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Blog / Beginner's handbook / 56 T-Shirt Design Ideas That Are Seriously Next-Level

Beginner's handbook

56 T-Shirt Design Ideas That Are Seriously Next-Level

56 T-Shirt Design Ideas That Are Seriously Next-Level
Sandra Ķempele

By Sandra Ķempele

29 min read

Simply put, t-shirts are amazing for everyday wear. They’re super comfy and come in a seemingly unlimited number of colors and styles. From their humble beginnings as undergarments, t-shirts have become one of the most popular apparel items. 

What’s more, there’s a growing demand for custom t-shirts with printed logos, slogans, and quotes. That’s because t-shirts are the perfect messengers. Thanks to the t-shirt printing, you can showcase your support for a cause or highlight what you’re passionate about. Just start with a t-shirt design and logo placement—they’re key factors in making your shirt stand out.

We’ve previously covered hoodie design ideas on our blog, but this time, it’s all about trending t-shirt designs that can inspire your next (or first) collection. So read on for 56 unique t-shirt design ideas and get inspired!

Cool t-shirt design ideas

First off, it’s a good idea to explore what’s trendy right now and look for some cool design ideas that are getting attention online. Notice what stands out to you. Try to strike a balance between a design that makes you excited and a popular trend.

Whether you’d like to take a light-hearted approach or make a bold statement, here are some ideas to get you started.

 

1. Statement t-shirts

What are you passionate about? Are you a firm supporter of animal rights or want to promote sustainable practices and greener choices? A t-shirt can become a canvas for your statement to the world. 

Designs like this “eco over ego” graphic help draw attention to an important message and work as a great conversation starter. They’re also a way to align yourself with a cause and help show who you are without saying it out loud.

Think about the causes you want to support and let your design reflect that. To make your design and text stand out even more, remember to explore different fonts for t-shirts. 

a white shirt with black text on it

Source: Adidas

2. Humor

It’s well-known that laughter is the best medicine, but it’s also good for design inspiration! Think of catchphrases, puns, or jokes that put a smile on your face, and turn it into a funny t-shirt. 

For your designs, pick themes based on your interests. For example, yoga lovers will enjoy this funny cartoon-style design with a twist on traditional yoga poses. 

Or go for a pun that’s a play on words and will appeal to those who love a good one-liner, like “Mountains aren’t just funny. They’re hill areas.”

3. Animals

Are you a fan of animal print? Put a spin on popular leopard and zebra prints, or make a custom pattern like this all-over cheetah print. It’s eye-catching and would be the perfect addition to any whimsical wardrobe.

Animal lovers will also enjoy a graphic design tee with a custom illustration of their favorite animal, like this cool-looking zebra rocking a pair of black shades. Picking an animal as the main design element is also a great t-shirt design choice for kids, so consider offering this in different sizes.

4. Fantasy

Designs with mythical creatures are having a moment thanks to popular games, books, and TV shows. Explore this cool trend by featuring dragons, werewolves, or other fantasy creatures as your main design element. 

Imagine wearing it for game night or while watching fantasy adventure films with friends. A mythical fire-breathing beast printed on a dark-colored t-shirt would also be perfect for Halloween.

mythical tshirt design

Source: Etsy

5. Vintage

Vintage goes hand in hand with nostalgic, retro designs that are great for evoking a particular mood. Are you a fan of the Roaring ’20s or perhaps lovin’ an ’80s groove? Think of patterns, colors, and typography that reflect the style you’re going for, and let that inspire you to create your own unique designs.

If you’re interested in vintage fashion or like taking trips down memory lane, throwback designs will be a good fit for you. Vintage t-shirt designs would also make a great outfit choice for themed events, like a 1920s party.

6. Collage

Creating a collage is a cool way to mix and match parts of different images to come up with a quirky, original design. You can use free online tools like BeFunky or paid software like Photoshop to layer photos, text, and illustrations. Just ensure that all the source material you use is compliant with copyright regulations

Whether you’re an art buff who wants to get creative with illustrations or just want to have fun experimenting, this is a fresh t-shirt design idea that’ll definitely showcase your imagination.

