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Posted In T-Shirt Ideas

Famous Tee Shirts


Because we love T shirts, we wear them as casual and semi-casual garments. Some of us are never even seen without them. And, when it comes to T-shirt fashion, the variety lends itself to our personalities. We can opt for plain solid or striped Tees. We can also decide to personalize them even further. T shirt printing can help us express ourselves in any number of ways. In fact, for over a century, T shirt printing companies have created memorable phrases and designs that have become collectibles or, at least, have expressed the sentiments of the time.

Early T Shirt Printing Content

While the army and navy may have popularized t-shirts for the working class, Hollywood made use of basic T shirt printing lettering and designs to advertise their movies. The now famous The Wizard of Oz, released in 1939, features three men wearing simple green Ts sporting the slogan “Oz.” They are found in the scene where the Scarecrow is at the Wash & Brushup Company in Emerald City. This is now a rare collectible.

The media are also responsible for featuring another now famous Tee shirt. On July 13, 1942, LIFE magazine featured what has become known as the first printed tee shirt on their cover. It showed the Air Corps Gunnery School T-shirt. This may have been the first printed tee but, as we all know, it was not the last. T shirt printing became a popular media for companies as a means of advertising and personal expression in that century and the next.

The 1950’s: Enter the Mouse

Perhaps, the earliest most famous character to be printed on a tee was a Walt Disney Character. Mickey Mouse began to appear on Tees designed by a company known as Tropix Togs in Miami, Florida. Its founder was Sam Kantor. For decades, this company was to hold the exclusive rights to printing all of Walt Disney’s characters including Minnie, Mickey, and Davy Crockett. Printed T shirts were fast becoming a profitable business venture.

T Shirt Printing from the 1960’s Onward

When we think of the 1960’s, we think of tie-dyes. Yet, this era also saw the introduction of several famous printed slogans, some resulting from the new screen-printing process. Warren Dayton, famous for his psychedelic poster designs, came up with the iconic (and now classic) Cesar Chavez T shirt. Other printed designs from the 1960’s and 1970’s that remain memorable to this day feature such pop culture greats as the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones.

In the 1970’s, while political protest messages still remained, we find T shirt printing and designs that remain popular. The smiley face and its opposite are two. The Rolling Stones’ “tongue and lips” logo are another. In the 1984’s, the word “Relax” (which featured on a song banned by various radio stations) was printed on T-shirts in large capital letters. Both the song and the t-shirt became popular, reaching number one ‘on the air’ and on the street.

Yet, among the most prolific expressions of the times we still find in use are based on the campaign created for New York City by Milton Glaser. This is the “I Love New York” t-shirt with a small heart symbolizing “love.” It has since appeared on t-shirts all across the US, Canada, and other cities around the world.

T Shirt Printing Today

Today, T shirt printing encompasses a variety of materials, styles, and types. We proudly wear Tees boasting our support of various causes – political, social, or otherwise. We advertise for companies, and even place photos of those we love on our T shirts. In fact, T shirts insult, express, declare, and explain a lot about us – often with only a single printed word. This is something that can be easily accomplished by contacting a company such as One Hour Tees.