Urban T-Shirts for Digital Design and Print Projects

Urban design is striking, unique, and innovative; it arises from the ability to blend different shapes, textures, and colors, impacting cultural and social levels. It represents personal identity, community belonging, inclusivity, and diversity. Urban designs have served as a catalyst for shifting cultural perceptions, challenging stereotypes, and promoting acceptance of a wide range of styles and expressions. T-shirts of this kind are a garment with a design reflecting urban culture, showcasing significant diversity.

I have always loved urban style, but finding t-shirts with the characteristics of urban fashion has been quite a challenge. Silhouettes, graphics, and colors are important to me when choosing the ideal t-shirt. From this, I decided to start making my own t-shirts because none in the market satisfied me. I bought plain t-shirts and decided to print them with the designs I found here at ByPeople, not only because they are exclusive, but also because they have the characteristics I like in urban t-shirts: appropriate colors, typography, and graphics that are in line with the designs.

At first, I did it as a personal hobby, but people started asking me where I got these t-shirts, and I always proudly answered that I made them myself, so over time, I decided to start selling them on demand. This way, I found another source of income and found my perfect t-shirts.

So if you want to have that experience too and think about making a business with urban t-shirt designs, we´ll explain to you here all the things you have to know about it.

Elements of Urban T-Shirt Design

The graphic elements of an urban t-shirt design hold significant importance in capturing the essence of urban culture and conveying unique messages. These elements serve as visual expressions of individuality, style, and identity, allowing wearers to showcase their personal tastes and affiliations. Whether it’s bold typography, striking illustrations, or iconic symbols, each graphic element contributes to the overall aesthetic and storytelling of the design. Here are the elements.

1. Colorful Graffiti or Street Art

Graffiti and street art are forms of urban art often used in T-shirt designs. T-shirts with graffiti or street art tend to be colorful and eye-catching, conveying a message of rebellion or individuality.

This is why street art has been considered emblematic and widely used. You can observe this in the t-shirt. The design features a visually appealing artwork of a city map, showcasing all the transit routes in a creative and illustrated manner. The main focus is on simplicity and a modern urban aesthetic, making it suitable for both men and teenagers. 

2. Urban Symbols Expressions

Urban symbols, such as iconic buildings, monuments, or icons from pop culture, are also popular in urban T-shirt designs. T-shirts featuring urban symbols can be a way to express pride in the city or local culture. Some of the highlighted symbols include

Geometric Shapes: Triangles, squares, and circles are used in 70% of the designs due to their simplicity and ease of recognition (Spreadshirt Design Guide, 2022).

Abstract Forms: 20% of the designs experiment with abstract shapes and lines for a more creative and unique look (Bonfire Artist Resources, 2023).

3. Silhouette Shapes

10% of the designs use silhouettes of landmarks or iconic figures to create a sense of place or identity. (Designhill Trend Report, 2024)

This type and variety of urban symbols can be found in this urban t-shirt called “Topographic map with I have accompanied design” it features a topographic map as the main object, overlaid with accompanying artwork and illustrations. The style is aimed at men and teenagers, with a streetwear aesthetic and urban vibe.

At least from a personal standpoint, urban symbols have accompanied my life as they have represented me over time. These designs, related to lifestyle and street art, give me the identity I need to stand out in society, among my friends, and to feel a bit more unique. Throughout my experiences in the quest for a personal identity, I encountered different styles and designs.

Initially, I couldn’t find any that could represent me with the strength and authenticity that characterizes my personality. I was always aware that I liked vintage styles with a touch of modernity, but I couldn’t find anything. This is where urban designs became my reference point from the moment I found them because their visual, graphic, and communicational significance resonates with me.

Useful Fonts and Typefaces

1. Sans-serif Types

Sans-serif fonts, such as Arial or Helvetica, are the most popular in urban t-shirt design. They are easy to read and have a clean, modern look. For example, these designs that you can find with us Iconic and traditional London double-decker buses design. 