Need inspiration? Check out this collage design, where vintage images come to life when combined with custom illustrations.

collage tshirt design idea

Source: Etsy

7. Cyberpunk

If you’d like to hop on a t-shirt design trend, check out the cyberpunk aesthetic. It’s a street fashion style that features futuristic elements related to cyberspace, science, and technology. It draws inspiration from the rapid tech innovations in modern life. 

For cyberpunk-inspired clothing, go for a limited number of bold colors. For example, choose a dark background with purple, blue, or neon print. Make sure to include some tech terms like “hardware,” “data,” and “reset.” 

This style will appeal to people who are into tech and enjoy watching futuristic sci-fi movies like Blade Runner and The Matrix. Or anyone who appreciates contemporary design trends and wants to get noticed.

tech tshirt design

Source: Asos

8. Comic strips

When thinking of alternative designs, comic strip t-shirts are a creative choice. Comic book designs strike a balance between creative writing and illustrations and can evoke popular illustrated books and graphic novels. It’s a good gift idea for a teenager who loves reading comic books or enjoys a particular character.

Comic strips are super customizable with elements like speech bubbles, font style, icons, and character illustrations. The best part? You can make your own comic strip designs with online tools like Canva or Creately.

comic print tshirt design

Source: Etsy 

Cute t-shirt design ideas

In terms of style, you might notice a more minimalist approach (less is more) and a toned-down color palette with these tees. Lots of minimalist designs right now draw inspiration from nature, typography, geometry, and art. So explore some cute t-shirt ideas that are gaining momentum and see what best reflects your personal style. 

9. Plants

If you’re looking to add some greenery to your life and wardrobe, go for a houseplant or flower design to make the most of plant-inspired trends this season. 

Whether flowers are the focus of your design or just a garnish, they’re a great way to add intricacy to any design. Flowers and botanical illustrations showcase beauty, our natural world, and growth. 

Monstera leaf pattern has become a trend in interior design, but you don’t have to stop there. A fresh green color paired with a decorative leaf pattern looks just as good on a t-shirt.

If you’re keen to experiment with even more plant-inspired designs, we’ve covered more fun custom sticker design ideas in our blog.

10. Typography 

Looking for a cute style with a graphic design twist? Typography and lettering are your friends. 

With hundreds of fonts out there, pick your favorite and highlight the beauty of the written word.

For inspiration, check out this bold black-and-white design celebrating the letter “a.” Or go all in and play with the whole alphabet by adding cozy seasonal elements like this autumnal A to Z design, perfect for a teacher or a parent looking to teach the alphabet in style.

11. Coffee and tea lovers

For many of us, early mornings start with a cup of our favorite caffeinated drink. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a tea or coffee lover or want to publicly proclaim your own affection for it, a cute t-shirt is the answer.

Anyone who appreciates a hot cup of coffee can seek inspiration from this cartoonish design with coffee poured into a joyous cup. The fun graphics with big, bold fonts capture the excitement of a fresh cup of joe while also paying homage to the retro diner aesthetic.

And tea lovers don’t have to look too far for a pun—check out this design with a smiling teabag and the phrase “it’s a tea shirt.”

12. Minimalist

The sleek minimalist look will appeal to those who prefer a more understated style that shows love for simplicity. Even a simple line drawing can deliver a cute message, like this continuous line drawing of a heart in gilded tones. 

Minimalist designs can also be playful. For example, this imperfect circle is a clever way to reshape a geometric design. What’s more, it subtly elevates a classic white tee.

13. Geometric patterns

Patterns naturally add visual interest, and different geometric shapes (triangles, circles, cubes) are easy and fun to experiment with. The geometric style is versatile, can be worn by everyone, and is great for all ages.

To create your own design, go for stylized geometric shapes and symmetry, or choose a pattern from our Design Maker.

geometric pattern tshirt design

Source: Printful

 

14. Painted designs

A fun way to make your design stand out is to seek inspo from art techniques—watercolor, oil painting, charcoal, or pencil drawing. 

