I’ve compiled the top 13 trends for graphic T-shirts 2020. Most of the trends identified show up on multiple lists from designers and are popular t-shirts for men and women. Funny t-shirts, Bold Statements, Mountains, Rainbows, Left-aligned text, and Handwritten topography are common among all the list from the experts for the most popular t-shirt trends of 2020. These are the trends that should be popular well into 2020 and some may even go beyond. I think social messaging will continue to be a medium to trumpet causes, protest, and even call for unity and love. I can’t see that going away. Inspirational words and saying will always have a place on our t-shirts. As a new t-shirt maker and seller, it was important that I had representative samplings in my offerings to give my customers what they wanted and what was on-trend. I tried to be original in my interpretations of the trends and designs.
Without further delay, (drum roll please…) here is the 2020 list of top graphic T-shirt design trends:
Bold Statements according to Place it, is a super-hot trend for 2020. And they say it’s all about the message. You can advocate, strike a funny tone, use of typography but at the end of the day, the message is king. They state it can be related to a current topic or news or social cause. The bottom line, they say is, just make sure the message is bold enough to get the attention you want. My interpretation of the Bold Statement trend is the Social Distancing t-shirt, advising we should stay back 6 feet to save lives. Its minimalist but it’s hard to make a more bold statement.
Rainbow Words add interest and energy to text, according to the blog post the Bon-fire, 20 T-shirt Design Trends for 2020. They state these can be playful and feminine and that you can change the mood with just playing with the color palette. I didn’t play much in this space, but I do have a few designs that come to mind that could use an injection of fun and color. I will certainly be using this trend on designs as we move into spring and transition into summer. As for current designs that fall into the trend, I think the Taco Tuesday T-shirt infuses just enough color to qualify, but future iterations of this popular t-shirt will be a more obvious rainbow.
Inspirational words were my favorite to design, the Bon-fire blog proclaims that inspirational quotes aren’t just or iPhone wallpaper anymore, and they encourage anyone to wear them out. I say, find your voice and scream it to the world. Bon-fire says that this trend is very popular in the adoption community. I say, a t-shirt can be the start of a conversation, a conversation can be the start of a movement, and movement can first inspire, then it can change the world. In this world that’s dominated by social media, one viral share of a t-shirt can be the kindling needed to spark a fire.
I did my best to try to pick vehicles for my messages that would inspire, this is often a hard task to pick something thought-provoking enough and provocative enough to engage the reader, but not so alienating that its message isn’t received. Inspired by COVID-19 and the partisan ugliness in the aftermath, the Be A Good Human –shirt was born. It is simplistic and beautiful with the flower at the center.
Floral Designs are white-hot trend-wise. According to Place it’s, 9 T-shirt Designs for the spring of 2020 the floral design has a calming esthetic that is reminiscent of spring. Place it says that these floral can be the base for other design elements and can be also used to embellish typography based designs. I did just that with the We Are All In This Together T-shirt, Tank, and Hoodie. I thought this had a feminine design quality to it, but the hoodie has been surprisingly popular among urban males. I also used the oft overused IDK IDC IDGAF and gave it a refresher and toned down the hash, saying with a floral base.
I absolutely loved the Artwork on t-shirts design trend. I had a blast playing with this. I took a photo, put it through one of those Obama Hope filters, and combined several trends. I made a bold statement on the current events overshadowing our country and used art to help drive that message home. The article, Designs 4screens posted talks about artist jumping in on the t-shirt bandwagon. Photographers, visual artists, and even painters and sketches are using this medium.
Animal Portraits can be fun and trendy or your actual pets. Bonfire.com cites it may be because of the rise of animal influencers of Instagram and other social media. These trends have manifested themselves in the likeness of celebrities. They go on to say designers create large stylized portraits of dogs, cats turtles, cows, and just about every conceivable animal. I found this adorable Pug dog and jumped right on this trend. This should melt the heart of any self-respecting fur-mom.
Rainbows according to the blog Bonfire, evoke joy, hope, and wonder. Many designers pair them with inspirational words. Admittedly, I don’t have any Rainbows in my portfolio. But look to see rainbows coming from me, in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Mountains are another missing piece from my assortment. Mountains are hugely symbolic, they represent challenges, goal setting, and achieving them according to the Bonfire blog. Designs 4 had a similar take, they stated the wonder of mountains and the various ways they can be drawn or represented artistically makes them a favorite selection for t-shirt designs. Look for some mountains in the near future, they fit the esthetic I am going for, and would work well with positive messaging for goals and achieving them.
My Favorites, all things Carole Baskins and Tiger King are pop and cultural phenomenon. I’m convinced the quarantine from COVID-19 played heavily into this popularity of this documentary. I know I wouldn’t have watched if I could go out freely. Tiger King was like watching a train wreck in slow motion, knowing how it was going to end. I had a blast playing with Carole and Joe Exotic. I used tee’s, tanks, and hoodies for these designs. I may have gone overboard on it with That Bitch Carole Baskin, Carole Baskin’s Husband Tasted Greeat, and Joe Exotic for President in 2020.
Left-Aligned Text is a great way to stylize a design. I love the look of the aligned text, it grabs the eye. Bonfire, says This technique works well with text-only designs because it adds some intentionality to the text placement. My, I’m a Nurse, I can’t stay at home is one of my favorites in the Left-aligned styles.
Repeated Text Designs are a hot trend. The geniuses at Design for Screens sum it up perfectly, repeating your message is a great way to get your point across. The repeated text is an esthetic you can nail if you aren’t super savvy with design, according to Design for Screens. And I agree 100%, this trend was one of my first to attempt. My Pew Pew Pew T-shirts are simple but eye-catching.
Minimalist designs play off of that less is more adage. Some of my favorite designs are minimalistic. Designs 4 blog, nailed it, when they said, Minimalistic, basic typography designs are very popular. Just say what needs to be said, boldly, and clearly. Typography design allows for inspirational, motivational, or funny messages to be conveyed creatively through text. It’s always on-trend and a best seller. I love my Boob minimalist design shown below.
In Conclusion, 2020 has been a rough year by anybody’s standards but I believe we can get through this. I have used t-shirts as a sort of therapy, they make me smile, make me feel uplifted, or provide a much needed, deep belly laugh. I think these trends are just what the doctor ordered and have the ability to unite, make us feel deeply. Good design makes us emote and have a visceral reaction. At the end of the day, these graphic design trends of 2020 are powerful and have the healing properties, of positivity, love, laughter, and make bold social statements that serve to enlighten, educate or push us to action. 2020 is a good time to be a t-shirt because t-shirts aren’t just ratty old items we throw on to cut the grass on Sunday’s anymore. I hope my designs speak to your senses and move you, enjoy them and wear them in love, the spirit in which they were designed. May you wear them boldly, and deliberately.