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Nail Artist Rayah Naji Turns Modern Manicures Into ‘70s Style Ads

There are some decades that evoke nostalgia so potent that you can’t escape their influence. The ‘70s is one of those time periods. The decade gave us voluminous, bouncy blowouts, the ultra-glamourous disco era, and bold, graphic liner trends that we are still salivating over today. This time around, we’re seeing its influence in artist Rayah Naji‘s work, in which she combines her beautiful nail art and graphic design skills to create stunning “advertisements” that look like they came straight from a ’70s magazine. 

Naji’s “ads” got a significant amount of attention when her tweet showcasing her work went viral. The caption was succinct and effective — “my design skills 🤝 my nail art.” The designs typically feature a cute manicure (like the Louis Vuitton French tips below,) with slogans rendered in retro fonts.

Courtesy of Rayah Naji

The 21-year-old artist told us that her inspiration first came from some of her design classes. (She’s studying graphic design at Simmons University and will be graduating this semester.) Naji’s professor frequently shared vintage magazines with the class, and she quickly fell in love with the fonts typically used in the ads from back in the day. “I prefer old advertisements to current-day ads because the products were always presented in a more appealing and entertaining way,” she shares with Allure. “I like to give new life to old ideas.” 

Her graphic design abilities may have been honed in the classroom, but her nail art skills were not. Her prowess comes from dutifully studying other artists on YouTube and lots of practice. This year, the self-taught artist has been taking the craft more seriously. “I love graphic design, but creating art with my hands brings a different type of satisfaction,” she explains. 

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