Fun new products (like hats and tote bags) are here, just in time for summer 😎 Don't see what you're looking for? Just let us know!
Browse products
8 t-shirt design trends to look out for
min read

8 t-shirt design trends to look out for

We see a lot of t-shirt designs in our day-to-day. Here's a list of trends we've spotted in 2018.

We’ve reached the halfway point on 2018, and that serves as an excellent checkpoint to reflect on what’s happened so far in the year, and plan for what’s to come. We wanted to take the opportunity to take a look at 8 t-shirt design trends we’ve noticed so far this year.

1. Monochrome color palettes

One trend we’ve noticed so far this year is a rise in designs using a monochromatic color palette.

Monochromatic colors all share the same base color but varying saturation and brightness. So a monochromatic t-shirt design might have varying shades of a green ink printed on a green t-shirt, like the one pictured below:

A monochromatic color scheme looks slick and can simplify a complicated or intricate design. For a low key, fashionable design, this is definitely a route worth considering.

For an in-depth look at color and how it works in design, check out this blog post on color theory.

2. Layers on layers (of color)

The next t-shirt trend we've seen a lot of are designs that place layers of color on top of each other.

Throwing colors on top of each other like this can create a cool contrast effect, making the design feel bolder and more lively.

3. Foil prints

We’ve been doing foil prints for a while, but there’s been a particular uptick in the style so far in 2018. Foil printing is exactly what it sounds like, foil on your t-shirt. 

First, we apply a layer of special glue onto your shirt where the design will go, then we use a press to adhere the foil to the shirt. Then, we peel off the excess foil and your t-shirt is ready to go!

4. Bright colors

Though not quite as bright as foil prints, there has been a huge amount of bright color designs coming through. Not quite like the neon color phase from a couple of years ago, but close. Think more like modern Miami Vice. 

When designing for this look, try starting with the primary colors (red, blue, yellow), and adjust from there as you see fit.

5. Geometric patterns

Geometric patterns have been enjoying a moment in the spotlight for quite some time now, and it doesn’t look like this trend has any signs of slowing down. Sharp, clean lines can add extra texture to your t-shirt designs while still making them feel nice and simple.

Side note, scroll back up to the t-shirt under trend 2 for another example of geometric shapes adding extra dimension to a design.

6. Type-centric designs

In the realm of simplicity, typographic t-shirt designs have been really hot this year. People have long used words on their t-shirts, that’s not exactly new. But in the past, words have usually been secondary to an illustration or some other design element. More and more though, we’re seeing simple typography at the center of t-shirt designs.

People love wearing a shirt that represents something. Whether it be a cause, montra, or just a clever saying, if you can put letters on a shirt that resonate with people and look good, it’s going to be a hit.

7. Iconography

We’ve noticed a lot of iconography on t-shirts this year –– particularly in the tech community. Icons are a huge part of web design, so it makes sense that icons on tees are coming from the web part of the world.

Icon-centric t-shirt designs are a cool way to bond the work tech teams do with the physical world. Seeing icons on a website are standard. Seeing them on a t-shirt and not a computer screen is a fun marriage of work and life.

8. Add-ons becoming standards

This last trend has always been true in regards to clothing brands, and is even becoming the case for company tees. Custom add-ons are more than just nice, they’re expected.

If you have a clothing brand, customizations like custom printed tags or hem tags go a long way in making your t-shirts feel retail ready. If you’re selling your t-shirts, these small details are a huge value-add, and make people feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.

Or if you’re ordering company tees for your staff, your team will surely be impressed by the nice touch and attention to detail.

We hope these 8 t-shirt design trends give you some design inspiration heading into the second half of the year. Have you noticed any design trends that we didn’t list? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you about what’s going to be hot in the coming months. Outside of the weather, that is.