As a t-shirt graphic designer for over 25 years, one of the questions I’m asked the most is, “What t-shirt designs sell best?” Although the types of t-shirts that customers buy will inevitably be swayed by their current age, demographics, hobbies, occupation, and personal style, there are certain types of t shirt designs online that are almost always in high demand.
Offer t shirt designs online to your customers that include a nice variety of the following 30 types of t-shirt designs that sell best, you should appeal to a wide audience.
First, let’s consider what people do for a living. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones who loves your job and takes pride in the work you do every day, then you understand why occupational t-shirt designs are popular. Whether a nurse, teacher, construction worker, or mom boss, people who love what they do are proud to show it off in what they wear. So, offer stylish designs that appeal to different occupational groups that can help them connect with others in their industry. And wearing a t-shirt that conveys a message that “you are an awesome landscaper” is a walking advertisement that grabs attention but is less invasive than handing out business cards.
2. Animals – T-Shirt Designs That Sell
Next up, our furry friend! There is no need to explain the animal lover’s mentality. Customers who love animals will buy just about anything that sparks passion for their furry family members! So, offer designs centered around the animals they love on t-shirts and other collectibles like mugs, tote bags, pillows, phone cases, etc. Animal lovers are passionate enough to wear it on their sleeves and collect it on related merch. So, if you design it, they will come. It’s easy to see why animal related graphics create some of the t-shirt designs that sell best!
Food…the element that brings people together and is at the center of most gatherings. Whether it’s bacon or coffee, someone is obsessed with it! With the “Foodie” revolution comes the opportunity for creating t-shirt designs that sell for a multitude of food obsessions. So, take note of top favorites and weird ones as well. Both are sure to be a hit for t shirt designs online!
4. Family T Shirt Designs
Family themes can provide an endless supply of t-shirt design ideas. Create designs for events such as family reunions and vacations, weddings, and the countless sports mom and dad opportunities that arise year-after-year. Families are generally pretty tight…which is why family related t shirt designs are some of the most popular types of t-shirt designs that sell best. So, help bring families together with designs that share how they feel.
5. Fundraising T-Shirt Designs That Sell
You don’t have to look very far to see all kinds of fundraising events happening to benefit various non-profits and charitable causes that people care about such as pet adoption and cancer awareness. And behind every fundraiser, there’s usually a t-shirt. So, whether it’s a 5K race, relay for life event, or kickball tournament, a t-shirt design is probably in high demand. They may be worn by the participants or sold as part of the actual fundraising efforts. But either way, their passionate message about their cause is being shared, and that’s what they care about most.
Need I say more? Beer, wine, whiskey…the adult beverage drinking culture can offer a goldmine of t-shirt design ideas. People love to advertise their favorite drinks and how much of it they like to drink…on their t-shirts, sweatshirts, tanks, etc. So, if you think outside the beer bottle or wine glass, you might find a popular drink that lots of people love but there aren’t any t shirt designs online for it yet. Now capitalize on that for t-shirt designs that sell!
7. Sports T Shirt Designs
Here’s another niche that really doesn’t need much explanation. People love wearing t-shirts with themes of their favorite sports, making it one of the t-shirt designs that sell best. But, the trick is to come up with something new and exciting that people haven’t already seen a million times. Is there any high-profile sports “drama” happening right now? Maybe you could weave some current event into your design. And people love wearing shirts that express their opinions on a certain topic. So, if it’s a topic of drama or humor, they will eat it up!
8. Life Milestones
Milestones in life are often celebrated with a special t-shirt. Just think of all the high school seniors each year who proudly wear their “Class of whatever year” apparel. Senior class designs are also one of the t-shirt designs that sell best. Get more details about that in our Senior 2020 Logo – Awesome Senior Class of 2020 Shirts blog post. There are milestone shirts to celebrate “over the hill” birthdays, becoming a parent, becoming an adult (which may incorporate with alcohol), first days of school, and so on. So, brainstorm important milestone events in life and you’re bound to find a ton of new t-shirt design ideas.