You can get the painted effect by going for an artsy design like this watercolor cat illustration. Or highlight bold paint strokes and make the painting process the primary design element.

Whichever direction you choose, expressing your idea with an artistic twist will help create an eye-catching t-shirt design.

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Business t-shirt design ideas

Branded clothing for work can help build a sense of community, whether at work or during team-building events. If you want to leave a positive impression on partners and customers, we’ve gathered some easy ways to create custom designs for your business.

Read also: 8 Effective T-Shirt Ads (And Why They Work)

A simple way to reap the benefits of branded company shirts is to design a t-shirt with your company logo. To get started, you can use our free Design Maker to place your business logo on a t-shirt and pick the best placement. 

A large logo will stand out when printed across the chest, but for a more subtle look, you could print the logo on a t-shirt sleeve. With lots of colors and fits to choose from, try to experiment to see what best reflects your business and what your team and customers could relate to.

business tshirts

Source: Printful

16. Mission statement or slogan

If you want to increase employee motivation and solidarity, how about printing your company values or mission on a t-shirt? 

Slogans are also great reminders of your brand, and custom t-shirts work well as gifts to celebrate milestones. Check out this t-shirt design inspired by Apple, reminding you to be unique and think outside the box.

apple inspired t shirt design

Source: Supergraphictees

17. Motivation

If you’re self-employed or run a small business, sometimes you might need a little bit of motivation. For times like these, have a t-shirt on hand with inspirational text that sparks enthusiasm and gets you back to the business owner mindset, like this simple yet effective text: “Remember your why.”

motivational t shirt design

Source: Etsy

18. Celebrating small businesses

Running a small business comes with challenges, but why not amplify all the good things a local business can bring to a community?

Spread the word about celebrating small businesses with a shirt encouraging customers to shop locally. For example, tap into the small business market and create a t-shirt design that’s all about supporting local businesses.

support your local business tshirt design

Source: Etsy

Embroidered t-shirt design ideas

Embroidery is the perfect design addition to a simple t-shirt if you’re into a minimalist look and are enamored with intricate detailing. It is chic and elegant, plus more texture than a regular print. 

Embroidered details will also appeal to anyone with a neutral wardrobe looking for a pop of color. They’re fun embellishments to t-shirts for all ages. Read on for a selection of trendy and timeless embroidered t-shirt designs.

19. Floral embroidery designs

Flowers are among the most popular embroidery designs and have been for years. That said, there are loads of ways to stand out with original floral motifs.

If your t-shirt has a pocket, play around with wildflower designs, like these blooming flowers in light pink, red, and lilac. 

From year to year, different flowers go in and out of trend. If you’d like to tap into the current floral embroidery trends, go for sunflowers, daisies, and flower bucket arrangements.

20. Emojis

Simple, minimalist icons are a great choice for embroidery designs. With hundreds of emojis available for your design inspiration, it’s a trend worth exploring.

Think about which icons fit well with your style or your brand. If you’re seeking a gift for a loved one, design a cute t-shirt with a heart-eye emoji.

emoji embroidered tshirt

Source: Etsy

21. Art

The practice of embroidery is part of a long-standing tradition for folk artists. So, no wonder artwork is still a great source of inspiration for modern designs.

Pick your favorite artwork or think of a famous artist, and let that inspire your own design. Intricate embroidery like this portrait of artist Frida Kahlo will surely be a hit with art and design lovers.

embroidered frida kahlo shirt

Source: Etsy

22. Food

Foodies, this one’s for you! Create a fun, minimalist design with a dessert or snack that’s close to your heart. 

Here are some trendy favorites, spanning different food groups and meals:

  • Desserts: Ice cream, cupcakes, or a slice of lemon pie

  • Carbs: Croissants, spaghetti, pretzels, and small embroidered fries 

  • Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, and avocado

23. Cities and travel destinations

Are you a fan of the hustle and bustle of large cities? Then why not look to New York, London, or Paris for inspiration? Picture where you’d like to go for a trip and ease your travel bug with a nod to some iconic landmarks, like this embroidered t-shirt with the Paris skyline.