The design features an iconic and traditional London double-decker bus as the main object. The bus design is illustrated in black, giving it a sleek, urban look. The design is aimed at men and teenagers, with a stencil effect adding a modern touch.

The background is white, providing a clean and crisp aesthetic. The colors used in the design are red, white and black, with red being the traditional color of London buses. 

2. Graffiti and Script Fonts

Graffiti fonts, such as Wild Style or Bubble, are another popular choice for urban t-shirt design. They have an urban and rebellious appearance that can be very striking. Script fonts, such as Curlz MT or Brush Script, can be used to create a more casual or artistic look. They are a good option for t-shirts with personalized phrases or messages. Likewise, in some designs fonts are combined. Anyway, here is a poster where is resume everything about graphic elements. 

An example of this can be found in this urban t-shirt called “Silhouette of new york with background phrase design” It features a captivating silhouette of the iconic cityscape of New York, with its famous landmarks and buildings forming the main object. The silhouette is elegantly showcased against a background adorned with a stylish and visually appealing phrase design.

These elements will help ensure that the graphics of your designs are coherent and visually appealing. If you want something more concise and easy to understand, we’ll show you this poster where you can take a closer look at the graphic elements of urban-designed shirts. Remember, every detail counts!

Created with ByPeople Composer

However, Redbubble design trends reported in 2022 that 80% of urban t-shirt designs use large, bold fonts for maximum visual impact, while Printful Style guide (2022) states that 65% of urban designs favor sans-serif fonts for their modern, clean look, and Threadless trend forecast for 2024 considers that 40% of designs will incorporate graffiti-style or stencil-inspired fonts for a raw, bold feel. That is to say, in fonts, the one that stands out and is used the most is bold and large letters.

In addition to these types of fonts, other types can also be used, such as serif fonts, decorative fonts or handwritten fonts.. Choosing the appropriate font will depend on the specific design of the t-shirt and the message you want to convey.

Created with ByPeople Composer

Taking into account all these characteristics, it’s also important to add that urban-designed t-shirts are not only for adults, the designs found on urban-style t-shirts are not only for young and adult populations, there are also exclusive designs for children. These days, I was looking for what the fashion trends for children were, and I was surprised to find that urban designs, due to the current sociocultural context, are on the rise. 

Music and fashion have come together, and this trend has been spread from young people to children, as we all want to be trendy and this age group is no exception. However, I wanted to ask one of my nephews why children like this movement, and he told me that he liked these designs and style because they made him feel “cool”, besides, the colors, letters, and messages made him feel “bigger” and different from the childish trend. We see then how these urban t-shirt designs can be for everyone, the idea is to wear what you like and what is in fashion.

What type of characters do these designs have?

Urban style t-shirt design often incorporates a variety of characters that reflect urban culture and aesthetics 55% of designs feature characters or illustrations related to urban life, such as street art, graffiti or cityscapes (Printify artist spotlight 2022) as the following:

1. Graffiti Artists, Skaters and Bikers

One of the main elements of urban designs is graffiti, so to understand the essence of urban culture, you need to know who the characters are that are part of this scene. In the list of graffiti artists are Banksy, Vhils, C215, Gonzalo Borondo, Invader, and Loomit.

Banksy, despite his identity remaining unknown to this day, has become one of the most important urban artists, as his designs allude to criticism and social issues. On the other hand, Vhils is a Portuguese street artist, who uses walls as his canvas, not only using paint but also textures to create his graffiti.

Borondo has painted graffiti in different cities in Europe. Similarly, Invader is known for his mosaic paintings, using tiles reminiscent of pixels from early computer games, immortalizing video game characters, and Loomit, who made history in German street art as the “Geltendorf train”.

Also, figures that represent the culture of urban skaters and cyclists, with skateboards, bicycles, or related elements. For example, you can find skaters like Tony Hawk, a legendary figure in skateboarding, known for his ability to excel on the street.

