The return of the Y2K aesthetic

We’ve had the retro wave, we’ve had the futuristic wave and now we have (again!) a wave that unites the two: the retro-futuristic Y2K aesthetic. It sounds new, but you know more than you think. We’re talking about an aesthetic that emerged at the turn of the millennium, in the year 2000 (Year 2 thousand). Close your eyes and do a quick memory exercise. What was your bedroom like in the 2000s? How did people dress? What were the most popular movies, the most popular bands? What was the packaging like, the CD covers…? The answer to almost every question is too much color, too much movement, too many elements, a real visual mess.

Usually, when we change from one trend to another, we think that the previous one was extremely dated, sometimes even ugly and tacky, and that we’ll never explore it again. This perception is almost always mistaken, because we live in eternal cycles, with subtle adaptations to match the current moment.

How do you perceive the Y2K aesthetic?

Neon on everything.

Neon letters, neon elements, neon backgrounds. We don’t work with colored details, we work with all the colors that pop! The old colored hair clips, neon eye shadows, posters for marketing purposes. Did we mention neon?

Volume, quantity, 3D.

They always work with depth, the advertising fonts are in 3D, the photographs are cut out on top of colored backgrounds, without any concern for looking like the real thing. We’re back to the aesthetic of combining the real world with the digital, but in a way that makes it very clear, there’s no pretension to convey the idea that the graphic productions are real.

A feeling of nostalgia.

The idea is to appeal to two audiences at once: millennials and generation Z. For the former, it’s the direct sensation of evoking a simpler past. For the second, it’s like a vintage movement, just like millennials when they think of the 80s.

Textures.

Textures of water, plastic, bubbles, computer articles… after all, the future was understood visually in the 2000s as everything related to hardware: boards, wires and connections.

And finally, an allusion to all the technologies of the time. CDs, cell phones that opened, tube TVs, large computers.

For a whole generation, the 2000s were the happy and peaceful time of childhood and adolescence. As this is the generation that currently predominates in the job market, it’s natural to expect some allusion to the past. In the younger generations, the Y2K aesthetic is already quite established, including in music. Pop punk is going viral again, with artists like Olivia Rodrigo. Fashion is also bringing in various Y2K elements, such as miniskirts and metallic clothing. As the entire Studio Venturas team grew up during the 2000s, it’s been personally fun to bring these elements back into our work.