If you’d like a fun, colorful embroidery design, check out this stamp from Tokyo (bonus points for having embroidered sushi!). It’s great for showing appreciation for different cultures or highlighting cities you love or would like to explore.

24. For kids

Bright, cheerful embroidery is a fun way to add personality to a simple white t-shirt. Pick a classic kids’ favorite, like a ladybug, or go for a text-based design saying “Cool kid” or “Cutie.”

Embroidery can also be very practical. For example, you can personalize your child’s initials on a t-shirt sleeve. That way, it won’t get lost when mixed with other kids’ stuff during a sleepover or summer camp.

ladybug embroidered tshirt idea

Source: Etsy

If you’d like to explore more options, here’s a glimpse of cute icons for some kid-friendly designs from our Design Maker:

School t-shirt design ideas

School is not just about learning—it’s also about expressing yourself and your creativity. From kids in elementary school to high school seniors, everybody can benefit from a custom t-shirt that shows off their personality. 

If you’re searching for design inspo that highlights your passion for learning, helps with motivation, and sparks the imagination, read on for some fun school t-shirt design ideas.

25. Elementary school

When the back-to-school season is upon you, give the gift of motivation and inspiration to show up and have fun at school every day.

The popular idea is to mark the first hundred days of the school year and celebrate in style like this dinosaur-themed shirt happily does with the design “I roared through 100 days of school.”

elementary school tshirt design idea

Source: Etsy

26. High school

A high school senior might also want a little motivation to keep going, so why not gift a shirt with “Senior 2023” on it? It’ll make them proud of how far they’ve come! Don’t forget to add a little graduation cap or other cute reminders for students gearing up to graduate.

school senior tshirt design

Source: Etsy

27. College

Show off your college pride or make a statement about the rollercoaster that is college life. Popular designs often include college mascots, campus landmarks, or humorous takes on the college experience like “Surviving on Ramen and Coffee.”

Consider designing the tee with majors like “Future Doctor” or “Art History Buff.” You can also feature a famous quote from a professor or alum. Either way, it’s a fun and stylish way to express your academic journey.

28. After School Clubs

For casual everyday tees, look into themed after-school club designs. Is your child into photography, theater, or perhaps a chemistry whiz? Put their interests front and center by highlighting them on a t-shirt. 

For some design inspo, check out these cute ideas for school t-shirts:

  • A camera with a cute slogan like “Slow Down, Notice Things”

  • “Theatre kid” written across the chest in bold colors

  • Periodic table elements spelling out “Ninja” next to a proton design—perfect for science lovers

29. Teachers

School is not just for kids and teens, it’s also a place for enthusiastic teachers and educators who would gladly rock a t-shirt all about learning. 

Why not go for an inspirational phrase in bold letters when putting together a custom design? Pick a darker background to make the bright shapes and colors stand out. Add some sparkle, and you’ll have something like this t-shirt: “It’s a beautiful day for learning.”

You could also gather all the elements you associate with education (pencils, books, a globe, etc.) to create a heart-shaped design around the word “Teacher.”

Sports team t-shirt design ideas 

Sports team t-shirts are typically made for fans to show their support and solidarity. But sometimes players and coaches also wear fun team t-shirts to represent their team. If you’re looking for fresh ideas beyond your team’s name and logo, we’ve got you covered.

30. Basketball teams

Are you searching for basketball t-shirt design ideas for school practices, basketball summer camps, or gym sessions with friends? Here’s some design inspo:

  • Iconic sports moments—famous stops, blocks, or crazy dunks

  • Motivational quotes by a player you look up to (see a quote by Lebron James on a tee below)

  • Design a team mascot

  • Make a championship trophy your central design element

  • Game day vibes for a positive mindset

31. Soccer teams

Designing a team mascot is a great way to personalize your soccer team’s t-shirts. It can be simple and focus on representing the team spirit. For example, this t-shirt highlights the brave lion as Cincinnati’s team mascot. Although fierce in the wild, lions as mascots are often big softies with a kind spirit and make for a cute soccer t-shirt design idea.

