Home / DesignDesigner Reimagines How Today’s Online Apps Would Have Looked Like as ‘80s Gadgets

Designer Reimagines How Today’s Online Apps Would Have Looked Like as ‘80s Gadgets

Modern Apps as ‘80s Tech Toys by Thomas Olliver

Spotify

Today, people can communicate with their friends, listen to music, play games, and much more all on their smartphones. However, before the World Wide Web, you had to use different devices depending on what you wanted to do. If you were born pre-Internet you’ll probably remember gadgets such as a Walkman, Gameboy, and Etch A Sketch. These nostalgic tech toys and gadgets are the inspiration behind London-based creative director Thomas Olliver’s series Re:Birth, a project that imagines how today’s favorite online apps would have looked like in the 1980s.

“I started to design these ‘non-connected’ devices to materialise the intangible nature of all the applications that have invaded our lives,” Olliver tells My Modern Met. “But I wanted to anchor them visually in an era: the pre-internet nostalgia with its iconic hardware, which has now become a symbol of my generation.” By keeping the same brand colors and logos, each retro redesign is strangely familiar. Music streaming platform Spotify looks like a green Walkman, Instagram is a disposable camera, and Facebook is in the form of an old-school pager. Each image is a visual reminder of how far technology has developed in just a few decades.

While many ‘80s kids are sure to remember their favorite gadget, for Olliver, you can’t beat the Nintendo 64 game console. He reveals, “We have kept a ritual to play with my brother on the Nintendo 64 at Goldeneye, the joy and adrenaline hasn’t changed.” If, like Olliver, you still have a place in your heart for the gadgets of yesteryear, you might be excited to hear that the artist plans to turn his designs into reality. He reveals, “I am considering to produce the series as real objects for an exhibition, I think the Facebook pager with the real message alert could be fun.”

You can check out more of Olliver’s imaginative projects on his website.

London-based creative director Thomas Olliver’s series, Re:Birth, imagines how today’s favorite online apps would have looked in the 1980s.

Modern Apps as ‘80s Tech Toys by Thomas Olliver

WhatsApp

Modern Apps as ‘80s Tech Toys by Thomas Olliver

Netflix

The pre-Internet technology designs see Facebook, Instagram, Google, and more as old-school gadgets.

Modern Apps as ‘80s Tech Toys by Thomas Olliver

Facebook

Modern Apps as ‘80s Tech Toys by Thomas Olliver

Instagram

Each retro redesign is a visual reminder of how far technology has developed in just a few decades.

Modern Apps as ‘80s Tech Toys by Thomas Olliver

Google

Modern Apps as ‘80s Tech Toys by Thomas Olliver

Snapchat

Modern Apps as ‘80s Tech Toys by Thomas Olliver

Adobe Illustrator

Thomas Olliver: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Thomas Olliver.

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