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20 Vintage T-shirt Design Inspirations

by Henna Ray Tweet - in Tshirt Design

Vintage T-shirt Design

Last updated on June 24th, 2021

T-shirts are no more casual dresses but have become much more than that. These informal wear is being used as a marketing tools. Wise marketers understand how to make good use of t-shirts to drive customers. A professionally created Vintage t-shirt design has the potential to enhance your market reach amid your target audience.

Old trends make a comeback more often since people have some curiosity about bygone eras. They want to refresh memories of past decades. They feel the need to live, even in those eras which they never experienced in their life.

Prime era of vintage designs is long gone. Still, those old fashions and designs repeatedly come back in small or big ways. Vintage T shirt is one such trend from the past that people love to follow enthusiastically.

There is a huge demand for original t-shirt designs. According to a site, the U.S t-shirt design business is estimated to reach to $441 million in 2017-22. So, there is a big scope for the growth of your t-shirt design business in the market.

The designers adopt different design styles to attract their clients. T shirt designers have used retro themes to romanticize old times. So, they create funny t-shirts with vivid graphics, periodic icons, and pale colors. These types of themes are inspired from the past generations. Such themes typically have colors that are neither too dull nor too bright.

If as a creative t-shirt designer, you are also fascinated with the past, then there is a vast scope for recreating old times using vintage and retro elements. Such t-shirts with old school styles of colors and typeface are common. But before you set out to design retro style t-shirts, get a collection of your own inspirational t-shirts in old styles.

Here Are 20 Vintage T-shirt Design Inspirations

01. Retro Element T-Shirt Design

The following t-shirt design has some of typical retro elements. The entire typeface is fin retro style. You can notice a lot of details created around the letters. A big and decorated circle in the middle with elaboration makes this shirt an attractive design piece. Folded ribbon style and a diamond are other vintage elements creating the old and classic environment.

Retro t-shirt design

02. Heine Bros T-Shirt Design

The Heine Bros coffee brand used this t shirt design to convey a message that the brand is trustworthy. The brand wants to depict that it has many years of experience and expertise in making and serving the beverage product. The lettering is in an old typeface. You can notice some leaves and embellished lines which make that design attractive in graphic design services. This design follows the top t-shirt design trends for 2018.

Heine Bros t-shirt

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03. Space Themed T-Shirt Design

In creating this t-shirt, inspiration comes from the era when America was preparing for a race to reach to the moon first. All the elements such as crescent mythical moon, planets, stars, a rocket are present in the design to depict that era.

Space Themed T-Shirt

04. Red Indian Themed T-Shirt Design

This vintage t-shirt gets its inspiration from the way Red Indians dressed their head. Their typical feather headgear was elaborately decorated with natural elements like feathers. The design has all these features.

Red Indian

Make sure that you put pictures of your main t-shirt design creations in your brochure design, which should be in sync with your t-shirt design style.

05. Wake Up And Live Themed T-Shirt Design

This t-shirt has ‘wake up and live’ slogan in faded colors to give the impression of the past. Faded colors also convey that the value expressed in the slogan is eternal. Lettering is bold and stylized. Use of a lot of short and straight lines, and dots is typical of old styles tank tops.

Wake Up And Live

06. ‘Motorcycle Grease N Story’ T-Shirt Design

In this ‘motorcycle grease n story’ t-shirt print, lettering is in simple style. Typical curvy lines around thin letters make this design unique. Use of yellow color in letters also sets this design apart from many others.

Motorcycle Grease N Story

07. Runner Themed T-Shirt Design

This vintage t-shirt depicts a runner. Use of line art is the chief feature of this design. Right from hairs to mustache and socks, everything is created here in lines. Line art was once a chief graphic design trend.

Runner Themed

08. Microphone Themed T-Shirt Design

A microphone from old technology is an attractive feature of this t shirt design. There are some faded lines and colors in background.

Microphone Themed

09. German Punk Band Themed T-Shirt Design

Die Toten Hosen was a popular German punk band from 1980s. To depict that era, this t-shirt design uses typical curvy lines and a bold typeface. Straight and typical classy lines with a lot of decorative details make this t-shirt look attractive and unique.

German Punk Band

If you also wish to create such fantastic custom t-shirt design from bygone eras, then Designhill can help you. This marketplace has hundreds of t-shirt designers who will come out with unique vintage design ideas. You can get a winning design at an affordable price.

