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9 T-Shirt Design Trends that Create Identity
min read

9 T-Shirt Design Trends that Create Identity

One of our favorite annual traditions: recapping the year's t-shirt design trends!

We’re more than halfway through the year, and design patterns have begun to form. We’re beginning to see trends in what’s popular in the world of t-shirt design in 2019 — some old, some new — so take a look at what’s popular so far in 2019!

1. Bright Colors

Something we’ve noticed a lot of this year, and last year as well, is an uptick in bright, vibrant t-shirt designs. This applies to the prints themselves, and the actual color of the shirt as well.

two shirts ling next to each other flat lay

Primary colors tend to be a good base to start at when designing for this look. We’d also recommend looking at 100% cotton t-shirt options, as they have less heathering in them. Though, if you prefer the feel of a blend, you can still achieve a bright print using our Bold Ink.

2. Heavyweight Tees

This year, we’ve also seen a boost in heavyweight t-shirts. For reference, we define heavyweight t-shirts as a t-shirt that weighs around 6 oz, compared to your standard shirt that typically weighs around 3.7 to 4.3 oz.

Heavyweight tees tend to be worn baggier, as they’re most closely associated with streetwear, but you may also opt for a heavyweight shirt if you prefer a more structured fit, or simply a heavier shirt as we head into Fall and Winter.

3. Nostalgia-Inspired Designs

We’re not sure if it’s Stranger Things related or what, but there seems to be a huge demand for nostalgia. Look at the top-grossing films this Summer and you’ll see titles like:

It seems pretty clear that everything from fashion to entertainment is heading back to the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.

two shirts flat laid

We’ve seen this reflected in t-shirt designs as well. Everything from friendly cartoon animals to bright 80s neon is back.

4. Mineral Wash Apparel

This next trend is one of the apparel industry’s best-kept secrets that looks like it’s finally been let out, and that is mineral wash apparel.

manaquin modeling shirt and young woman modeling black acid wash shirt

Evoking grunge feelings of the 80s and 90s, mineral wash t-shirts are an awesome option for faded, worn-in looks.

Bella+Canvas has a couple of great mineral wash options in the Bella 6400 (women's) and Canvas 3650 (unisex), the latter of which isn't photographed on our site yet, but has the exact same look as it's women's counterpart.

5. Front Chest, Back Middle

Now this trend isn’t exactly unique to this year by any means, but it’s worth noting simply for it’s staying power in the t-shirt design world: t-shirts with a small, left chest print on the front and a larger, center-aligned print on the back are favorites time and time again.

man modeling front and back of help scout shirt

We could speculate all day about why people prefer t-shirt designs like this, but to be honest, we don’t know the exact reason why. But we’ll continue wearing them, that’s for sure.

6. Typographic Designs

This trend is also a holdover from our list last year, but it deserves to be on the list again because it hasn’t gone anywhere.

one man wearing white shirt in front of blue backdrop next to picture of red shirt

T-shirts have a unique ability to convey a message, and type-centric designs tend to convey them best. Whether a company mantra, bit of humor, or words to live by, a clever saying laid out in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing will always resonate with people.

7. Multiple Textures

One design trend we’ve seen a lot of that’s both refreshing and engaging is t-shirts with multiple print styles on them, creating an engaging contrast of textures.

two shirts with gold foil printing

Using some combination of our normal water-based ink, foil printing, or metallic ink can create added contrast and intrigue in your design that you may not be able to achieve in the same way simply with color.

8. Unique T-Shirt Styles

So far in 2019, we’ve certainly noticed people being much choosier about the garments they decide to print their shirts on. Typically, we tend to see a lot of shirts printed on simple, basic unisex crewneck t-shirts, and while that’s still a lot of the shirts we print, we’ve noticed customers asking for more specific, unique styles.

white shirt flat lay and woman holding hair up wearing crop top

Whether it be t-shirts Made in the USA, eco-friendly shirts, crop-tops, or ringer tees, more and more designs are being printed on unique apparel pieces.

So much so, that it caused us to rethink our entire product page. Our last one was stagnant, and we weren’t able to update it with new styles often. But now, we’ll be adding new garment styles regularly.

9. Mauve: T-Shirt Color of the Year

Pantone may have named Living Coral as the 2019 color of the year, but we have seen otherwise. If there’s been a color of the year so far as far as t-shirts go, Mauve has certainly been it.

A pale purple whose name comes from the mallow flower, mauve has proven incredibly popular so far this year.

two pink shirts with black graphic print

Bella+Canvas has perhaps our favorite Mauve fabric. The variation of Mauve is available in each of the following styles:

*The latter two options don't have the color photographed on our site, but they do, indeed, exist and are available for your custom t-shirt projects.

Make Your Own Trend

Whether you're designing a t-shirt, print, or, well, anything really, we hope these 9 t-shirt design trends give you some inspiration. 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.