T-shirt designs portraying skull staples have revealed states of mind changing from the violent meaning “dressed to kill” promoted by the pirates signs, heavy metal/punk merchandise (Sex Pistols, Alice Cooper) to a more soft one, seen in the goth culture, where the skull t-shirts meant a nice close-up to death, melancholy and defiance against society discrimination. That state of depression of the skull meaning also changed along with pop/rock culture (Avril Lavigne), and associated with the pinky trend of emo style, it reached our days in a plenitude of styles and, no matter what style is promoted by the usage of a skull t-shirt design, it will always be popular. And… don’t tell me you never had a skull t-shirt!
Despite the outrageous popularity of wings, nowadays t-shirt designers have tried their best to create new and unique designs, in order to be meaningful and inspirational.
Most of the times having deep spiritual symbolism, with religious connotation, wings t-shirt designs refer to liberation, freedom, connection between earth and sky, and on a higher ground, between human existence and spiritual. The most common designed style is that of the feathered angel wings, standing as symbols for innocence or innocence lost, symbol of guidance and protection, peace or eternal salvation. But the wings don’t always emphasize the good nature of the spirit, but the evil one, as seen in many t-shirt designs with bat wings, following a demonic or vampirist style. Having less religious substrates, the butterfly wings, raven wings or tribal wings (very popular in goth tees), express supremacy and freedom. All of them, in all styles sumarize the fascination for flying creatures, be they earthly or mithycal.
If we take into consideration the overwhelming popularity of tattoo industry, it’s no wander it expanded so much, becoming a very important source for t-shirt vector art designers who follow the public’s interest regarding iconography, and use tatoos as t-shirt designs. Most tattoos designs are desired mainly for their absolutely crazy colors, for the glossy look, of for what they represent. These are seen especially on white t-shirts, in order not to loose any detail. The heart, the dragons, tribals, achors, the wings, are just few voguish elements that successfully stick again in t-shirt designs, under the shape of tattos this time. I think tattoo industry and t-shirt designs’ sustain each other, both of them having something to gain: the popularity of their own creation.
Derived from back ages custom of medieval knights or nobleman’s necessity to distinguish from other family, the heraldry, or royal emblems carry along the pride of belonging to a family with a glorious history behind. The royal identification was recognizable by cresting their particular stylized design onto their armour, shields, flags, red wax and so on. Through time, these heraldic elements became more complex, embelled with additional ornaments, frames, flourish elements, ribbons. We see today many of these blazons on t-shirts, as a sign of superiority and their main idea is that of belonging to a noble rank. The heraldry t-shirt designs are a common item for lovers of history, revealing the fascination for medieval glory and prestige.
The most common heraldry t-shirt design symbols are: armour boards, sword, kingdom ornaments, helmet, royal crowns, guards, ribbons, eagles, lions.
T-shirt designs that use typography as main element are the best attitude tees, dependind on the message, of course. Unlike the other t-shirt designs, in this case the resources are endless. And it is not as simple as it seems, because typography is an art itself, and everything matters, starting with the font, size, colour, spacing or paragraphing. The most common are the funny sayings, famous quotes, and, lately, (we see them everywhere), personalized t-shirts with a message expressing likes or dislikes.
Typography is not used only for a message, many times we see illegible writing, but carrying a special visual effect. The power to combine and impress is only in the hands of the designer.
This is not actually a top 5, we couldn’t decide on the order, so…we’re open to suggestions. And also…please feel free to share with us if u have a favorite t-shirt, and what makes it so special.