You could also find Tara Lipinski, who won a gold medal in the women’s category in 1998, and Ryan Sheckler, known for his smooth style and versatility in both street and vert skateboarding. He gained fame at a young age and has been a prominent figure in the skateboarding community for years. You can find them in urban designs for their legendary work.

2. Hip-Hop and Urban Icons

Characters inspired by hip-hop figures, such as rappers, DJs, or breakdancers. For example, some of the figures you can find in urban designs are the famous Tupac Shakur, an influential rapper in culture and social activism. Jay-Z, a highly successful rapper, entrepreneur, and record executive known for his lyrical prowess, business acumen, and contributions to the hip hop industry.

Eminem, a prolific rapper known for his technical skill, rapid delivery, and provocative lyrics. He’s one of the best-selling artists of all time and has won numerous awards for his music.

Kanye West, a polarizing rapper, producer, and fashion designer known for his influence on hip hop and popular culture, among others. These figures can be found on your urban tees as they will always be emblematic characters.

Also, are important the symbolic elements of the city, such as skyscrapers, bridges, streetlights, which give a characteristic touch to the design. Urban icons help ensure that every detail in the design represents and communicates something, as it is important to contextualize each design with what is seen and considered urban in reality. Therefore, we will explain in detail what each element consists of, making each design iconic.

3. Street and Night Characters

Representations of ordinary people found in urban environments, such as pedestrians, construction workers, street vendors, etc. You can find these types of characters in this print with us, this rapper designed with black and white polygons design features a creatively designed rapper figure using a combination of black and white polygons.

This unique piece of art is inspired by hip hop culture and is designed specifically for men, musicians and teenagers who appreciate street fashion.

The color palette predominantly revolves around a monochromatic theme, with shades of white, black and gray. The text incorporated into the design is bold and uses a sans serif font, conveying the powerful and confident message of “It’s still”

Also, urban t-shirt designs are inspired by urban nightlife, such as DJs, clubbers, or elements associated with nightlife. One of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, an urban symbol, can be found in this design, empire state with united states flag design, it features a beautifully drawn illustration of the iconic Empire State Building, adorned with a United States flag design, the overall style of the design is a delightful combination of feminine and masculine elements, making it attractive to both girls and men. The dominant colors used in the design are patriotic red, blue, and gray.

4. Pop Art, Retro and Surreal Figures

Colorful, stylized representations inspired by pop art, often used to convey messages in striking ways. It should be noted that the 30% of urban designs have elements from movies, music or television shows to appeal to specific fan bases (Threadless artist survey, 2023) as is the case of this, Cartoon T-Shirt Designs, Pop Culture Characters. It contains a wide variety of characters inspired by popular media, such as movie and comic book heroes and villains, anime and video game characters, musicians and singers, and many others.

Retro characters are inspired by styles from past decades, such as the 80s or 90s, they add a vintage touch to the design. You can find characters you probably know, like Mario, Indiana Jones, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Scooby-Doo, Pac-Man. All these characters are retro and live constantly in people’s minds, so they love wearing them printed on their shirts to relive the spark that these shows and characters caused them in their childhood.

Surreal characters may have fantastic or dreamy elements. Surreal characters hold a profound significance in the lives of individuals, offering a gateway to realms of imagination and creativity that transcend the confines of reality. Their unconventional nature allows people to escape the mundane and explore fantastical worlds where anything is possible. These characters inspire innovation, challenge conventional thinking, and serve as vehicles for exploring complex emotions and existential themes. 

What Do These Designs Communicate?

One of the elements of urban designs are phrases and messages, since they can be a simple but effective way to express an idea or a feeling. T-shirts with urban quotes or messages can be a way to make a social or political statement or simply express your personality.

They communicate a variety of attitudes and styles that reflect the culture and aesthetics of urban life. Attitude and personal style make urban designs become a visual expression, transmitting confidence, rebellion, humor or any other attitude that we want to represent, this in turn makes us part of something, in this case, subcultures, such as skateboarding, hip-hop, graffiti, among others.

