An Essential Guide to Vintage Decorative Styles


December 11, 2021

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Talking about vector decorative elements, there is sure a wide array of ornamental types to select from; one popular among graphic designers is vintage style. Vintage design, as a whole, looks back to past times through particular aspects of design styles, most commonly those prominent in the 19th to early 20th centuries.

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Today, many attempts to rediscover and relearn utilizing this design style from the past in many forms, including ornamental vector graphics. This article aims to guide you to some of the most popular vintage decorations in vector graphics, along with pro tips on when you should utilize them.


Victorian, which officially began in 1837-1901, refers to a period in which many artisans and proficient designers developed a keenness in embellishment. 

The Victorian style is deemed to be broad since the period of Victorian spans for approximately 60 years. Its appearance may be accomplished by taking a reference to a wide range of design influences.

The Victorian ornament is geometric, angular, spidery, and thin. It’s also highly versatile to the extent that it can be placed in thick patterns to give intricate corner adornment or as some small sprigs of delicate intricacy.

While it’s very Victorian, the geometry of this decorative style somewhat feels a bit modernist, making it suitable to experiment with. It usually uses for framing titles and labels in bifold menus.

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau was a sophisticated ornament movement began somewhere between the end of 19th and 20th century. It’s widely known for its flowing graphics, which are frequently employed with tall frames in an asymmetrical manner.

Look for vector ornaments in this style. You will see how the flowing vines and leaves made up those graphics evoke mystery and sensual richness. Art Nouveau is defined by these natural beauties instead of deliberate adornment.

This decorative style needs to be used with caution since it can add a powerful signature to any design product. Invitations, posters, and menus can significantly benefit from vector decorations in this Art Nouveau style.  


Baroque, also widely known as Baroque Revival, refers to design elements prevalent in the 17th century. Many often mistaken the ornament for Renaissance Revival, but Baroque is more vivacious.

The decoration appears more lively and realistic compared to those of Renaissance, with its apparent contrasts between lights and darks, as well as thins and thicks. 

Much like Art Nouveau, Baroque also employing natural components, such as plants and shells, which also become the characters of this ornament style.

In order to replicate this decorative style in your design project, consider looking for French-inspired vector borders and frames. This exquisite adornment is perfect for books and formal design projects, such as wedding invitations.


Began in the 17th to the early 19th century, Penmanship dubbed the foundation of the majority of the most popular antique embellishments. Their swirls and graceful loops were created by pens or quills from a bygone era when professional handwriting was highly valued.

The way people in the past drawing fancy decoration around text has indeed inspired today’s designers to create the same thing but with more modern equipment rather than using quills or pens.

If you look for vector decorative elements in Penmanship style, you will find ornaments that often include animals like lions and doves. Their meticulously designed strokes or roundels are often associated with feminity and delicacy.

This embellishment can be easily found in any design project that attempts to mimic handwriting, such as invitations, award certificates, diploma certificates, and the likes.  


This design style is generally based on architectural styles and prominent ornamental from around the middle to the late Medieval period. Gothic can be considered a comprehensive design style since it influences many types of art forms.

In comparison to the most formal and classic or vintage styles, Gothic design can give off a more sense of grandeur and authority to any graphic design project. In today’s graphic design, the Gothic style is defined by primary colors and aged textures.

Gothic ornaments are usually found in horror-themed book covers, liquor bottles, and any graphic design products that require calligraphic ornaments that can give off dramatic and formal quality.

Final Thoughts

Here, you have gone through some of the most well-known vector ornament styles classified as vintage.  From Victorian to Gothic style, there is always something that can be taken as inspiration when looking for graphics to adorn any design product.

When you look for vector decorative elements to be integrated into your design but have no idea which style is the most suitable, this guide should make your job much more manageable.

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