10. Bleeding Letters Themed T-Shirt Design

Although there is no use of typical retro elements in this t-shirt design, still it gives us the impression of it being a design from bygone era. This is because of the use of disfigured and bleeding letters. Also, the lips drawn here are also from the past. Such style of lips were once printed everywhere to express love. You can also use this theme for your shirt ideas.

Bleeding Letters

11. Rockstar Themed T-Shirt Design

In this retro t shirt design, use of skyscrapers and a guitar along with flowers, and a bird in flight creates an environment of bygone era. A big image of a rockstar signaling to an audience creates a unique t-shirt design. You can also use this design for shirts using our shirt design maker.


12. Eagle Themed T-Shirt Design

You can notice some of the typical retro design elements in this t-shirt design. It has faded colors. There is an eagle also, which was an old symbol of power and domination.

Eagle Themed

13. Cartoon Themed T-Shirt Design

Anything from the past can make a vintage design. In this t-shirt design, a popular cartoon character has been portrayed in its typical pose. It is one of the most popular t-shirt designs.

Cartoon Themed

14. Old Style Train Themed T-Shirt Design

An old style train is the main feature of this vintage t-shirt design. Bricks in the foreground also create a retro environment.

Old Style Train

15. Vintage Car Themed T-Shirt Design

Bold stylish lettering, dark color, straight typeface and an old model of car make this t shirt design look from a bygone era.

Vintage Car Themed

16. Eagle Themed T-Shirt Design

This retro t-shirt design or shirt printing design has a typical combination of thin and bold lines to create contrast between the two elements. Straight and unstyled typeface is another attraction but the eagle in the center is the chief feature.

Eagle Themed T-Shirt

17. Microphone Themed T-Shirt Design

A lot of microphones, old music albums, a stereo, and speakers are chief retro elements in this t-shirt design.

Microphone Themed

18. Skull Themed T-Shirt Design

This is an often used vintage design. There are all the usual elements such as skulls, cross, crown, wings, and other elements from nature. A classical lettering style further creates the magic of the past.

Skull Themed

When starting your t-shirt designing business, make sure that its logo design is unique and matches with your style of design. This ensure brand consistency.

19. Mountain Themed T-Shirt Design

This t-shirt design is an example of how you can create a retro effect without using any vintage elements from bygone era. There is a simple drawing of mountain peaks and mountain trees. The designer used simple lines, small triangles, thin lines for shades, and a big double-lined circle to create the magic of bygone era.

Mountain Themed

20. Guitar Themed T-Shirt Design

Yellow color in this vintage t shirt design creates an environment of the past. The designer used a guitar, speakers, and the rays in thick lines for creating a retro effect. Lettering style also comes from the old design trends.

So, this is our compilation of vintage t-shirt designs that you will find inspirational as you set out to create t shirts. Do not imitate these designs. Just take inspiration and arrange the old design elements in your own unique way.

Guitar Themed
We have two more t-shirt designs to showcase from our own collection. You will find these designs inspirational. These designs are from a leading crowdsourcing site Designhill. The designs are as follows-

01. Klub

Klub wanted a t-shirt that aimed toward an exclusive brand that is based on street wear type clothing. This t-shirt design is an example of minimalistic design. The design has a run down and an abandoned looking house.

Klub t-shirt design

[Source: View Case Study On Designhill]

02. United States Masters Swimming Open Water National Championship

This t-shirt design is for The U.S swimming championship. This is a unique design that invites people to come swim at Applegate Lake. The design has all the elements that show that a swimming championship is taking place.

Water National Championship

[Source: View Case Study on Designhill]

These are surely inspirational t-shirt designs for their unique and memorable use of colors, typeface and other elements. Designhill can help you get more t-shirt design concepts if you are looking for new ideas. The marketplace will give you access to dozens of graphic designers who are experts in designing t-shirts. Designhill has 100% Money Back Guarantee policy that means your investment in the design contest is safe.

Are You Looking for a New Graphic Designer?If Yes, Call Us on +1-855-699-2851 [times for calling 9am to 6pm EST (US)] or Register for a Free Design Consultation


These inspirational vintage t-shirt designs have great use of colors, typefaces, images, shape and other elements. The designs meet their clients’ design requirements. Most of these designs use bold colors and fonts which attract the viewers and convey a brand message to the target audience.

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Hi! I am professional Logo designer and an aspiring blogger. An expert on various tools Like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Coral Draw, I have successfully designed several application interfaces, android apps, logo designs, business card designs, letterhead designs, envelop designs, flyer designs, brochure designs and web banners. Twitter



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