Another point is the social and political messages, which impact a critique of urban life, with positions on issues such as equality, social justice, sustainability, etc. They also communicate having an active lifestyle, a connection with pop culture, values ​​and beliefs.In addition to messages with a critical connotation, urban designs with humor and satire are a key factor. 45% of urban t-shirt designs incorporate humor or satire to connect with the public on a lighter note. (Society6 Artist Survey, 2022) An example is this t-shirt that reflects that “Great monster accompanied by a phrase design

Likewise, a case that has been an example of the impact of cultural identity and that has helped a certain community to delimit itself at a sociocultural level, its one group of skateboarders with whom I worked on an opportunity to take some photos of the t-shirts with urban designs. Throughout the session I wanted to investigate why they, like me, had a certain fascination with the urban, specifically this type of design, since it was who initially made the approach to be able to have the session, which they agreed.

What surprised me about the response of one of the skateboarders was that he mentioned that it helped him identify them as such, the whole outfit, t-shirt, logos, style and skateboard said skateboarding in a first impression and that was what they wanted to reflect on society.This is the impact that a design can have on a person or group of people, something that we may think does not happen, but it does a lot.

Inspiration for Urban T-Shirt Designs

It is important, in addition to understanding the theory, to have certain examples that help us find the perfect design for us. Therefore, here we leave you more than twenty designs that you can get with us. We assure you that each design is unique, authentic, and vital, highlighting the essence of the urban and the culture it brings with it.

Train tracks in new york in neon colors design

The design features a vibrant and eye-catching representation of New York’s train tracks, rendered in a neon color scheme. The overall design style is a fusion of art and illustration, incorporating elements of neon, streetwear, synthwave and a touch of urban teen culture.

The main object, the train tracks, is designed to stand out and attract attention, capturing the bustling energy of the city.

Sunrise between buildings in Tokyo design

The design features a captivating illustration of a sunrise between buildings in Tokyo. The main object of attention is the impressive sunrise, which serves as the central element of the design. The design style is inspired by anime, manga and Japanese art, creating a visually appealing and vibrant representation.

The color palette consists of yellow, magenta and black, creating a striking contrast and adding depth to the design. The fonts used in the design are a combination of bold, sans serif and script, which enhances the overall aesthetic.

Man gazing at the sun with a pair of sunglasses on design

The design features a central object of a man gazing at the sun while wearing a pair of sunglasses. The overall style of the design is inspired by the 80s, with an artistic and distressed look.

It is illustrated, depicting a male figure in a retro and urban setting, perfect for capturing the essence of summer and the teenage spirit.

Bridge of San Francisco with a phrase design

The design features a beautifully illustrated depiction of the iconic Bridge of San Francisco. The main focus is on the bridge itself, which is showcased in a vibrant and eye-catching manner.

The design has a playful and youthful vibe, with elements that cater to both children and teenagers. It can be use for teenagers or adults that want to look cool and modern.

Pedestrian crossing lines design

The Pedestrian crossing lines design is a visually captivating artwork that combines aesthetic elements with a black and illustrated style.

It is specifically designed to appeal to men, streetwear enthusiasts, teenagers, and urban fashion aficionados with a penchant for vintage aesthetics.

Tokyo streets while it rains design

The design showcases a girl walking under the rain, adding a sense of narrative and intrigue to the overall composition. The color palette of the design revolves around the captivating contrast of orange and black, evoking a sense of mystery and excitement.

The bold orange hues symbolize the vibrant city lights reflecting on the wet streets, while the black adds depth and sophistication to the overall composition. With its captivating color palette, bold fonts, and evocative text.

Parkour silhouette jumping design

The design is specifically targeted towards boys, children, teenagers, and men who are interested in sports and urban culture, it is primarily composed of black color, with highlights of yellow for added vibrancy.

