hether you design your own graphics for your apparel business or work with a graphic designer, it’s important to stay on top of the trends to make sure your garments remain relevant and are meeting a market need.

Here’s a closer look at seven major graphic design trends for 2019 to help your ideation process:

1. Vacation Motifs

Summer graphic tees for 2019 are forecasted to represent the road trip lifestyle across the U.S., with beaches, palm trees and desert getaways as key prints. Photoreal faded postcards in vintage tones are also set to be popular vacation motifs.

Try the style: Use destination photography and add retro typography of the city/state over the image. To add a vintage appeal for the “faded postcard” look, use the sublimation technique with a poly-cotton blended garment.

2. Duotone Gradients

While gradients have been making their way back into designs over recent years, the style is shifting away from flat, one color transitions to duotone gradients that provide more depth. Duotones use two colors, often with high contrast, which can add a layered element to photorealistic graphics. The rise in popularity has largely been attributed to Spotify, thanks to their playlist covers.

Stand Out: Add a high contrast, duotone gradient filter over an image for print apparel.

3. Delicate Illustrations

Deriving from botanical and natural elements, we’re beginning to see a growth in popularity with delicately illustrated designs. Using lighter lines, the style tends to skew more feminine.

Draw and Scan: Use nature and florals as your inspiration to draw a lightly constructed design. Then, scan it in and see how it looks on a blank tee!

4. Maxi Typography

Say goodbye small fonts, because maxi typography is taking over. As an integral part of the design process for graphic tees, typography can take on many forms. However, many design experts expect to see a lot of maxi outline text throughout 2019. (Think Travis Scott ‘Astroworld’ merch.)

Get Disruptive: Side-aligned typography has been making its way into disruptive designs. If you’re looking to be an early adopter of the trend, give it a try using a maxi outlined text for a unique style.

5. Repeated Text

The power of repetition is valuable in many ways, including repeated text on graphic tees to portray your message. It’s a strong visual statement that acts as a 2D interpretation of movement, providing a simple, maximalism feel with minimal effort (perfect for people with little design experience). The style really made waves when it was used back in 2016 for Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ album artwork.

Make a Statement: Millennials and Gen Z place a strong emphasis on activism and female empowerment. Find your niche and take a stance with your designs using simple phrases with repeated type to get your message across (i.e. “Vote” or “Love Your Body”).

6. Vivid Colors

From the runways to graphic design, vivid colors are popular for 2019. As interest in robots and artificial intelligence grows, brands have been adjusting their color palette to include bright hues for a futuristic feel. The pop of color can draw the eye and create some really cool and quirky designs.

As interest in robots and artificial intelligence grows, brands have been adjusting their color palette to include bright hues for a futuristic feel.


Go Bold: Colorblock vivid colors with animal print for a bold trend combo that will definitely draw attention. For extra vibrancy use the direct-to-garment technique.

7. Simplicity

Less is more once again. Lately, anything that doesn’t speak to the customer or brand message is being stripped away with regards to design. In fact, many up-and-coming streetwear labels are building their brand with this element in mind—and constantly selling out apparel.

Create the look: Think about the most important things to the customer or your brand and use that as inspiration. It can be as simple as a fresh spin with a brand logo, phrase or quote.

Take some time to play around and figure out which styles will work best for your new merch this year. For cool, on-trend graphics, consider combining a few of the design elements above!

Mar 18, 2019
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