One recent emerging trend is an increased use of gothic styles and themes. This trend captures everything from imagery and color schemes to fonts and overall styling.
It’s an almost natural progression and evolution from all of the dark mode designs we’ve seen in recent years to reversion to gothic style.
Here, we’ll look at gothic style design and how you can make this design trend – potentially – work for you. Whether that’s in a poster, flyer, typographic choice, or a website. Let’s dive in!
What is Gothic Style?
Gothic style derived from architecture in the 18th century and was later applied to graphic design. It is characterized by its use of ornate, intricate details, pointed arches, and vertical lines and is a design style that has ebbed and flowed over time.
In modern graphic design, gothic style design often refers to a contemporary interpretation of this historic design style. You’ll often find bold, blocky, or ornate lettering and graphics with a dark, moody color palette.
Characteristics of the Gothic Style
The first identifier of gothic style is often imagery. If you’ve been watching the Netflix series, “Wednesday,” you are no stranger to this style. There’s a distinct gothic vibe from the title typography to every image promoting the series and therein.
The gothic style has a distinctive influence on graphic design and can be seen in various design elements. Here are some other things to look for in gothic design elements:
- Ornate and intricate details: Pay special attention to borders, patterns, and typography.
- Dark color palette: You’ll find a lot of black, gray, and dark red or purple, which can create a sense of drama and mystery.
- Textures: Stone, metal, or wood to create a sense of authenticity and age.
- Symbolism and iconography: Symbolic elements, such as crosses, skulls, or gargoyles can be used to convey a sense of power, mystery, or horror.
- Emphasis on verticality: Vertical lines and forms, which can create a sense of height and grandeur are popular and often come across in visuals such as tall, narrow windows or pointed arches.
- Rough edges: Sharp lines might be offset by ragged or rough edges for lines, type elements, or even image containers.
- Gothic typography: Blackletter fonts are a common characteristic of Gothic design, often used in titles, headlines, and logos.
There are two schools of gothic typography – more traditional blackletter or Old English fonts and modern, more experimental styles that pay homage to the old style.
Modern gothic fonts often have sharp, angular shapes and intricate details, which can evoke a sense of mystery, elegance, and sophistication. They are commonly used in branding and advertising for products and services that target a younger, edgier demographic.
Regardless of the time period, almost all of the typography in a gothic style shares some common visual details.
- Sharp, pointed edges that create a sense of drama and intensity. The letters often have pointed serifs or sharp, triangular shapes.
- Intricate details with highly decorative loops, swirls, and embellishments to create an ornate appearance.
- Vertical emphasis with tall, narrow letterforms that create a sense of height and grandeur.
- Lack of curves focusing on straight lines and sharp angles.
- Old-world charm that evokes historical roots, feelings of tradition or elegance, and maybe a hint of spookiness.
Tips for Using this Trend Well
The gothic style can be a striking choice, but it isn’t for every type of project. Context is extremely important here; the wrong content with a gothic style can feel off-base and jarring.
There are, though, many ways you can use gothic styles. Use this design trend with content that has historical or traditional themes, gothic-inspired products or services, elements that need high drama, or to create a high-end feel.
Remember that gothic doesn’t have to feel “dark.” It can also feel traditional.
The gothic style has a long history and is associated with many different historical periods and artistic movements, so it can be used to evoke a sense of authenticity and tradition.
You’ll find this style is often associated with heavy metal music, establishing that hard-edge connection between the visual aesthetic and the audio. For the same reason, you’ll often find gothic design themes with scary movies and medieval themes.
Gothic design can work exceptionally well for projects that have an intense vibe. Bold shapes and dark color help put extra emphasis on this feeling. Additionally, this can create a sense of authority and power.
Pair gothic images and typefaces with more simple and neutral elements so the design doesn’t get overwhelming. That may include simple complementary textures, backgrounds, images, and body text in a regular sans-serif style.
Finally, you might associate elements of a gothic style with high-end luxury. This can be especially true when gothicism is minimalized but elements are there, such as just using typography in this style. This creates a sense of elegance and sophistication, to help reinforce a brand’s premium status.
Templates with Gothic Styles
Start projects in a gothic style a little bit quicker with a template or font that’s in a gothic style. Here are a few downloadable options from Envato Elements that we love.
Gothic Birthday Invitation
Live Music YouTube Thumbnail
Moustache Party Flyer
Trotont Gothic Font
Cambridge Bold Decorative Gothic Font
Samaz Gothic Vintage Typeface
A gothic style can be a moody and fun way to design something a little differently. Just keep in mind that it may not be suitable in all design contexts. You’ll likely avoid gothic elements in designs aimed at children or those that require a more playful or whimsical aesthetic.
This design trend has come and gone a few times, and it’ll be interesting to see how much staying power it has now.