If you’re seeking a tee that stands out, go for a typography design in the shape of a soccer player. Feel free to customize it with word associations of your choice (coach, free kick, goal, sport, etc.).

32. Volleyball teams

Are you into volleyball but out of ideas for a volleyball t-shirt design? 

Whether you’re an avid player or enjoy the occasional game with friends, show off your volleyball skills with a custom design. For example, check out this twist on the classic evolution of humanity design with a great final volleyball save. But if your serves are better than your saves, consider a cheeky statement t-shirt like this: “If you want a soft serve, go get ice cream.”

Whichever direction you take, that’ll be a good fit for beach volleyball or indoor volleyball players looking to show off their love of the game.

33. Hockey teams

Celebrate your passion for hockey with a custom t-shirt design. Capture iconic moments like epic goals or legendary saves to create an eye-catching look. Alternatively, consider using unique hockey phrases like “Puck Life” or jersey numbers of famous players for a personalized touch. From NHL fanatics to local league supporters, these designs are sure to resonate with the hockey community.

Like the other sports, a team mascot can add personality and charm to your hockey t-shirt, uniting fans and players alike.

Family t-shirt design ideas

A custom family t-shirt design is a great way to create a lasting keepsake that reminds you of the good times spent with your family. It’s also an excellent way to celebrate special occasions like family reunions or Mother’s Day. Explore some ideas that cherish family bonds and will be a good fit for celebratory moments.

34. Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day, think about creating a t-shirt that celebrates the special bond between a mother and child. For example, turn your childhood drawings into an adorable t-shirt design! The example below shows how to bring children’s drawings to life in a cute way. 

Learn more: 55 Mom Shirt Ideas for the Best Moms in the World

Another interesting design choice is including childrens’ names with a nod to their birth months, for example, adding a matching flower corresponding to the month they were born.

35. Father’s Day

Personalized Father’s Day t-shirt designs can make a thoughtful gift and spread love on this special day. 

Below, we’ve gathered a few quick dad shirt design ideas to try out:

  • A humorous quote or phrase, or simply #dadlife

  • Graphic design elements that celebrate their interests or hobbies, like a favorite sports team or a gaming reference

  • A photo or illustration of a memorable activity or shared experience

36. Siblings

Going for a matching gift for a brother and sister? He-said, she-said kind of messages can make for an awesome gift, like this “She did it! He did it!” matching t-shirt design. Similarly, shirts like “Big Bro” and “Little Sis” are perfect as a gift for baby showers that’ll make for darling sibling pictures. 

37. Family reunions

Family reunions are all about having a good time, catching up with family members, and making new memories.

If your family has a crest or coat of arms, consider using that as the basis for your t-shirt design. This would be a great way to honor your family’s heritage and history. Don’t have one? Try your hand at designing it yourself!

Family reunions can also be a great time to rep the meaning of family with a phrase that captures its essence, like “Family—where life begins and love never ends.”

family tshirt design

Source: Etsy

Seasonal t-shirt design ideas

Make the most of the changing seasons and let upcoming holidays inspire fun t-shirt design ideas. Holidays are also the time when lots of people are looking for the perfect gift. Below, we’ve gathered some seasonal inspiration for you to start designing and be ready for all occasions.

38. Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love and affection, so why not showcase that in a themed design?

Red, pink, and white are popular colors associated with Valentine’s Day, so try starting there. Next, think of including a classic symbol of love, like a little heart or delicate flowers, or perhaps both! That would be nice for a matching couple’s design too.

