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Custom Ink’s Products & Trends for 2021


2021 is finally here and not a moment too soon! Our priorities have shifted a bit over the past year, and now we’re focusing a lot more on comfort, connection, and looking good for that video call—not to mention making sure we have the right masks—and as we look to the future, tech, sustainability, and USA-made products are categories we want to make sure we keep our eyes on. 

We turned to our experts to tell us exactly what we should know about the new products and trends for 2021 and put it all together just for you. So, whether you’re promoting your business, creating custom gear for your teams, keeping your school connected, or making someone special feel special, creating custom gear with the right products can ensure that you make something everyone will love.

HOTTEST TREND OF 2021: COMFORT

This past year has definitely reminded us of the comfort of being comfortable. With more people working from home than ever before, across the country people are hanging up their suits and hanging out in sweats. We’ve pulled a few of our faves.

Softest T-shirt: District Tri-Blend T-shirt

Softness is important when it comes to t-shirts. Whether you’re working from home, an essential worker, or just trying to catch a break, you need to be comfortable in your day to day, but if you’re doing a lot of your shopping online it might be tough to tell what’s actually the softest. That’s where the District Tri-Blend T-shirt comes in. The perfect combo of poly/combed ringspun and cotton/rayon, this super smooth t-shirt has a tear-away neck label so you can eliminate any irritation and relax. Plus, the cut is one that everyone looks great in, so not only will you and your crew feel good, but you’ll look good too.

Best Sweatshirts: District V.I.T. Pullover Hoodie & District Women’s Perfect Weight Cropped Crewneck Sweatshirt

It’s a tie between the District V.I.T. Pullover Hoodie and District Women’s Perfect Weight Cropped Crewneck Sweatshirt. Both are affordable without sacrificing quality and comfort. If cozy softness is something that you prize, try the pullover. If you want a more hip fit, check out the crop.

Coziest Coats: Carhartt Duck Detroit Jacket & Stormtech Women’s Bushwick Quilted Jacket

Comfort doesn’t have to stop the minute you step outside. We like to keep warm in the tough-as-nails Carhartt Duck Detroit Jacket ready for the jobsite and the iconic Stormtech Women’s Bushwick Quilted Jacket whose flattering fit provides the perfect balance between style and function.

WORK FROM HOME ESSENTIALS FOR 2021

Parked in front of a computer all day away from the prying eyes of co-workers, we can all gain a little space to make sure we have what we need to get the job done. For many of us that means sweatpants and blankets.

Best Sweatpants: Champion Double Dry Eco

Video calls have significantly changed our requirements for what’s acceptable work attire. Now, while we need to look professional from the waist up, anything goes for the rest. Sweatpants offer the warmth and flexibility that one needs sitting in front of a computer all day. Our favorite sweatpants this year are the Champion Double Dry Eco Closed Bottom Sweatpants. Heavyweight and eco-friendly, these will quickly become your team’s go-to for all-day comfort.

Must Have Blanket: Port & Company Sweatshirt Blanket

Just like sweatpants, blankets are something that can keep you cozy while working from home. You can go curl up on the couch with your laptop, the dog, and a soft custom blanket and work in comfort. We love the Port & Company Sweatshirt Blanket for its perfect size and snuggly fleece fabric.

2021’s BIGGEST CROWD PLEASERS

Getting your group together looks a little different now than it did a year ago, but we still crave connection and can feel close with custom gear.

Best Group T-shirt: Hanes Authentic T-shirt

Whether you’re hosting a Zoom birthday party or getting gear for your team or co-workers, all your groups can really look and feel like a team in custom t-shirts. And while it’s true that custom t-shirts can bring your people together like nothing else (even when you’re apart), it can be a challenge to choose the right one for everyone. 

We love the Hanes Authentic T-shirt because it comes in an astounding 45 colors, a broad range of sizes, and a comfortable fit all while staying at an affordable price point.

Favorite Hats: ’47 Brand Clean Up Baseball Hat & Carhartt Watch Beanie 2.0

With their universal fit and appeal, hats are a great choice for any group. As far as our favorite hat for 2021, it’s a tie between the ’47 Brand Clean Up Baseball Hat and the Carhartt Watch Beanie 2.0 and we bet you can guess why. Even though you may only have one head, you have different needs for different times. 

Made from garment washed cotton twill, the ‘47 Brand Baseball Hat is bound to keep you feeling—and looking—cool. Its relaxed adjustable fit makes this hat the perfect choice for any of your daily needs including covering up a COVID (non)haircut or showing off your company logo.

The Carhartt Watch Beanie 2.0 is ideal for warding off the winter chill (or just the cool breeze of an overachieving air conditioner) and comes in safety orange and yellow making it a great choice for any teams working outdoors.

Small Group? No Problem.

Maybe you only want to make a few custom pieces. Some of our best products have no minimums! Two of the top options for 2021 are the modern Hanes Nano T-shirt and the classic Hanes Ultimate Heavyweight Pullover Hoodie.

STYLE PROFILE FOR 2021

Just because the world’s gone casual doesn’t mean you have to let yourself go. Self care is also a big trend for 2021, and what’s a better way to take care of yourself and spark a little joy than keeping cute?

