Sports Wear

Is Your T-shirt Design Offensive?

People have come a long way from wearing a plain old t-shirt to a more stylish one. To design a t-shirt is to make oneself be known. T-shirt design has been effective in promoting and giving identity to a particular group of people, be it in school or outside of work. It has been a symbol of pride for people aiming for a cause.

It is all thanks to art that people now have the freedom to design a t-shirt and express themselves. This has led to a new movement in design. T-shirt has become an important tool for people who want to address their sentiments on issues concerning the society and the environment as a whole. Furthermore, it has been the go-to for obscene and satirical material.


HISTORY T-SHIRT PRINTING In the early days before t-shirt became a fashion statement, one important aspect often associated with t-shirt has been prevalent, and that is printing. The idea behind t-shirt printing can be traced back for more than 1100 years ago. This concept is known as block printing. It is a traditional method of printing wherein a wooden block is carved with a design. The wooden block is then dipped in an ink and pressed on the desired material.

Block printing becomes the foundation of the printing industry for the years to follow. Various printing techniques have been developed throughout history to make improvements to the existing method. A good example of which is screen printing. Screen printing is a more modern method developed by Andy Warhol aimed at reducing the labor of block printing which uses pieces of wood.

While block painting uses carved-out of wood, screen printing makes use of a silkscreen, a stencil, and a squeegee. The latter has a predetermined design making the process a lot easier. The resulting t-shirt will have a design patterned from the stencil. What makes screen printing an ideal printing method is due to its capability to be used in mass production. The process is efficient and with less error compared to block printing.


No one really knows how t-shirt has become popular. However, during the two World War, t-shirts were common among soldiers. It served as an undergarment and became part of their uniform.

In a post by Joobin Bekhrad, he stated that t-shirts have been in the fashion industry since the late 40s. Although it is during this time that t-shirts became a part of every closet, it was on the 70s that t-shirts really became public favorites.

It was the rise in popularity of bands with their logos that people, especially the fans, began to express their love for music in the form of t-shirt designs. Bands like Kiss, Rolling Stone, and AC/DC all contributed to the popularity of t-shirts.

He stated that to design a t-shirt is a skill that is effective in expressing ideas. Bekhard added that t-shirts are not only worn to show support for a band. It also became an important tool for the people to protest issues at that time such as the Vietnam War.


Probably one of the popular t-shirt for satirical agenda is one with the face of Che Guevara. The so-called “Che chic” has been created to mock the government. For the Che fanatics, the t-shirt is a symbol of nationalism and the fight against consumerism. However, the design has lost touch with its original purpose. It has now become a trend marked by consumerism and is oftentimes associated with terrorism.


HISTORY T-SHIRT PRINTING2The latter part of 2010 gave rise to internet memes. These are sometimes satire in origin or at times a mockery to just about anything in a person’s life. Now, memes are found all over the place. People will sometimes have the memes printed on their t-shirt to seek attention. However, there are cases where other people will have different interpretations. This is to say that memes tend to be provocative at times.

Consider the case of Topman, which was forced to withdraw its t-shirt due to its provocative text and sexist slogan. Just think about how powerful can the graphic or the texts on the t-shirt can be. As mentioned before, people will have a different understanding of the message of the t-shirt. There are those who will notice it and be uploaded to the internet because they think it is somewhat fun. The thing instantly hits popularity and gain a mix reaction.


People may have a different understanding when it comes to designing a t-shirt. This is the reason why the impressions it leaves behind is not interpreted the same by everyone. It cannot be denied that sometimes people will be annoyed. And such thing must not be taken for granted.

Anybody can have that carefree attitude in addressing their sentiments. However, there is always a better way on how to deal with things. One important thing to consider is the intentions as to why the graphics or the texts on the t-shirt are designed as such. Always understand the design before you wear the t-shirt.


Author Bio
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