
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