This article complaining about the thinness of the magic wands in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them got me thinking about styles in settings. Do the arms and armour of a generation ago look different to those of today in a fantasy setting? Are the next generation of starships sleeker?
A lot of this is about how real-world styles and fashions change and ongoing series reflect them. Compare Erol Otus or Larry Elmore D&D to the 3rd edition “Dungeonpunk” aesthetic.
Star Trek is the classic example, with the original series in particular looking so very 60s compared to its sequels and even prequels, some changes caused by moving from TV to film and back. Making things look modern to viewers has led to a rather strange timeline for uniforms and gear. The new films get Kirk out of his mustard pullover pretty often.
Sometimes a setting will play with earlier versions more extensively. Star Wars Rebels is full of Ralph McQuarrie references, but also other nods to the 70s-ness of the first film, notably Agent Kallus and what’s under that helmet. The slim, decorative Art Deco wands in Fantastic Beasts fit in with the film’s Gatsby-esque take on the period setting. What would your world look like a generation or two back?