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The Top 9 Screen Printed Shirt Trends for 2017

Posted by Mary Yaeger, Texsource on 5/5/2017

As screen printing enthusiasts, it’s important to stay on top of the trends in the industries that impact us the most. Staying current not only allows your business to produce relevant designs, but it also provides an opportunity to design outside of the box when everyone is looking at the same thing. If there is one thing that people don’t like it’s repetition so it’s important to know what people are looking at, what the fashion industry says is in style and decide how to best apply your own unique touches to the trend.

For screen printing, take in consideration these top 9 trends and how you will be able to use them in your own business. The inks and screen printing methods used to make these styles vary, but with a little know-how and digging into what makes these such popular styles will give your screen printing business the advantage over your competitors.

9 The Whole Wild World  

This trend is especially important to the up and coming generations who are trying to get back to the basics of life. More people are starting to realize how important it is to unplug and invest their time in the natural pleasures of life. People are enjoying the outdoors in such ways as hiking and surfing. This trend is all about embracing nature's creations. With naturalism on the rise it is important that your screen printing business explores people's new mindfulness of a care free well being. When searching for inspiration for your next design, be sure to look to the natural environment. It's time to restore the balance. Printed designs such as the ones pictured above are grounded in natural landscapes and takes inspiration from the earth's beauty.

You can achieve this look by experimenting with different kinds of inks and printing methods. When printing, it’s important to use the right kind of ink. Certain ink textures will make natural prints look and feel imbalanced. To get the most natural feel for a flexible shirt, we recommend using discharge inks. Not only will you still see the natural texture of your design, but you will get the natural texture of the shirt which will make the shirt more appealing to the nature seeker.

8 Luminescent Inks  

Luminescent inks have become increasingly popular during the last few years, and in 2017 we’re going to witness an explosion of these “holographic” designs. The type of ink that you use can create a new reality and illicit a certain response from the people that wear and view it. Luminescent colors combined with futuristic textures present the idea of exploration, escape and the psychedelic. Inspiration for this trend is a fusion between reality and fantasy. Figures like unicorns and mermaids have been a recurring theme in recent months. Combine mystical creatures with natural phenomena like the aurora borealis, gems and shells makes these prints look digitized and surreal.

7 Bold Typography

Recent generations have a lot to say and not enough time to say it. Typographical prints and with bright and bold lettering bring a feeling of rebellion through slogans, quotes and get out of my way statements. It’s all about having a ‘don’t care attitude’ and saying what you want in written form. The origins of these prints come from contemporary street style. This style is about color, contrast and most importantly; the message written on it. This kind of shirt is screen printed using one color, or for more dynamic prints can even be printed as a 4 color process. Another popular choice is to use vinyl for small print runs, since there are usually just a few solid colors involved in the design.

6 Black and White Prints

Black and white prints are something that everyone is used to seeing. This isn't a really new trend, but it is still one that is relevant. The allure of the high contrast shirts has everything to do with space. It is impossible for the eye not to concentrate on white lettering or shapes when surrounded by black. Likewise, you eye will automatically be drawn to the bold black helvetica that has been strategically placed on your clean white tee. This year we are going to see more of the white ink on black shirts as it really makes screen printed designs stand out. While it does create an interesting print, white inks can be tricky to screen print with. Printing with white ink takes proper artwork preparation as well as choosing the right mesh count. There are also classes that are dedicated to teaching people how to properly set up their next screen printing session using special effect inks and techniques.

5 The Dark Side of the Moon

The "space" trend, as it is often called, pays homage to the infinite discoveries that are yet to be made in the mysterious universe that we live in. Discoveries are made all over the world, everyday, by explorers and scientists, but there is still so much we can explore and learn. This trend tends to focus on the idea of space exploration, alien beings and catchy space related slogans - especially those for people that still can't handle Pluto not being a planet. Screen printing for this trend needs detail and reflective areas to represent constellations, movement and our unquenchable thirst for the unknown.

4 Boho Inspired  

"Boho" is an informal version of Bohemian. The term Bohemian came about during a movement of artist and poets in late 19th century France, especially in Paris. Bohemians believed in living outside of the bourgeois mainstream culture. In today's culture, the artsy style "boho" is expressed through thin geometric patterns and even takes on concepts and designs from Native cultures. This graphic print trend explores eclectic directions inspired by a passion for handcrafted and centuries-old techniques. Inspired by free-thinking and an appreciation for craftsmanship, this theme is a curated collection of textured surfaces and mixed patterns.

3 Faded Throwbacks

Everybody loves a new vintage t-shirt that looks 20 years old, so you’ve probably seen this trend quite a bit over the past several years especially with band t-shirts. A good tip, if you're going to screen print faded designs, is to make the typography work together with the colors. Complementary colors are a must for throwback designs. These shirts should also be soft. Remember, you're trying to give the illusion of an old and worn in shirt. So your shirt can't be crisp and brand new looking. The softer the shade of the shirt, the more natural your faded tee will look. White and black shirts take too long to fade and look worn. The screen printing technique will vary depending on the design. This is another great opportunity to play around with discharge inks to get that worn in look.

2 Geometry and Color Blocks

This trend sticks on the basic side of design. With the rise of more simplistic design, your underground electronic band tee is about to hit the mainstream. To get the right fit, it's important that the shirt complements the design. These shirts are usually kept to one color, so it makes an economical and quick screen printing option. When done well, geometric and color block designs can compliment a woman's curves and enhance the chest and arms for guys.

1 Accented Designs

Accented designs are another great example of contrast. Patterned accents bring attention to the elements of a t-shirt that would normally go ignored - pockets for example. By embellishing a t-shirt in this manner, the designer ads value to it without doing an overall design which means that the price of the shirt increases but not as much as one would expect.

What do you think about these trending designs? There is a lot of opportunity to try different screen printing techniques, test specialty inks and get creative with your designs. Are there any screen printing techniques that you would like to implement in your own shop? Let us know in the comment section!

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