If you’re going for a more playful way to celebrate love, create a design featuring an iconic couple: Romeo and Juliet, Bonnie and Clyde, or even Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

a man and woman wearing matching t-shirts

Source: Etsy

39. St. Patrick’s Day

When spring comes around, it’s time for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations all around the world. If you want to capture the fun of the holiday with a nod to Irish heritage, we’ve got a few t-shirt ideas for you:

  • A classic design featuring a shamrock or clover, the symbol of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day

  • A funny image featuring a leprechaun or a pot of gold

  • A design featuring a traditional Irish symbol or motif like the Celtic knot

40. Easter

For an Easter or spring-themed t-shirt design, you could either go all out using bright colors or opt for light pastel shades; both reflect the joy and renewal of the season and are often used in spring-inspired designs. 

If you’re up for having fun or inspirational phrases, think of something like “April showers bring May flowers” or the more Easter-appropriate “I’m eggcited!” Make sure to include a nod to popular Easter symbols like bunnies, eggs, and blooming flowers.

41. 4th of July

The 4th of July is a day of celebration and national pride for many Americans. For your celebratory t-shirt designs, start by considering what elements are most closely associated with this holiday. 

Here are some ideas for bold and eye-catching designs:

  • Slogans or phrases that reflect the spirit of the 4th of July, like “Celebrate America”

  • Creative graphics or illustrations that capture the essence of many 4th of July celebrations, like fireworks, flags, the Statue of Liberty, or other patriotic symbols

  • Incorporate the American flag into your design in a prominent way using bright, patriotic colors or graphic elements like stars and stripes.

a woman wearing a t-shirt with a picture of stars

Source: Printful

42. Halloween

Keep it classy for the spookiest season of the year, and incorporate popular Halloween symbols like bats, skeletons, or cobwebs into your design.

For something a little more intricate, try creating a design featuring a classic horror movie character, like Frankenstein’s monster or the Mummy. For a lighthearted take on the holiday, think of a playful pun, like “Boo-tiful” or “Ghost busters.”  Whatever design you choose, make sure it captures the spooky fun of Halloween.

Looking for more inspo? Check out our blog for ​​12 Halloween Shirt Ideas to Creep It Real

43. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family and be grateful, so think of a message you’d like to convey through your design. It’s also about delicious food!

If you want to focus on the family gathering aspect of Thanksgiving, create a t-shirt featuring a group of people gathered around a table or all the food traditionally served on Thanksgiving.

You could also create a design that captures the essence of the holiday without even mentioning Thanksgiving in particular. A shirt featuring falling leaves, pumpkins, or other fall-themed imagery is a subtle way to celebrate the season.

44. Christmas

For a Christmas-themed t-shirt design, go for a playful and festive feel that captures the joy and magic of the holiday season. One of the directions to take could be picking a central focus, such as a Christmas tree or a snowman, and adding holiday-themed elements like mistletoe, snowflakes, and twinkling stars. 

You can never go wrong with the white, red, and green color scheme, with splashes of gold and silver to add some shimmer and shine. Think of including a festive saying like “Merry and Bright” or “Let it snow!” 

Overall, pick a design that’ll help spread Christmas cheer and celebrate the cozy holiday season in style.

45. Birthdays

Many birthday t-shirt design ideas feature quirky birthday sayings like “I can’t keep calm, it’s my birthday” or “Age isn’t a number—it’s a state of mind.”

But if you’re looking for ways to change it up, design a t-shirt with a zodiac sign or highlight your birth year. That’ll be a good fit for your birthday party but can also be worn year-round.

Hobby t-shirt design ideas

You can make t-shirts for whatever you’re up to—be it camping in the woods or cooking your favorite meal. Let the design reflect your interests, and you’ll have something to wear whenever it’s time for your favorite activity.

46. Camping

Spread your love of the outdoors by rocking a t-shirt that celebrates being out in nature.

A minimalist design with camping graphics will put you in the mood to reconnect with nature, pitch a tent, and cook over an open fire. That’s a good fit for anyone with an adventurous spirit—wear it camping with friends or keep it as a reminder to plan your next outdoor adventure.

camping hobby tshirt design

Source: Asos

47. Photography

Camera lovers unite! Ready for a custom t-shirt that’ll show your passion for photography? If you’re usually the person behind the camera lens, a themed t-shirt will also ensure your talent gets attention. 

