Let's Get Trendy: The Hottest T-Shirt Design Trends of Early 2022
T-Shirt Trends
min read

Let's Get Trendy: The Hottest T-Shirt Design Trends of Early 2022

A list of the design trends you should be paying attention to this season.

Ahh, trends. They come and go so often it can sometimes be hard to keep up with them! While trends may seem exclusive to the runways at Paris Fashion Week and similar spectacles, trends are all around us — and inform just about every facet of our lives. Weather trends help meteorologists predict whether you’ll need a coat (or an umbrella) this week. Financial trends help investors decide whether to buy or sell, and reassure investors that “this isn’t a bubble!” 

Yes, trends are everywhere, and at Real Thread there is one trend in particular we are interested in: t-shirt design trends. Sifting through trend forecasting reports can be tedious work, but it’s completely worth it to be able to give you the full run-down on t-shirt trends for 2022. Plus, we’re in the custom t-shirt game: it’s kind of our job to know the trends. So, without further ado, here are the year’s t-shirt trends you’ll need to know before you design t-shirts online. 


Custom tote bag with wildflower design
Ok, so, it's not a shirt — but this custom tote is a perfect example of the plant-forward apparel movement.

No, we aren’t talking about the hemp craze that swept the apparel world a decade ago. Rather, we’re talking about the new green wave: all things outdoorsy. T-shirt designs featuring adorable, anthropomorphic succulents have seemingly taken over, and illustrated plants (in pastel colors, of course) are all the rage. When you get to work on your next t-shirt design masterpiece, whether you keep it playful or realistic: you simply can’t go wrong with some fun foliage. 


An American-Traditional skull design with "I need some space" written on it.
A riff on a classic - infusing some American Traditional vibes into your next design (like this one from InkedShop) is a solid move.

Remember that super cool dude you saw at the coffee shop the other day who looked like a 20th century boxer (but probably worked in tech)? Remember his super cool tattoos? Do you see what we’re getting at? The American-Traditional art style (think: “MOM” in a heart) has long been a popular tattoo style, but now it has been fully co-opted by the design world in a way we haven’t seen since the heyday of Christian Audigier. Next time you design t-shirts online with Real Thread, keep it trendy: let super cool coffee shop guy (and Ed Hardy) be your guide. 

Bold & Retro

I'm so happy you exist t-shirt in a retro font and colors
This tee, available for purchase on Etsy, is the perfect example of this trend.

While plant-mom-esque designs can also be classified as slightly hippie-ish, for this trend we’re talking full-on Flower Child. Think early 70s vibes, mixed in with some ironic Y2K fashion. Not necessarily tie-dye, but rather big, bold, bubbly text on solid backgrounds spelling out phrases like “LOVE YOURSELF” or "LOVE IS EVERYWHERE” This t-shirt design trend is not limited to just t-shirts! In fact, major fashion house Loewe (pronounced luh-way-vay, if you’re wondering — I know I was) recently dipped their toes into the big-text-shirt game. Whatever your message: say it loud, say it proud, and make it pretty … man! 

One thing to note about this design trend — it tends to often be paired with another t-shirt trend: The Heavyweight Tee. Oversized garments with some weight to them continue to be all the rage, especially among Millennials and Gen-Z.

DIY Vibes

Hand-drawn t-shirt design that says "Your worth is not measured by your productivity."
This illustrated design on a shirt from Self Care Is For Everyone is a perfect example of this trend that leans more into organic lines and "homegrown" vibes.

The Do-It-Yourself lifestyle is everywhere in 2022, and t-shirt design trends are no exception. While many might trace it back to early quarantine when everyone was making bread or getting crafty, I personally choose to take it all the way back to the mid-90’s. More, specifically, to Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor from Home Improvement. But I digress! Hand-drawn t-shirt designs are bigger than ever, and t-shirts with simple illustrations resembling doodles you might find on a bar napkin are indubitably in for 2022. *Eugh!* 

Have a Nice Day! :-)

A shirt with repeating text that says "NEW YORK."
A riff on the classic plastic takeout bag design, this shirt from Lulu's demonstrates this trend perfectly.

Our final design trend for 2022 is one which has taken far too long to enter the t-shirt design zeitgeist (dezeitgeist, if you will): repeating, all-over text. Clearly drawing inspiration from legendary plastic takeout bags which are now nearing extinction thanks to more sustainable practices, the “Have a Nice Day!” design lives on through this t-shirt design trend. Should you decide to design t-shirts online in this vein, keep your messaging repetitive and infuse a little of that same kindness in there. It is infectious, after all! 

The best thing about this trend? The possibilities are limitless as far as what text you put in your own version. Your company name, a core value, a specific team or initiative — go crazy! 

Go Set the Trend! 

Now that you’ve got enough design inspiration to last a year, it’s time to get to work on your next t-shirt design. Fortunately, in addition to combing through trend after trend (after trend), the experts in all things custom at Real Thread have also made it insanely easy to design t-shirts online. Our user-friendly design tools allow you to watch your trend-setting masterpiece take shape in real time, and our selection of high-quality blanks mean you have hundreds of choices in canvas. Plus, should you need a hand with your creation, the printing pros at Real Thread are always happy to help. Now, you get designing — we’ll be trends! 

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