One of the fastest ways to apply an authentic retro or vintage look to your illustrations is through the use of textures. Whether you’re mocking up a concept for a client or working on a personal project, the right texture can quickly take your work to the next level.
However, finding the perfect texture – or making one yourself – isn’t always an option when you’re short on time, so we’ve curated a list of the best free retro and vintage textures for you to refer back to whenever you need to quickly add some depth or age to your designs. (And we've included links to premium alternatives, too.)
All the retro and vintage textures in this collection are free for personal use, and most are free for commercial use as well – just be sure to double-check the terms before applying them to your work.
Read on for our collection of the very best free retro and vintage textures that the internet has to offer…
Get four super-light textures from our flagship Diet Vector pack for free. Guaranteed not to crash your computer, they’re made from transparent high-res bitmap TIFFs – and they’re insanely easy to use: just drop one into your work for instant texture. You can also layer them up for a more intense aesthetic, resize them or change their color with the click of a button.
If you like them, check out the full Diet Textures bundle: 100 super-light textures (4000 x 4000px) – created from cardboard, ink, sandpaper and old tools – that won’t crash Illustrator. There are four diverse packs within the bundle, and by combining, resizing or layering just two or more different textures you can make unlimited unique textures for your work.
Roughen up your illustrations with our free Essential Subtle Texture sample pack: 4 EPS, raster and bitmap textures that will add instant age and tactility to your images.
These samples come from our Essential Concrete Textures pack – 10 concrete textures made to cover every type of design work. The pack includes EPS, raster and bitmap formats of each texture, so you’ve got every file format you’ll ever need for $15.
This top pack from DesignCuts is full of gorgeous free retro and vintage textures from artists like 2 Lil Owls, Artist Mef, LuOtero, Mix Pix Box, NKate and Unember. Plus it also comes with two striking art deco patterns from The Paper Town. Brilliant.
Always wanted your own wood type shop? Well, you’re part way there (towards a digital version, anyway) with this free sample pack from our Wood & Ink Photoshop Texture kit. Just hit the link in the title and download it instantly!
(The full version of the Wood & Ink kit includes over 60 textures created from ink, wood, water, brushes and more. You’ll get 20 Wood Type Styles for Photoshop, 10 Wood and Ink Photoshop Brushes, 15 Printed Ink Seamless Patterns for Photoshop, five Wood Block Photoshop Brushes, five Ink Splatter Overlays and free updates forever.)
This set of dramatic, grunge textures comes courtesy of Deviant Art member env1ro. Created from wall and rust sources, there are five textures sized at 1000 x 750px in this free set.
You can get three of Timothy Swim’s 10-texture VHS pack for free on the Missouri-based creative’s Dribbble site – perfect for adding a retro, crackling effect to your illustrations.
DeviantArt user Enchantedgal-Stock – aka Kimberly Crick – has created this Gold Metal Wrinkled Paper texture. It’s copyright/royalty free for any use, whether personal and commercial. All she asks is for a link to your project in the Comments section of the DeviantArt page.
For really stunning gold foil textures, take a look at the huge RetroSupply Hot Foil pack. For less than $20, you get ultra high-res real gold, silver, bronze and hologram foil textures, plus three Quick Foil Photoshop Actions (Standard, Smooth and Rough) and more. All you have to do is hit save to apply them to your work.
You’ll find two wall textures, two paper textures and two woods textures in the pack of six high-resolution textures from professional photographer Andrew Donetti. Available as JPEGs, each texture is 5315 x 3543px at 300DPI.
There are 15 super-dirty, super-grungy free texture brushes in this pack, created by UK-based designer Visual Idiot in Photoshop CS6.
Halftone textures are a great way to add an authentic retro print effect to your illustrations. Get started with our free collection of high-resolution halftone textures – which also comes with three bonus surprises.
For an even faster way to give your work a classic monotone halftone print style, try our premium Sparkprint action for Photoshop (just $15), or our halftone and line kit for Illustrator, Vectortone ($17). Both come with a whole range of additional design goodies for quickly and easily distressing your work.
For subtle grunge effects, look no further than these two free sets of high-res textures from Fudge Graphics (click the link above for set two; you can find set one here). Created from graphite stick rubbings, they’re 3200px wide, and great for both print and web projects.
Deviant Art member AF-studios, aka Ana Fagarazzi, offers this five-file pack of high-resolution textures for free – as long as you credit her in the description of your work and supply a link to your designs.
For a textured pastel retro effect, try Hamburg-Based designer, illustrator and front-end developer Maleika EA’s free Cocoa powder texture brushes. Like all the textures here, they’re free for commercial and personal use.
Deviant Art member regularjane is the creative mind behind this beautiful collection of free retro bokeh textures. Sized at 3000 x 2000px, they’ll add a cheerful abstract effect to your projects.
Sample three of Austin-based creative Ryan Weaver’s popular subtle vector textures for free, with this small texture goody pack available through Dribbble.
Get gritty with the second version of Jacob Gube’s free texture pack, Sidewalk Pavement. The collection features seven sidewalk-based textures in JPG format, each sized at 1944 x 2896px.
If you’re after a subtle retro or vintage texture effect, try Think Design’s pack of 15 free subtle grunge vectors. The .zip includes CS versions as well.
For another shiny metallic gold texture, try this free download from FreeCreatives’s elite collection. As with the rest of the retro and vintage textures in this list, it’s free for commercial and personal use.
Add some depth to your designs with this multi-colored pack of 10 free jute textures, created from real jute fabrics by Dribbble member Zippy Pixels.
Julkusiow’s 12 free retro and vintage textures come courtesy of these two packs (click on the link above for pack one; pack two is here). She asks for a credit in the description of any work made.
You’ll find two free high-res vector and raster grit textures from this gritty pack created by Atlanta-based designer Teela Cunningham.
Created using a range of different rocky surfaces, Rock 1 is a free texture pack that combines detailed close-ups of rock surfaces, as well as larger sections of rocks.
For dramatic texture effects, try this set of 13 extra large dark textures, created by Deviant Art member InTheDeepDark. She asks for credit if use them, but otherwise they’re free for your designs and illustrations.
What could be more retro than a set of TV glitch textures? This pack comes with 15 high-res textures, all for free, to take your images back to the old school.
But wait! If retro glitch effects are your thing, let us introduce you to the ultimate collection of retro glitch effects and overlays: the RetroGlitch Photoshop bundle. It comes with three high-res RetroSlithc smart PSDs, 27 high-res glitch overlays, 25 high-res screen overlays, four high-res texture overlays and three pixelation brush tool presets for instant glitch effects.
There are four free texture packs (Industrial Grunge Textures, Concrete Essential Texture Pack, Retrowrap Plastic Textures and Grit & Grain warehouse textures; plus a set of five Texture Boy Brush Preset brushes) in our huge bundle of free products on the RetroSupply site.
To get your hands on them, simply sign up for our newsletter and they’re yours – along with a sample version of our best-selling retro typeface Palm Canyon Drive, some free high-res Photoshop brushes, our Greasy Spoon typeface and a collection of free color swatches to give your work a touch of classic mid-century design. Enjoy!
Fresh from submitting her stunning illustrations to Zurich Museum of Design's prestigious poster collection, San Francisco-based Jeana Hadley shares top advice for how to make the very best work you can.
Creative giants: The Auckland-based illustrator behind cult T-shirt brand Glennz Tees and print shop Glenn Jones Art talks risk, going solo and how to run a globally successful business from home.
Creative giants: The senior art director and Farmhand studio founder shares pro tips and advice for getting a new creative venture off the ground – and explains why sleep is overrated.