I am an amateur graphic designer absolutely infatuated with 90's style graphics. I have no idea where to even start on using modern equipment to make some of these decades old illustrations I see, let alone have any idea how this was done on computers in the 80s. That's where you guys come in!


I'd like to make some graphics in this style. Could anyone recommend me OG (that is, used in the era itself for this purpose) software or modern software that's geared towards stuff like this? Bonus points if you actually used to make stuff like this in the 80s/90s. I realize this question is broad, so I'm open to broad answers. Software recommendations, software tutorials, online tools, and whatever else you think I should know are all fine answers in my book.

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    A flippant answer might be, "why is this question on a software recommendations site?" :) I'm willing to bet that at least some of your examples were not creating using software at all. Aug 5 '14 at 2:14
  • You're right! I'm still very interested in learning the process pre photoshop era. Maybe this isn't the right community for this - if you have a recommendation for that I'd be interested in that as well Aug 5 '14 at 2:19
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    They might have shock actually drawn it, Aug 5 '14 at 8:07
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    This question would be much better on GraphicDesign.SE. Aug 5 '14 at 9:38
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    It's not a matter of tools, but style and limitations of display in that age. Designers back then had to ensure that their logos is consistent in 8-bit, 12-bit, 15-bit, and 16-bit, 18-bit color monitors, and in print. This limits their color choices, so that kind of color choices are popular in designs during that time, just like realistic, skeuomorphic design rises a few years back when we realized we have a high resolution truecolor monitor, and nowadays bright, flat design is popular again as we're no longer impressed by fake woods and leathers to convince us of the quality of our monitors.
    – Lie Ryan
    Aug 5 '14 at 15:30

well back in the 90s (like say 95 or so) - I used Photoshop 3.0 and 4.0 though even back in that dim and misty past it was higher quality than that. However high quality actually makes it easy to make pixely stuff - like that AOL logo would be a snap to make in Photoshop even now - just save it poor quality and tada it looks poor quality.

I also used KidPix Studio which will do stuff in the format of that bell logo very easily - bright block colours and autoshapes. It is horribly disgusting but it works quite well for that kind of thing - but I still much prefer Photoshop. Of course neither Photoshop or KidPixStudio are free although they both have trials available.

GIMP should work fine and is free (although it is not a direct feature to feature copy of Photoshop you can think free photoshop to get an idea if you're not familiar with GIMP). The main thing you'll need to do is choose the right brush types and get good at image manipulation - if you're good at it it is easy to make anything including ancient looking stuff. What colours you use is also important - chalky fairly bold colours were common.

  • Hey cool, this is what I'm looking for. I'm very able to google but on a side note I don't think that is the link to KidPix Studio. Also; free software is great & cool but personally I cannot get into GIMP Aug 5 '14 at 21:41

I did a bit of desktop publishing in the 90's, I can attest Corel Draw was very popular graphics software package for the PC. The Commodore Amiga was used a lot for TV graphics logos and animations - especially credits and weather forecasts etc. using software like VideoToaster etc.

I'm not sure if that 'Saved By the Bell' logo is Amiga, but it looks a bit like that ilk to me.


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