Popular Brand: New Era 

There is just so much to love with New Era’s classic sportiness. Whether you’re looking for hats, hoodies, sweatshirts, jackets, polos, or baseball shirts, you can get it all from New Era and know you’ll have a cool quality product you can depend on.

Trendiest Tees: District V.I.T. Collection

There’s something special about having a t-shirt that’s cut just right. To get the latest fits, we turn to District who does a great job of staying on top of all the trends. Check out the entire District V.I.T. collection or get acquainted with a few of our top faves: District V.I.T. T-shirt, District V.I.T. V-Neck T-shirt.

Pattern Trend: Tie-Dye

What’s old is new again. This 70s style had a resurgence in the 90s and now it’s back and cooler than ever with new colors and designs. With its youthful exuberance and surprising color combinations, tie-dye is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Our favorite is the Port & Company Tie-Dye T-shirt, and with its 21 color combinations, you’re bound to find one that matches your team or school colors.

Hottest Tech Accessory: Skullcandy Riff Bluetooth Headphones & Laser Engraved Plank 5,000 mAh Bamboo Wireless Power Bank

A name you trust offers a wonderful way to recognize clients and employees. Add your logo or design to our favorite Skullcandy Riff Bluetooth Headphones to give them something they’ll use—and think of you while they’re doing it.

We’d also like to toss an honorable mention to the Laser Engraved Plank 5,000 mAh Bamboo Wireless Power Bank which is another great option for the gift that keeps on giving.

Breakout Product: Camper Mugs

Indestructible and ready to go, these new faves make it easy to take your drink with you as you move around the house or take it outside on a clear day for a change of scenery.

We love the 14 oz. Ceramic Camper Mug and the slightly larger 16 oz. Speckled Enamel Steel Mug.

Colors of the Year: Illuminating (Yellow) and Ultimate Gray

Pantone picked two colors for their color of the year: Illuminating (a bright, sunny yellow) and Ultimate Gray. They call it a “marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.” That feels pretty right to us after a year of highs and lows like we’ve never seen before.

Worn together, the two colors can bring a purposeful style to your wardrobe. We put together an outfit we think you’ll look marvelous in. Just check out the pieces below and let us be your stylist. You’re welcome.

District V.I.I. Pullover Hoodie in Light Yellow

Russell Athletic Dri Power Closed Bottom Sweatpants in Oxford 

1 oz. Hand Sanitizer in Silicone Holder in Yellow

TOP HEALTH AND WELLNESS FOR 2021

Health and wellness products are still essential to everyday living right now. We still need face shields and face masks and store signage and hand sanitizer. In fact, now is a pretty good time to take stock of what you have, what you need, and what you need to replace when it comes to these items.

Best All-Around Mask: The Super Comfort Cotton Face Mask

Did you know we designed our own mask? Our merch team looked high and low and couldn’t find a mask that had all of their favorite features, so they decided to make one! The Super Comfort Cotton Face Mask has everything! We’ve already spilled quite a bit of ink on this mask, so if you want to learn more, you should check out the interview we did with the mask’s creators. And then head on over to our site and start designing your own because we’re sure once you and your team try these masks, you’ll fall instantly in love.

Favorite Safety Product: Floor Decals

Social distancing—a term we didn’t even know existed this time last year—has become an essential part of our lexicon. Even still, it is important to help set guidelines to help people be safe in stores and other essential businesses. That’s why we’ve chosen Floor Decals as our favorite safety product. Showing people where to stand, where to go, and how to stay at least six feet apart

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: 2021 and Beyond

As the world starts to stabilize, we’re seeing people focus on the importance of sustainability and buying American-made.

Best Sustainable Product: District Re-Fleece Hoodie

We love the District Re-Fleece line as a whole with its 100% recycled materials, but it’s their Hoodie that’s the real standout. If you like to make a statement and an impact on the planet, you can do both by staying sustainable.

The T-shirt of 2021: Royal Apparel USA-Made Organic Eco 50/50 T-shirt

Made in America, eco-friendly, and organic, the Royal Apparel USA-Made Organic Eco 50/50 T-shirt doesn’t sacrifice any style or comfort for its feel-good origins. Dyed using recycled water and low impact dyes that use less water overall, and made from a 50/50 blend of certified organic cotton and polyester made from recycled bottles/plastics you can be sure you’ll set a trend you can feel good about.

AND FINALLY

No roundup would be complete without the top of the top. Our number one of the number ones. We’ve saved this one for last because we love it the best.

Our Overall Staff Pick for 2021: Carhartt

There is a lot to be said about Carhartt with its commitment to quality and durability. Not just for the worksite anymore, Carhartt has expanded its offerings to keep us comfortable indoors and out with everyday hoodies and long sleeve shirts in addition to the solid coats and jackets they’re known for. No matter what group you’re creating custom gear for, they’re sure to be thrilled to get a custom Carhartt with your logo or design.

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2021. Which products are you excited to customize in 2021? Tell us all about in the comments below!


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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