To connect with fellow photographers, pick a design that’ll spark conversations about lens selection, tripods, and the best photo equipment. 

If you’d prefer to highlight why taking photos is a fantastic hobby, go for a more funky, experimental design with descriptive text like “Capturing moments.”

48. Cooking

Chefs and home cooks alike will appreciate custom t-shirt designs that show their love for cooking. 

Just as coming up with new delicious recipes gets your creative juices flowing, make sure to explore offbeat food and cooking hallmarks for your designs. Experiment with graphics, font, and different layouts. And, of course, include elements like cooking utensils, ovenware, cutlery, and your favorite foods!

cooking hobby tshirt design

Source: Etsy

49. The beach

Loose-fitting t-shirts and sandy beaches are a perfect match. So, for the summer weather, seek design inspiration from beachwear—lots of bright colors, palm trees, and surfboards. 

Comfy t-shirts will also be great for physical activities like playing volleyball or running on the beach. A chill retro surfboard print shows your appreciation for sand, sun, and adventure, so it’d be a good fit for anyone who appreciates a laid-back lifestyle.

50. Gaming

Take your love of games to the next level and create a tee all about gaming. If you have some favorites that never go out of style, why not rep those games with a cool t-shirt design?

You can also design a t-shirt that gets you into gaming mode whenever you sit down with a controller. Even if you don’t play video games yourself, that’ll be a fun gift for a teenager or the gamer in your life.

gaming tshirt design

Source: Etsy

51. Reading

T-shirts are great for evoking a particular mood. When it comes to reading, you probably think of a relaxed environment perfect for picking up a book and engrossing yourself in a story. Check out this simple t-shirt with “Books, coffee, rain” that’ll be a real treat for anyone who’s sure to cuddle up with a good book on a rainy day.

Another way to get inspired by books is to make them the centerpiece of your design. Are you an avid reader with shelves full of books? Be proud and make a statement about your love for reading. For example, this “Book rescue” t-shirt celebrates having a big collection of books.

52. Music

Music lovers and festival-goers are sure to have t-shirts with their favorite bands on them. But imagine having a custom print that shows your passion for music and can be rocked at a concert or a music-themed pub quiz night. 

If you’re going for a statement shirt, think of a phrase that feels on-brand for you. For example, “Concerts are my happy place” can instantly bring back memories of awesome shows.

Maybe you’re into playing music and want to share your excitement about it? This funky t-shirt with loads of colorful guitar illustrations is a great t-shirt design inspiration for a gung-ho guitar player or anyone who wants to pick up an instrument.

53. Astronomy

Unleash your inner stargazer with an astronomy-themed t-shirt design that captures the awe and wonder of the cosmos. Consider featuring celestial bodies like planets, stars, and constellations in colors that evoke the vastness of outer space.

Whether you’re an amateur astronomer or love gazing up at the night sky, such a t-shirt design idea could serve as both a conversation starter and a personal statement of your cosmic curiosity. Even if you’re not into astronomy yourself, this celestial tee makes an inspiring gift for the skywatcher.

a woman sitting on a white bench

Source: Printful

54. Fitness

Embrace your passion for an active lifestyle with a fitness-focused t-shirt that motivates you and others around you. For your design, use bold text, dynamic shapes, or even illustrations of gym equipment or athletes in action to energize the design.

Whether you’re a gym rat, a yoga enthusiast, or someone who loves to keep moving, a well-designed fitness tee can serve as both workout gear and a lifestyle statement. Even if you’re not into fitness, a motivational tee like this can make a thoughtful gift for the active one in your life.

55. Wellness

Wellness is more than just physical health; it combines mind, body, and spirit. Channel this holistic approach into a t-shirt design that radiates positivity. Consider using soothing colors, symbols of peace, or even motivational quotes that promote mental well-being.

This tee could be your go-to for meditation sessions, spa days, or simply unwinding after a long week. It’s not only a style statement but also a constant reminder to prioritize self-care. Gift it to a friend who’s into mindfulness or wellness, or keep it for yourself as an encouragement to live your best life.

