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Posted In T-Shirt Tips

Tips For Creating Vintage Looking Custom T-shirts


The vintage or retro look is always popular in everything from jeans and jackets to custom t-shirts. To make a vintage or retro tee shirt that looks authentic, there are some simple and easy techniques and style tips you can follow.

The key to getting a good feel for retro or vintage style starts with taking some time to look around online and really getting back into those designs. Remember there is specific time frame for the terms vintage or retro, but generally most people will be looking for design elements from the eighties or earlier to be considered in this category.

Color Choices

If you look back at the color choices offered in custom t-shirts from the 80s and earlier, you will find they are basic yet rich colors. There were lots of red, oranges, blues, blacks, and greens used in the designs with different shades to give depth to the images.

By staying with the basic colors which were printed on the shirts using traditional screen printing, you will keep the design very authentic. We have those colors available through the direct to garment printing option and, with over 16 million colors to choose from, we can ensure you get the perfect match.

Washed and Worn

To give a faded out look to the vintage tee shirt and make it look authentic, we recommend you overlay the image with a layer to create the cracked and worn look of many washes and trips through the dryer.

Not only does this give the used look, but it actually helps to enhance the visual appeal of the image. Many of our customers choose to fade out part of the image as if it has already been lifted off the surface of the shirt.

The exact term to describe this look is “distressed”. Small dots or irregular shapes in a half tone or a tone of lighter color provides an old school look that can be enhanced or lightened to give just the look you want.

Fonts and Graphics

While you may want to stick with the traditional graphics and font types used on those old custom t-shirts, we have seen some new fonts and new images that would really look great as an old school theme.

There are no hard and fast rules about creating a vintage look for your t-shirt designs. By utilizing a distressed look and sticking to the more traditional colors, you can create a vintage look with any type of graphic design.