Not Too Quiet on the Western Front

I’ve noticed a slowly growing trend of graphic design that is clearly influenced by the wild west. Worn typography is being used everywhere, usually in browns and reds. Faded paper, like the kind you would make as a child by staining it with tea, is also very common. And, of course, the cowboy archetype has been popping up too. Could it be that cowboys are the new vampires?

The popular HBO show Deadwood is also probably a big influence, though perhaps less so than the release of True Grit in December 2010. I really hate the true grit poster. It is so bad that I still wonder if it’s meant to be ironic.  The little pointing fingers look like MS clip art, the gun shot and blood looks like a stock photos.. I don’t understand it. The Deadwood poster on the other hand is gorgeous. The unusual composition is beautifully photographed, multi-layered with perfect typography.

The new ATP promotional material is a good example of something completely un-Western adopting this aesthetic. It uses the same condensed stacked type that True Grit uses, though the letters are worn and faded to appear like a hand-rendered print.

If you’d like to create your own designs, you can use these free Western fonts! They’re a little tacky but with such great names as ‘Bleeding Cowboys’, ‘Rustler’ and ‘Should’ve Known’ how can you say no?

Need more proof that cowboys are the new vampires for hormonal teens? Check out what is #16 in the Billboard 100 this week:

Luckily, I have lots of friends who are much more fashion forward than me who informed by that the catwalks of this year’s New York Fashion week also was brimming with wild western style, including Ralph Lauren’s collection. Derek Lam and Betsy Johnson have also been doing their own homage to the cowboys. Not everyone is a fan though: writing for the LA Times about Lauren’s new collection, Booth Moore said:

“The heavy-handed Western accents — oversized steer-head belt buckles, lacey blouses with leg o’ mutton sleeves, and a rodeo’s worth of leather and fringe — took this collection dangerously close to looking like something out of the wardrobe department of a big-budget Western.”

You be the judge, but I suspect we’ll see a lot more of these types of designs, in both fashion and graphics, in the comings months. I’ll keep you posted!

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