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T-Shirt Design Trends for 2019

It’s a new year, and that means new trends in t-shirt design. We’ve looked through our favorite designs that the Bonfire community has been creating recently to forecast what’s going to be big this year in the world of custom t-shirts! We’ll walk you through each trend, and explain how to get the look for your next t-shirt creation.

Abstract drawings

There’s been a rise in quirky and geometric drawings borrowing styles and color schemes from the 90’s. The primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) work surprisingly well together, especially when combined with fun patterns and linework. Some designers have used a single, vibrant accent color combined with an abstract line drawing to create a great looking shirt.

abstract-drawing-trend
Design created by Annabelle

Stand out: Create your drawing, and choose a high-contrast and ultra-vibrant color palate for your design. Take advantage of brighter t-shirt colors as well. Looking for inspiration? Check out design trends from the 80’s and 90’s for a throwback vibe.

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Pocket prints

While Bonfire currently doesn’t stock tees with pockets, the “pocket” printing location became incredibly popular this year. Influencers and other members of the Bonfire selling community created small logos or designs and printed them on the front of their tees. Pocket prints are a great way to promote your message in a subtle, yet impactful way.

Design created by Sadie Aldis

Get the look: Choose your design, and shrink it down to about 4 inches in width and height. Place your design on the top right corner of the t-shirt when designing it in the Bonfire Design Tool.  Remember to make sure that your design will be readable when shrunken in size.

Sketchbook Drawings

The textural, hand-drawn look of these t-shirt graphics prints really well on apparel. Using larger designs with more dynamic mark-makings is a great way to make a one-color t-shirt design still feel artistic and thoughtful.

kiersten-peterson
Design created by Kiersten and Jared Peterson

Sketch and scan: Draw your design options on paper. Once you’ve chosen the winning design, photograph it or scan it into a computer. Trace your sketches in a design program to turn your hand-drawn illustration into a rocking graphic for your t-shirts.

Side-aligned typography

Aligning your text to the left or right side of the shirt is a great way to differentiate your design while keeping the minimal aesthetic. This technique works well with text-only designs. But it’s also a fun way to bring the text into a more dynamic and illustrative design.

baby-chavez
Design created by Travis Chavez

Make your Statement: A text-based design like this is most successful when you’ve chosen a strong and emotion-filled phrase. Once you’ve selected your words, simply choose a font that matches your aesthetic, and align the type to whichever side works best with the rest of your design.

Floral Drawings

While all sorts of drawings seem to be becoming more popular for shirt designs, we’ve noticed floral motifs are holding strong. Flowers are beautiful and can be represented in so many ways, but they also carry a broad array of symbolism as well. Flowers can stand for growth and beauty, or a fresh start. But they can also just frame words or phrases that hold the most weight in the design.

anastasjia
Design created by Anastasjia Louise

Flower Power: Create your floral design to be the main focus of your t-shirt, or use flowers to add an extra element to a typographic t-shirt.

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Repeating text

Repeating your message is a surefire way to get your point across. It will make an impact, and result in a nice looking shirt at the same time. This t-shirt design idea is perfect if you aren’t super design-savvy, but still want to create a trendy tee on your own.

mintandmerit
Design created by Mint and Merit

Say it again: Choose the bold message that you want to communicate. Then, simply pick a compelling font that matches the tone of your message and cause, and then repeat it. You can also use text where part of the message changes a little bit on each line.

Bright garments

Bright is the new black in 2019. While dark shirts will always stay popular, a few bright colors have been surging in popularity, especially gold, royal blue & green. Younger Influencers and Youtubers especially have embraced these vibrant colors. Bright t-shirts are a great way to make your product stand out, even if you only have 1 ink color in your design.

joanna-spicer
Design created by Joanna Spicer

Pick bright Products: Check out Bonfire’s product catalog for a broad range of color options. We’ve got a selection of bright colors available in each of our product styles.

Retro Typography

Designers are throwing it back to the 60’s and 70’s with retro fonts in psychedelic colors. Using a groovy font in a funky color is an easy way to create a simple graphic tee that is easy to pair with other accessories. With a simple and retro graphic tee, you can dress your look up or down.

emily wass
Design created by Emily Wass

Go Groovy: Once you’ve selected your phrase, check out a free font site to find some typography inspiration. Or, step up your game by hand drawing your words with retro inspiration! And don’t forget to add color. Reds, yellows, and pinks are great go-to’s for this type of retro tee.


2019 is just getting started, and we cannot wait to see what the Bonfire community creates this year. Follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest trends and see what others are creating. Spotted a trend not mentioned here? Let us know.

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