“O! More than Gothic ignorance.” – Henry Fielding
“Gothic” is kind of a catch-all term nowadays, in that it can mean whatever you want it to mean. Still, most of the meanings that come to mind when thinking of the word have a touch of macabre to them. Usually, “gothic” designates something scary, most of the times something that involves death and/or pessimism.
Still, the term hasn’t always looked like this. It first just meant “barbaric”. It started being associated with the arts in the early 12th century, when French architects started building in a new style. This style of architecture matured in the 14th century in what is now known as the International Gothic Style.
The buildings in this style were described by Italian architects and writers as barbaric and “Gothic”. Why Gothic? Because the Goths had sacked Rome in 410 and this was universally accepted in the 14th and 15th centuries as the moment Classical civilization fell.
OK, so the word used to mean barbaric. So what? Well, the style was quickly associated with a bunch of arts, like painting and sculpture. How is this relevant to you, as a modern-day designer? Well, the word also has a lot of tie-ins with the world of design.
Let’s face it, of all the design resources, the most important ones, historically, are the other arts. Design has always drawn heavily from other visual arts, as well as architecture.
Beyond that, though, the term “Gothic” has a special meaning in the design world, a meaning pertaining to typography. There are two types of script referred to as “Gothic”. One of them is the Blackletter family of fonts, which were used from the 12th century to the 17th in all of Europe and that continued to be used for German up to the 20th century. Another one is the Sans Serif typeface also known as Grotesque.
In the 18th century, a group of English writers known as “The Graveyard School” started using the term to describe their literary work, which always had a dark element to it.
So what’s so important about this history of the meanings the word “Gothic” has acquired over the years? Well, for one thing, it’s ever since The Graveyard School started using it to describe their works that the macabre became central to the concept. More so, if we look at Gothic literature, we will find that atmosphere is key.
This means that in what we now call Gothic art, which is art with a touch of macabre, a bit of pessimism, maybe a little scary, what’s really important is not what is depicted necessarily, but what’s implied by the depiction.
That being said, here are 25 Gothic vector illustrations that are guaranteed to make your spine tingle with inspiration!
1. ‘Aperitif #1’ by Orlando Arocena
2. ‘Salvation 01’ ny Adrian Knopik
3. ‘Heresy’ by Anna Ignatieva
4. ‘Teuthida Love’ by Niel Marcelino
5. ‘Smooch’ by Lloyd de Guzman
6. ‘Frankenstein’ by Denis O’Sullivan
7. ‘House of Secrets’ by Brandon Ragnar Johnson
8. ‘Shapeshifter’ by Jorge Servin
9. ‘Mindfuck’ by Ramon de Andrade Madeira
10. ‘LHTv2’ by Guto Reiiz
11. ‘The Zombie Mermaid Princess’ by Witit Karpkraikaew
12. ‘Nosferatu’ by Stephen Kinsey
13. ‘Demonic Bird’ by Daryl Bean
14. ‘Phoenix Comicon Exclusive – May of the Dead’ by Patrick Finch
15. ‘Amanita Muscarita’ by MetaMephisto
16. ‘Old Skull’ by Edno Pereira Jr.
17. ‘Muertos’ by Jefferson Thomaz Lino Rodrigues
18. ‘Start Running’ by Nastasia Peters
19. ‘80713’ by Timur Khabirov
20. ‘ZombieNation 07’ by Renzo Gonzáles Vereau
21. ‘I Say Devil (black)’ by Karin van de Kuilen
22. ‘Last Knight’ by Ivan Prelevic
23. ‘Skull India’ by Andreas Ivanof
24. ‘I’m on a Diet’ by Emily Watanabe
25. ‘Poster KC’ by inumocca