9 T-Shirt Design Trends for 2021

February 17, 2021

To say that we are living in a strange world right now is a bit of an understatement.  After the year we've just had and the way 2021 is unfolding,  it's no surprise that we are looking for design to lift our spirits.  With social distancing and isolation the new normal T-Shirt design will start to embrace a more humanistic and playful tone.

T-Shirt design themes will attempt to help boost mood and inspire optimism and forward thinking.  Here are 9 T-Shirt design trends for 2021 to help you look towards a brighter future.



Here are the trends in summary:

1- Inspired by Nature:

There is a renewed thirst for nature emerging as a result of the pandemic and also as we become more urbanized and digitized in our daily lives. Nature symbolizes beauty and hope and plays a healing role in this society full of anxiety and unrest. The effect of nature imagery is to impart  a sense of serenity, renewal and growth. Whether this trend manifests in the form of leafy patterns, earth-tone color schemes, florals or images of breathtaking vistas, T-Shirt design is getting back to nature.

2- Playful Optimism:

Imaginative playfulness, designed to raise a smile!  Think dazzling patterns, quirky comic characters, comedic quotes, visual psychedelia, color madness and pure creative chaos to help fight against our current reality. Vibrant color is to this theme with it's ability to change and enhance our moods.  There are no rules to this T-Shirt theme except for the requirement to promote pure joy and fun.

3- Retro Futurism:

Dreaming of flying cars, floating cities, pipeline transportation, personal robots and the exploration of distant galaxies? This T-Shirt print theme merges nostalgia and futurism which means looking back at how people thought about the future in the past. Retro futurism as a visual style based on its bold imagination,  retro typography, illustration style and filtering effects with a surprisingly optimistic view of the future.

4- Make a Statement

Typography prints provide a way for people to express themselves.  This T-Shirt theme sees the rise in creative typography prints that deliver a messages of unity, responsibility, advice or simply with the intent to be uplifting or inspirational. Different visual effects  are used to enhance the messaging  from hand crafted letters to digitally manipulated compositions.

5-Furry Friends

A cat chasing its own tail will always be funny. Dogs running into things will never get old. However, the benefits that pets bring to our lives go way beyond just making us laugh.  This T-Shirt theme explores the healing power of pets and the emotional connection we have with them.  Cute, quirky  and sometimes humanesque portraits of pets are displayed proudly in big bold playful print designs.

6- Local Travellor

A cat chasing its own tail will always be funny. Dogs running into things will never get old. However, the benefits that pets bring to our lives go way beyond just making us laugh.  This T-Shirt theme explores the healing power of pets and the emotional connection we have with them.  Cute, quirky  and sometimes humanesque portraits of pets are displayed proudly in big bold playful print designs.

7- Wellness

With forced lockdowns and isolation and the fear of becoming ill we are forced to slow down and gain new perspective on the importance of our health and wellbeing.
Aside from physical health, this theme explores sustainability and purpose, as well as mental health, improving daily habits,  human-to-human connection and a greater link to nature and community.  How we exercise, meditate, the way we rest and interact with our world are interpreted through calm, serene and beautiful print designs.

8- Blurred Vision

Striking gradients and color transitions have already been a strong trend in T-Shirt print design but this year designs will evolve into even more blurry, blended, textured and bold compositions.  One of the new techniques will be adding grain filters and abstract digital blurring effects to gradients.  This technique enables design elements, typography, or images to stand out with shadowy depth.

9- Resourceful

Getting creative and crafty has been a great way to pass time during lockdown.  Reconnecting with ones creative side is a great way to feed the soul through painting, sketching, recycled mixed media artwork, patch working, collaging and anything hand crafted.  T-Shirt designs hone in on these simple pleasures of creative tinkering and experimentation to create designs which are unique and beautifully detailed.


Whatever happens moving forward in our world, people will continue to look to creative industries to help uplift them in 2021 and beyond.  We are predicting that T-Shirt design will play it's part in inspiring  positivity, playfulness, mindfulness, optimism and forward thinking.



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