Retro signs typically have some form of symbol or object in the background, in order to highlight the message of the typography or to give it a vintage look. The symbols can be very simple, such as a smiley face or heart, or complex, such as musical apparatus, street signs, or social icons. However, in some cases the typography is its own design, featuring words in various patterns so that an object is formed.
The typography used is also an important variable in retro signs. There can be several different fonts in the same word or in individual lettering, as well as the use of different lettering sizes depending on its aesthetic appeal and necessity. Different colors are also used frequently in these unique works. Most retro signs have a solid background so that the words can be read and easily understood, however, even if other design aspects are present.
Due to this art form's massive popularity among younger generations, these works are typically used to decorate dorm rooms and the bedrooms of young adults. However, some retro signs lend themselves readily to older audiences who can use these works in their own home as an inspirational design tool.