Design Ideas

Custom T-shirt Style Trends for Summer & Beyond

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This post is a playground! All of the designs shown in this post are templates. You can upload your logo, use existing templates, or make your own designs all in our Design Lab. Bottom line: Have fun with it!

The summer’s almost over (I know, I’m having trouble coming to terms with it, too) but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more fun to be had. There’s still a good bit of good weather ahead of us and then it’ll be that inevitable rush through fall into the holiday season and before we know it, it’ll be 2020. We are working on identifying the hottest trends coming up for 2020 now, but in the meantime, our team did some current trend-spotting and came up with some pretty cool observations for us. Read on for some of the coolest t-shirt design trends that are going on right now.

Bold & Bright Colors

bright and bold t-shirt design ideas

Pantone 16-1546 ‘Living Coral’ is the color of the year, and it’s found its way into the design, beauty, and fashion industries in a big way. And we aren’t surprised. This fun color is modern, organic, fresh and so… now. It has a wonderful brightness that will keep you warm well into the cool weather and is still natural enough to wear into fall. We did a whole story on fun, bold, and bright colors for custom t-shirt designs. Check out these “custom t-shirt color combinations” for more inspiration.

Retro Inspired

retro inspired t-shirt design ideas

Whether you are old enough to remember the 1980s and 1990s or not, you probably see their influence all the time in music, entertainment, fashion, and design. The retro look is a big one this season and is represented best through fun fonts, geometric patterns, and evocative color combinations. You can celebrate those decadent decades with loads of t-shirt design templates from our Design Lab or with a design we put together for you like the Tennis one seen above.

Dinosaurs & Space

space and dinosaur t-shirt design ideas

Dinosaurs and space are having a moment right now. It’s kind of poetic, if you think about it, since they are permanently intertwined with the space asteroid being responsible for the end of the dinosaurs’ existence and all. Dinosaurs and space aren’t typically depicted together (but please don’t let that stop you because dino astronauts is an amazing design idea that you should jump on ASAP).

Yet More Retro Nostalgia

retro nostalgia t-shirt design ideas including saved by the bell, cassette tapes, and vinyl records

I’ve mentioned retro designs a couple of times in this post, but I’m going to do it again because it is just that on-trend. While the ones I showed before are more evocative of another era, another take on the retro trend includes designs that are a little more specific and on the nose. Whether they’re inspired by old television show logos like this Saved by the Bell template or designs inspired by vintage objects like vinyl records and cassette tapes. If you don’t know what those are, ask your mom.

Geometric Shapes

geometric t-shirt design ideas

Geometric shapes are also really hot right now, but even though this feels more modern, it is actually a callback to the Art Deco designs of the 1920s. You can see the art deco influence in some of the abstract designs, but they show up in a new way when put together into recognizable shapes like animals, fruits, and plants. You can pair these with our suggested custom t-shirt color combinations for a super fresh look.


Unique Garment Designs

the festival side slit tank

We’re also seeing people branch out beyond the standard t-shirt by customizing products that have some unique design elements. Custom Ink’s product offering covers a lot of interesting and different styles. Some of our favorites are the Festival Side Slit Tank, the Flowy Rolled Cuff T‑shirt, and the Cutter Jersey. Go exploring and you’re bound to find a lot more on your own!

Plays on Pop Culture

pop culture inspired t-shirt design ideas including friends, game of thrones, stranger things, and baby shark

Another thing we’re seeing everywhere these days are fun interpretations of our favorite pieces of pop culture. It’s a great way to show that you’re into two things at once: the pop culture phenomenon you’re nodding to and the reason you made the custom t-shirts. We have lots of fun design templates that help you make your mark on your favorite TV shows (like Stranger Things, Friends, and Game of Thrones), songs (like Baby Shark), and more.

Hand Drawn Elements

hand drawn t-shirt design ideas including mountains, octopus, llama, pineapple, sloth, turtle, cats, and hugging cacti

Hand-drawn art is also really in right now. Cute animals, plants, mountains, trees, octopuses (as seen above) food, or really anything else you can imagine, get even cuter when they’re drawn by hand. We have loads of adorable little doodles just waiting in our Design Lab ready to adorn your next set of custom t-shirts. Hand-lettered fonts go great with that trend. Check out some of our handwritten font templates and you can also look for handwritten fonts in our font library.

So, there you have it. Use these design ideas and you’ll be in with the trends in a big way. And check back in a few weeks for our next story all about the upcoming trends we’re tracking for the winter and holiday season.

Miellyn is the Copy Manager at Custom Ink. Her work has spanned marketing for television networks like TLC and Travel, educational content for Smithsonian and National Geographic, marketing and story for indie video games, essays for publishers including Random House, The Telegraph, and Smart Pop Books, and stories for press outlets like VICE and VH1.

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