Humor comes in all varieties. But you must cater your humorous t shirt designs online toward the appropriate audiences you want to attract. Humorous t-shirts are just plain fun! So, if you hear a funny joke, find a unique way to use it in a t-shirt design. And look for funny memes and spin the message into a unique design. No matter how you create it…never underestimate the power of a funny tee!
10. Clubs & Organizations
People join certain clubs and organizations because they are passionate about something…about something the club or organization does or represents. And when people are passionate, they want everyone to know it! They want to shout it from the rooftops…but sometimes they must settle for expressing it through the t-shirts they wear. So give them something to show off through your t shirt designs!
11. Schools & Universities
College students can be a hugely profitable target market. Think about it…their wardrobe consists largely of t-shirts. So, if you can create unique designs that portray the college lifestyle, they are sure to be a hit! Think student loan debt…that should apply to most. And various majors and clubs also offer countless possibilities and ideas for t shirt designs online.
There is no question that people love music. Whether they love to listen to it, go to concerts, or are musicians themselves, there are countless ways to incorporate music into t shirt designs online. For the musically inclined, tees with cool instrument graphics will help show off their talents. And t-shirt designs that cater to a certain genre of music are always a hit. Think music festivals and concerts…just avoid using any copyrighted materials.
Health and fitness are huge markets. And fitness buffs usually like to remind everyone that they are working out and living a healthy lifestyle. So what better way to say it than on a t-shirt or work out tank top that says, “Winners Train, Losers Complain”? Motivation is key. They want to express their love of the healthy lifestyle and feel motivated by the clothing they wear. So create fitness related t shirt designs online to satisfy their craving!
14. Parties & Special Events
Everyone wants to be the life of the party, and what better way to do it than wearing a cool party shirt! It should go without saying that party shirts should emphasize fun…in both language and graphics. So, think party games and trending dances for future t shirt designs online.
Life can be hard. There are “no limits” to the good vibes that can be spread by cool t-shirt designs with motivational quotes. There is an endless supply of motivational quotes that could be incorporated into a design. So try different variations in typography and graphics to appeal to different markets. With a little creativity, motivational t shirt designs online could be one of the t-shirt designs that sell best for you.
16. Holiday T Shirt Designs Online
Holiday themed t shirt designs online are always a hit. Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween are always in high demand, but don’t underestimate the less commercialized holidays like National Taco Day or National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. So look for something that hasn’t been done already. And give people a reason to celebrate in the “off season.”
Do you know how many camping enthusiasts there are out there? A recent Google search reports over 13,000 privately owned RV parks and over 1,600 state parks in the US alone. So I’d say the camping market for t shirt designs online is pretty significant! Go create a t-shirt design geared toward the great outdoors and camping and you’ll have a hit.
18. Extreme Sports
Try your hand at creating t shirt designs online for those who love extreme sports like dirt bike racing, hand gliding, or rock climbing, just to name a few. Their extreme nature alone suggests that they would be extremely excited to wear something that tells the world about their adventurous spirit.
19. Outdoor Adventures
And don’t forget the less extreme but still adventurous hikers, zip liners, kayakers, sailors, etc. Whale watchers is even a thing! So look for some unique opportunities for t shirt designs online centered around various outdoor adventures.
Hunting and fishing are two popular outdoor hobbies with a multitude of opportunities for t shirt designs online. But try to think of less popular hobbies that could also appeal to a lot of people. People love their hobbies, so whether it’s baking, beekeeping, or extreme couponing (wait, maybe that should go under extreme sports, LOL) they will love to wear it and show it off to the world. And that’s why this is one of the popular t-shirt designs that sell best.
Some t shirt designs online are just plain artsy. People love them just because of the artistic way they look, whether the graphic is abstract, geometric, or incorporates certain other design styles. You could try to catch the eye of an art history major by using pointillism. So design for the artsy types out there and think of their t-shirts as a piece of artwork!
