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T-shirts are more than just clothing– they have undeniably become an important form of self-expression for the person wearing them, and a canvas for the artists who design them. With that in mind, we begin a new series highlighting some of the best T-shirt designers working today.
Each season, twelve handpicked T-shirt artists from around the world are featured. Designers are chosen based on their talent, originality, skill, style, range, body of work, and creative use of the T-shirt as a canvas.
For this first edition, we’re excited to feature artists from France, Russia, Indonesia, UK, Canada, the USA, and more. Without further ado, let’s look at some amazing work from the designers we selected for the fall of 2021.
Oleg Gert (Moscow, Russia) is an illustrator and art director with a talent for creating stylish and dynamic T-shirt artwork. His attention to detail along with a keen sense of color and shading give these designs richness and depth, bringing life to fantastical themes, crazy characters, badass heroes, and animals with attitudes. many of his designs use classic T-shirt design composition, but then twist it into something new and different, or, well… twisted. From the adorable to the horrible, Oleg takes his concepts to their maximum visual impact.
Check out examples of Oleg’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
The mysterious illustrator and T-shirt designer Budi Kwan (Indonesia) also goes by the names Picomodi and Radiomode, but his artwork is instantly recognizable across multiple platforms. His style is colorful and childlike, but with a distinctive retro-yet-contemporary art look. The simple shapes and forms of flowers and leaves, mountains and animals, coexist playfully across his many, many designs. What I like best is the undeniable positivity and joy that emits from every idea. These are the kind of shirts you can pair with a fashionable outfit and turn heads all day.
Check out examples of Budi’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Vincent Trinidad (Philippines) has an undeniably fun and whimsical design sensibility that flows through all of his work. His fascination with retro aesthetics, Japanese art, pop culture, and cute animals combine like a bowl of hot ramen in his mind to cook up T-shirt artwork that is both nostalgic and modern, and designed to bring a smile to people’s faces. What I really enjoy is his use of colors, the lovable character designs, and his playful approach that fuses together his interests into the hybridized creations he shares with the world.
Check out examples of Vincent’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Laura Frere (France) is a designer and pattern maker who works in a variety of mediums, such as pen and markers, vector graphics, acrylic, and watercolors. She takes her inspiration from esoteric themes like nature and space, as well as pop culture and pop art. Her watercolor look is on another level. Where I think she really shines is her T-shirt designs that feature hand-drawn elements arranged in a pattern style, to the point where they almost become a texture. These work great for the front of a shirt and especially appealing to those with a minimal design aesthetic.
Check out examples of Laura’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Damian Kidd (UK) is a graphic and web designer who specializes clean, strong, and iconic logo designs and branding for major companies with a focus on typography and geometric elements. What I love about his T-shirt designs, when he makes them, is they are minimal yet bold, taking basic shapes and making them interesting. He seems busy with some dynamic and interesting motion graphics and has been working in the exciting new NFT space (and according to his bio is a proud dad and loves eggs and soldiers), but I had to feature these simple yet striking designs.
Check out examples of Damian’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Hillary White Rabbit
Hillary White Rabbit (USA), it’s safe to say is one of the most prolific and popular T-shirt designers on the internet. It’s easy to love her mix of pop culture, surrealism, cute animals, and tongue-in-cheek positivity with a heavy side of cynicism. I’m especially impressed with her clever visual twists and nostalgic references. The fact that she clearly loves making T-shirt designs and coming up with fun ideas, along with her unapologetic sarcasm and dark humor have made her a favorite among T-shirt fans around the world. If these designs don’t make you laugh, check your pulse.
Check out examples of Hillary’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Angga Tatama (Indonesia) makes striking, colorful, and imaginative T-shirt designs that pop off the shirt. My favorite pieces by him have magical elements orbiting the main subject and filling out the composition. His illustrative style marries themes of history, space, technology, mysticism, and the animal world, fuzed together to form his trademark look, splashed all over thousands of T-shirts across the world. His hard work and dedication to the craft is inspiring.
Check out examples of Angga’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Jamie, aka Punksthetic (USA) is an incredibly talented and prolific T-shirt designer who manages to also do lots of professional graphic design jobs, create videos, come up with an original tarot card set, and even an ongoing graphic novel. His artwork is diverse in style but it all shares a sharp sense of humor, clever visual puns, and pop culture mashups that would surprise even the most die-hard fans. I especially enjoy his series of ugly sweater-style designs and the fantastically absurd cereals that no one would ever eat. But they’ll wear it on their shirt!
Check out examples of Jamie’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Enkel Dinka aka Buko
Enter the cosmic and magical world of Enkel Dinka aka Buko (North Macedonia), whose sublime and original T-shirt artwork is all over the web and worn all over the world. Astronauts and space are major themes in his designs and are always presented with a playful and interesting twist on modern life and the existential questions involved with being human. I love how his characters are often isolated, yet seem content on their adventure. Other designs tell visual short stories or subvert your expectations.
Check out examples of Enkel’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Stormy Fuego aka Melinda Clark (Canada) is a professional graphic designer who has created over 1000 designs for clients around the world. Her signature style is using hand-drawn typography to map the surfaces of her subjects, resulting in a unique blend of words and images. Many of the designs are beautiful and inspiring, and she does custom designs on request. She’s also one of the few designers featured whose shop is built into her website rather than relying on third-party storefronts. This is something I would recommend to every designer in the T-shirt game.
Check out examples of Stormy’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Geo Law (UK) is a hugely talented freelance illustrator who makes distinctive and eye-popping T-shirt designs. His colorful characters and bold doodle style are influenced by comic books, cartoons, computer games, film, and music. Check his portfolio and you might see something you recognize from a magazine or a mural. I really love the work he’s done for hip-hop artists like MF DOOM and Kendrick Lamar. With his impressive output and diversity, it’s easy to see why he’s enjoying so much success. Let’s hope more T-shirt designs are in the works for his busy schedule.
Check out examples of Geo’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Ilustrata (Brazil) is not one artist but a studio whose team is composed of three illustrators, Bruno Rodrigues, David Faraum, and Victor Kahn. I’m not sure who did what design, but does it matter? Their styles are more than complimentary– they blend together with inspiration from Japanese monster movies, pop culture, anime, and international advertisements. My favorites are the retro-looking prints with muted colors but dynamic graphics and expertly drawn characters that leap off the T-shirt. They have all kinds of printed products you can buy across many platforms (linked below) so what are you waiting for? Go get yourself some. I did.
Check out examples of Illustrata’s work below. Right-click and “open image in new tab” to see a larger version:
Hope you were inspired by these designs (and picked up some great new tees for yourself or your friends). If you’re a designer or know of a designer we should feature in the future, let us know with this short form.
See you next time!
About the Author
A graduate of the Multimedia program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Imri Merritt is an industry veteran with over 20 years of graphic design and color separations experience in the screen printing industry.