56. Language

For the lovers of languages and wordplay, designs featuring famous idioms, puns in different languages, or even the phonetic alphabet could be engaging. “Polyglot and Proud” or “Word Nerd” could be fun taglines.

Consider featuring text in various languages for a global twist. It’s the perfect way to spark conversations and connect with fellow linguaphiles wherever you go.

language design t shirt

Source: Etsy

Feeling inspired but need some support to get started? Below, we’ve gathered some top tips to set you up for success.

How to come up with creative t-shirt design ideas in 3 steps

When deciding on a t-shirt design idea, first picture the occasion when you’d like to wear the tee or what kind of design potential customers might enjoy. Then, research design ideas and trends to get your creative juices flowing. 

Follow these 3 simple steps below, and you’ll come up with the perfect fit in no time! 

1. Understand your niche

Before you get to designing, think about whether you’re making the shirt for yourself or others. If it’s the latter, reflect on who you’ll sell to and identify your niche. Your designs should appeal to your target audience.

If you’re having trouble finding a niche, think of what you’re knowledgeable about. Hobbies, events, specific interests, or anything else that has the potential to draw the attention of a community can become your niche market.

For more ideas, take a look at our blog post on How to Find a Niche for Your Online Store​​.

2. Do your research on t-shirt designs

With direction and ideas in mind, it’s time to create your custom t-shirt designs. That’s easier said than done, so first, ask yourself what’s trending in the design world right now? You want your store to be fresh and current. Second, review the list of ideas above and see which ones spark your creativity and urge you to start designing.

3. Take advantage of online resources

If you’re already a design pro, you know how to create your t-shirt designs. Get started using Photoshop or these Photoshop alternatives.

But if you’re not a seasoned designer just yet, executing your ideas can be a challenge. Luckily, you’ll find plenty of help online. Below, we discuss design tools and tips to keep in mind.

Tips for DTG designs

T-shirts are universal—almost everybody owns at least one. But there are lots of different cuts, styles, and fabrics to choose from. Here’s our advice on how to pick the right t-shirt for your DTG (direct-to-garment) print design.

Pick the perfect t-shirt model

The style of t-shirt you choose in part depends on your niche. Is your target audience interested in an affordable basic? Then opt for a Gildan. Are they style-oriented? Then go with a fashion-forward Bella + Canvas.

Other key factors to consider:

  • Are you selling to men or women?

  • Does your audience prefer loose- or tight-fitting tees?

  • What price range do they expect?

  • What colors are trendy?

Read more: Top 7 Quality T-Shirts for Your Store

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Keep print file guidelines in mind

Pay close attention to Printful’s print file guidelines before creating your designs. They’re a little different for each product, but these are some basic rules to follow:

  • Submit your design files to Printful in PNG or JPG.

  • Your designs should be at least 150 DPI (dots per inch). Anything smaller and your design will look pixelated when printed.

  • Make sure all of your elements are opaque. DTG printing doesn’t work well with see-through designs, so your colors should be solid.

Use our Design Maker’s mockup feature to get an idea of how your product will look, but remember that what you see on screen won’t always look exactly the same when printed in real life. Order samples with 20% off to test your designs before selling them to customers.

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Final takeaways

From bold graphics and typography to vintage-inspired illustrations, there are endless possibilities for designing the perfect t-shirt. The key is knowing your target audience and what they’ll respond to while staying true to your personal brand.

Consider the trends that are popular at the moment and how you can put your spin on them. Remember the importance of color and composition, and don’t forget to explore the best t-shirts for printing. That’ll greatly impact the overall look and feel of your design. Think about the layout, fonts, and graphics and how it all comes together to form a cohesive design.

Whether you’re looking to make a t-shirt for a specific occasion or want to add new clothing items to your store, have a go at designing a t-shirt that stands out. Be bold with your design, and have fun with it!

Read Next: 7 T-Shirt Design Trends for 2023

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By Sandra Ķempele on Sep 18, 2023

Sandra Ķempele

Guest author

Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.

Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.