22. Regional or Hometown
People can be very proud of their roots, so creating t shirt designs online that show off where you come from can be very popular. Maybe your neck of the woods is popular for something unique that you can share with the world of style. So whether you promote whole states or county lines there’s bound to be people who will love wearing tees with hometown pride.
Spirituality is a big thing that people like to share, so if they can share it on a t-shirt without having to say anything, they will love it even more. Try something as simple as incorporating the word “pray” into a “list” type design like, “Hunt, Fish, Pray, Repeat” for an instant hit.
Designs that show a love of country are always well received. Use your country’s flag and colors in your graphics to convey a message of patriotism. Here in the United States there are national holidays like Independence Day and Memorial Day that naturally evoke patriotism and people love to wear patriotic t-shirts during those times.
25. Vintage Styles
The vintage or retro look is a very popular style in t shirt designs online. Take an ordinary t-shirt design and put a vintage spin on it for instant attention. Not sure what vintage looks like? Google vintage or retro t-shirts and you’ll see a lot of examples. Vintage designs usually have distinct font styles, colors, and sometimes a worn, faded, or distressed look that conveys, “I’m vintage.”
I don’t know about other countries, but in the United States, we are very proud of our military members and veterans. And we’re happy to show support by wearing t-shirt designs that convey that message to the world. One popular trend is RED Friday shirts. RED stands for Remember Everyone Deployed and people wear these t-shirt designs every Friday to remember and support our military that are deployed until they all come home safely.
27. Athletic Styles
There are some t shirt designs online that seem to always be popular, and the “athletic” style is one of them. A request I hear very often from clients is, “can you make it look more athletic?” So, take an ordinary t-shirt design and change to an athletic style font and layout for instant appeal to the masses.
28. Hand Drawn Graphics
Graphics that are hand drawn (or at least look like they were) are very popular. In contrast to the bolder, clip art style graphics, maybe it’s the casual feeling conveyed by naturally free flowing lines that is appealing. You’ve probably seen the hand drawn figures used in the “life is good” designs. There’s just something special about this simpler type of design that appeals to many.
The changing of the seasons gives a perfect excuse to update your selection of t shirt designs online. Some people have a favorite season and love telling the world all about it. For some, that season might be as simple as Pumpkin Spice. For others, it might be the crisp cold air that says, “Babe, it’s cold outside!” So with a little creativity, there are countless ways to appeal to the lovers of all the seasons.
30. Distressed Designs
And the final category of t-shirt designs online I’d like to mention is the distressed or sometimes called “grunge” style design that is very popular. This style is achieved by placing a distressed screen over the design (or certain areas of the design) or by using a special “brush” to distress the design and give a worn or weathered look. There are various types of distressing that ranges from very light to extremely grungy distressing. So, it all depends on the look you like and maybe the message you’re trying to convey with your graphic.
So, there you have it…30 t-shirt designs that sell best. The most important thing to do with these ideas is to come up with something new and unique. Don’t copy other designs! Not only is it wrong, and illegal, but people don’t want to buy a t-shirt with a design they’ve seen hundreds of times before.
You may see a design that sparks an idea, and that’s fine. But set out with a goal to create a new, even better design than the one you saw. It may convey the same message, but it will be new and exciting to your customers. And if you continuously give your customers new, unique t shirt designs online, they will keep coming back again and again. And that’s the secret to creating t-shirt designs that sell!
And that is my goal for Designs4Screen.com…to provide my customers with a continuous supply of new, unique t-shirt designs that sell best to offer their customers on t-shirts and other apparel and merch to keep them coming back. Finding great t shirt designs online or creating new ones can be time consuming and costly. But, Designs4Screen makes it easy and affordable. So, even if you like to create your own t-shirt designs, the templates and designs offered here can help to supplement your efforts and give yourself a well-deserved break now and then.