Today’s Top Fonts for T-Shirts

Keep these font trends in mind when designing T-shirts

Up your decorating game with these font insights from veteran illustrator and graphic designer Pat Achilles and GraphicsFlow General Manager Craig Mertens.

“A good graphic starts with a good font,” explains Mertens. “The easiest way to wreck a design is poor font usage. Apparel-centric fonts that model retail fashion trends are critical. You can’t just slap a desktop publishing font into a T-shirt design and expect it to look good. Font selection is critical.”

Here are a few current font trends to keep your eye on:

1. Script fonts

(Image courtesy GraphicsFlow)

“A current trend is handwritten script fonts,” Mertens says. “These are definitely in the ‘cute’ category and a spinoff from the home decor industry.”

You can use these elaborate, flourish-filled fonts in three-word statements or in large formats since they’re a bit busy. “They convey a feeling of happiness and light-heartedness,” says Carolyn Cagle, owner of Strikke Knits Embroidery.

Achilles adds, “In addition to T-shirts, I’ve illustrated a number of children’s books and book covers, and right now hand lettering and calligraphy is a big force in that corner of the market. Script fonts give a personalized vibe, a veracity to the story as if the book’s plot is taken right out of the author’s or brand’s handwritten diary.”

2. Serif fonts

Pat Achilles created this logo for a commercial carpet cleaning company that wanted to project dependability, efficiency, and friendliness. She chose the font Badaboom BB for its strength and heft (qualities the employees need in moving furniture for cleaning). “The font also has a natural italic lean to it, which worked for the notion of speed that my graphic art of a steam cleaner with horizontal lines also represents,” she explains. (Image courtesy Pat Achilles)

“Banks and legal firms value stability and confidence so they most often use traditional, solid-looking serif typefaces,” Achilles says.

For businesses, Cagle has been using serif fonts as single word or letter images. “However, using a very bold sans serif font and inserting images inside of them results in a great screen-printed image,” she says.

3. Graphic Old English, Celtic, or medieval-style fonts

“These are huge with microbreweries and tattoo artists,” Cagle notes. “We’re also creating a lot of single words in Celtic typefaces paired with graphic woodblock images or Celtic knots.”

old English font typeface

4. Retro fonts

“Typefaces that communicate the ‘70s or ‘80s vibe are in,” Mertens says. “Another popular style in that vein are comic book fonts that emulate the fonts used in the logos for the Marvel and DC universes.”

(Image courtesy Graphics Flow)

5. Relaxed, relatable fonts

Service industries can use a wide variety of typefaces but they are usually more relaxed and relatable faces since these companies deal directly with customers and want to project friendliness and broad appeal. “I’ve designed T-shirts for a theater company that teaches children and teen improv troupes,” Achilles says. “Those designs are always fun and bouncy, mimicking the students’ humor and energy.”

Achilles created this logo for a faith-based counseling organization that wanted a warm, organic, feminine style. She chose the font Optimum Medium DB for its subtle thick/thin strokes, lovely curves, and the very round, open capital C. “Sometimes a particular initial letter in a title or name can singularly convey the right mood if you select the right font,” she says. “A tight, condensed capital C would have looked stingy compared to this spacious C, which I feel conveys the welcoming, encircling, embracing care of this organization’s brand.” (Image courtesy Pat Achilles)

6. Block athletic typefaces

“These fonts are always timeless,” Mertens says.

Tokyo t-shirt design. T-shirt design with Tokyo typography for tee print, poster and clothing. Japanese inscriptions - Tokyo and Japan. Vector


Laurie Prestine alphabroder

Laurie Prestine


Laurie is part of the marketing team for alphabroder, a supplier in the blank apparel industry. During her free time, Laurie likes to ride horses, sail, and spend time with her husband and her two children. Reach her at

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