The most popular t-shirt design ideas of summer 2021

The 2021 t-shirt design trends represent a broad spectrum of artistic talent and creativity that helps support individuals, communities, and social movements around the world. While it's easy to say "no exaggeration, it's just a T-shirt", these outfits gave people a creative outlet to express themselves freely and confidently. Through all of this, we've seen our society build a powerful collection of t-shirt designs that remind us that even something as simple as a cotton t-shirt can inspire change in the world.

Explore our new t-shirt design trends for 2021 below to see what look you can get as you plan your next t-shirt design.

  1. Book Designs

Books connect our society in more ways than we know. Popularized by independent bookstores across the country, this design trend alone has helped support these businesses during the COVID-19 closure to ensure they can stay open in new ways, pay employees and continue to serve their communities.

Book designs are our top t-shirt design trend of 2021.

Whether books are the main subject of your design or use them as part of the structure, they can add great context to your t-shirt. This is also a great way to subtly add text to your design.

  1. Powerful Expressions

Sometimes your t-shirt needs to say what it has to say boldly and clearly. In a year when we had to keep our distance and limit face-to-face meetings, being able to stand behind something without saying a word has led to a surge of these bold design choices. This popular design trend is particularly effective. The reason for this is political campaigns or social movements.

Shirts that make a bold statement are the top t-shirt design trend in 2021.

Find the perfect word or phrase that conveys what you hope to share with your community and the world. Keep your shirt minimalist and simple by writing your text in a bold, easy-to-read font, or have fun with bright colors and cursive letterforms.

  1. Multicolored Words

Add energy to any text-based design by making letters in a variety of colors. The color palette also sets the spirit of the selected letters. Keep your palette simple with a few colors or change each letter to a different color!

Multi-colored t-shirts are the best t-shirt design trend of 2021.

Start by creating your text-based design. Use bold font to aid legibility after applying different colors. Then choose a handful of colors to use as your color palette for this design. When choosing your colors, you'll probably want to consider the mood of the design, your brand, and your t-shirt's target audience.

  1. Tarot Cards

One of our favorite design trends this year is the use of tarot cards on t-shirts, with the artist's interpretation of this iconic design motif. With their unique imagery, symbolism, and aesthetics, tarot cards offer a wide variety of elements for inspiration. This design style is a great direction for those looking for a symbolic visual representation of their message.

Tarot cards are the most popular t-shirt design trend in 2021.

Tarot cards come in a deck of 78 cards, each card has its, image and symbolism. Find a card that best represents the style and message you're looking for. Apply your message to the design that best represents what you want to say.

  1. Handwritten Typography

Add a different tone to your design with your hand-drawn fonts. Your hand-drawn letterforms can have many different moods, so they can be funky, retro, bold, or delicate. The flexibility and individuality you have in creating your lettering make it a great choice for almost any t-shirt you design.

Handwritten typography is the top t-shirt design trend in 2021.

Because of the variety in font styles, the first step in designing your t-shirt is to decide what kind of mood you want to evoke with your letterforms. Then start making this design more interesting by using fun colors, adding lines or other design elements around the letters.

  1. Hand Drawn Designs

Hand-drawn designs always have a lot of character and significance. These textured, pencil-like drawings are a great design trend for this year. The clear, detailed linework gives plenty of room to let your imagination flow.

Hand-drawn designs are the most popular t-shirt design trend in 2021.

Start with an easy outline of what you want to create. Keep building until you're happy with your drawing! Want to feel like a pen? Use thin, textured lines in dark gray or black for your drawing.

  1. Crooked Text

Broken text is the perfect way to make your plain text stand out on your t-shirt. There are endless possibilities with warp! You can even go back to the 70s with its wavy retro design!

Warped text is the most popular t-shirt design trend in 2021.

A great approach to achieving this design style is to draw two wavy lines, one on top of the other. Then, no matter how crazy that letter looks, have your text fill the space between those two squiggles! This gives you a "warped" look. Pro tip: Block or Bubble fonts work best with this trend.

  1. Minimalist Rainbow

Representing joy, hope, and curiosity, rainbows remain the top t-shirt design trend and make a great addition to any design. Many t-shirts pair rainbow designs with a clean and simple font that is curved along the rainbow's arch or framed below as a quote.

Minimalist rainbows are the top t-shirt design trend in 2021.

Stylize your rainbow uniquely with a specific color palette that matches your aesthetic or brand. Let the rainbow image stand-alone or add a word or quote to bring extra meaning and inspiration to your design.

  1. Doodle Picture

There's always room for more fun in your life and your wardrobe! Scribble can be done in any way; thin lines, wavy lines, shapes in all colors and sizes, you name it.

Shirt custom doodle picture, top design trend in 2021.

Your design doesn't have to be perfect. Get comfortable with your linework and the way you represent the forms you're trying to show. Pro tip: Draw without erasing or pressing "undo". See what you can create!

  1. Curvy Bodies

Add some personality to your design by adding curvy figures. Typically hand-drawn and paired with bright colors, these fun characters are a great way to flex your creative muscles and present the human figures with a little added personality.

Curvy bodies and figures are the most popular t-shirt design trend in 2021.

Aren't you an artist? No problem. Draw a picture of a human figure, but let these lines be loose and wavy. You will be amazed at what you can create!

  1. Hand Drawings

Hands are capable of telling many stories, both literally and figuratively. Sign language and hand symbols are a direct yet silent way to get your message across in your t-shirt design. On the other hand, you can also use them to show a sense of community, friendship, and connection.

Hand drawings are the most popular t-shirt design trend in 2021.

Hands are not the easiest thing to draw. It's a great reference point. We can't help but stare at some hands making sign language. Cartoon hands are also fun.

  1. Repetition of Text

Repeating your message is a surefire way to convey your purpose. It will create the desired effect and also result in a well-designed t-shirt. This t-shirt design idea is perfect if you're not super design-savvy but still want to create a trendy t-shirt on your own.

Text repetition is the most popular t-shirt design trend in 2021.

Select the message you want to forward. Next, choose an engaging font that fits the tone and mood of your message, and then repeat it. You can also use texts where part of the message changes slightly on each line.

  1. Animal Portraits

Animal portraits remain a popular design choice and a top trend for tailored clothing. We love this design trend because it's so versatile. Using a simple line drawing that outlines its body and a few facial features, you can make your animal stand out on the tee or get super details to match its unique personality.

Animal portraits are the most popular t-shirt design trend in 2021.

  1. Translated Text

Give yourself a reason to take a stunning mirror image using the inverted design and typography effect. This design style is a creative interpretation of the recurring text design trend and is just as easy to create.

Flipped text is the most popular t-shirt design trend in 2021.

The fun thing about these designs is that they can be whatever you want! Create this perfect design and flip the picture completely if you're feeling bold. It may not make sense until you look in the mirror for the ultimate selfie!

As a result, summer 2021 is just getting started and we can't wait to see what our community of creators has designed this year. Follow us to stay up to date with the latest trends and see what others are creating. Did we miss a trend that you think deserves to be here? So be sure to let us know!

Back to blog