Predictions 2012–T-Shirt Art Trends by Dane Clement

If you are a frequent reader, you’ll know that I ususally reserve this time of year to post predictions from folks within the GroupeSTAHL family. I will be doing so the rest of this week and wanted to start things off with some thoughts on where artwork is headed in 2012 from one of our newest members, Dane Clement of Great Dane Graphics. As you know from my post yesterday, we are very excited about the new artwork from Great Dane Graphics that we will be able to offer our customers in 2012. Here Dane reports on where he gets his inspiration and what you can expect in terms of trends to follow in 2012.

Dane Clement shares some art trend predictions as well as where he finds inspiration. Thanks for your post Dane.

T-Shirt Art Trends to Watch

by Dane Clement

When I am working on new designs for a project, pop culture is always a source of inspiration. Watching TV, movies, or videos on the Internet can offer many clues as to what people want to wear and are looking for in a graphic. Oftentimes, it’s fairly easy to put a different twist on an existing icon or theme and make it your own. Keep your eye on what celebrities wear. Even if you don’t approve, they are big trendsetters. Walking around the mall for an hour, observing people and window shopping some of the trendier stores is another great way to make sure you are keeping in touch with current trends. I’ve even heard of some savvy shop owners inviting a group of local teenagers to be on an advisory board for their store. The students come by a couple times a year and over a couple of pizzas, the store owner shows them some of the newer styles and designs and gets their feedback. Teens go home with a shirt to wear to school, which also drums up sales. As far as what I have observed recently concerning evolving artwork trends, the vintage/retro look is here to stay. While predicated as a trend when it first hit this market many years ago, its staying power has proven it to be a staple offering that any decorated apparel shop must have.

Heraldry, which includes icons such as roses, skulls, crosses, scrolls, and fleur de lis, also is still predominant, so you’ll always want to feature at least a few of these types of designs in your selection. Animal prints continue to be strong and make great background or fill patterns for lettering and other design elements. Polka dots also are still very much in vogue with females. Textures also are strong and add interest to otherwise solid backgrounds, lettering or fills. Some of the most popular textures I have seen are industrial surfaces, water, and reptile skins such as snake and crocodile. Splatter also has been around for awhile, but is still appealing to a certain segment of the population. Camouflage is another pattern there is a definite market segment for. Skulls, which are sometimes incorporated as part of a heraldry design, also stand on their own. I’ve seen many variations on skull designs from menacing, to cartoon/friendly to abstract. Florals never go out of style completely with the female population, and seem to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance right now. Florals span all age ranges but not all age groups want the same type or look to florals. For the younger crowd, they can be designed with an edge or a grunge effect; for the older crowd, more traditional and familiar styles will be popular. Cartoon characters also continue to be a mainstay of the decorated apparel market.


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