The text “Rooftop Runaway” is incorporated using a sans serif font, further enhancing the modern and urban feel of the design.

Boy watching a sunrise among tokyo buildings design

The design features a captivating main object of a boy watching a sunrise among Tokyo buildings. The style of the design draws inspiration from anime, boy, children, girl, illustrated, kids, and manga, creating a visually appealing and whimsical feel.

The chosen colors for this design are orange, yellow, and black, which enhance the vibrancy and energy of the overall composition.

Statue of Liberty with the U.S. flag and city in the background design

The design features a magnificent depiction of the Statue of Liberty, standing tall and proud, with the iconic U.S. flag gracefully draped around its base.

The background showcases a vibrant and bustling cityscape, highlighting the lively energy and spirit of the United States.

Classic car on the road at night design

The design features a classic car driving on a road at night, with a focus on the car itself. The overall style of the design is primarily black and white, with touches of color in yellow and green.

The car is drawn in a retro style, with a sleek and elegant appearance. The design also includes a few men, possibly driving or admiring the car. The font used is a script style.

The New York skyline reflected design

The main object of this design is the New York skyline reflected design, which serves as the central focus. The style of the design can be described as artwork, with elements of black, distressed, grunge, illustrated, stencil, streetwear, teenager, and urban aesthetics.

The color palette for this design primarily consists of yellow, black, and violet, creating a bold and vibrant look.

Photo of a starry night with a big flash at the end design

The design features a photo of a starry night with a big flash at the end, giving it a mysterious and captivating feel. The overall style is a mix of urban and teenager, with a touch of boy and girl elements. color scheme includes shades of blue, white, and black, creating a modern and trendy look.

The fonts used are bold and display, adding to the overall edgy vibe of the design. The text “Under the milky way” is featured prominently, adding a sense of wonder and enchantment to the overall aesthetic.

Map of the city with the streets and traffic routes design

he design features a map of the city, showcasing the intricate network of streets and traffic routes. The main focus is on highlighting the pathways and routes for convenient navigation. The design style is a combination of various elements, including a touch of femininity, urban aesthetics, simplicity, and a hint of adolescence.

The design caters to both girls and boys and incorporates illustrations to enhance the visual appeal.

Japanese car with a sunset and city in the background design

The design features a Japanese car as the main object, set against a stunning backdrop of a sunset and cityscape. The overall style of the design is a blend of anime, artwork, and manga influences, with a graphic Japanese twist.

The car is illustrated in a retro, bold style, with attention to detail and a focus on men’s interests.

Classic motorcycle with comic style biker design

The design features a classic motorcycle with a cartoon-style biker design, using a drawn and illustrated technique. The main focus is on the motorcycle and the biker, both depicted in a retro style.

The design is geared towards men, with bold and vibrant colors of orange, green, black, and grey used throughout.

Boy watching a sunrise among tokyo buildings design

The design features a captivating main object of a boy watching a sunrise among Tokyo buildings. The style of the design draws inspiration from anime, boy, children, girl, illustrated, kids, and manga, creating a visually appealing and whimsical feel.

The chosen colors for this design are orange, yellow, and black, which enhance the vibrancy and energy of the overall composition.

Colorful music system with phrase accompaniment design

The design features a colorful music system with a unique phrase accompaniment. It incorporates elements from various styles such as artwork, hip hop, illustrated, music, musician, and urban. The color scheme consists of vibrant shades including yellow, blue, and maroon, which add a lively and energetic feel to the design.

Brooklyn Bridge in black and white design

The design features a captivating portrayal of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, rendered in a bold and striking black and white style. The artwork showcases a distressed and grunge aesthetic, adding a touch of urban flair. The design is targeted towards men and teenagers, giving it a modern and edgy appeal.

The inclusion of the USA flag symbolizes the bridge’s significance as a national landmark.

City silhouette with birds flying over the city accompanied by a phrase design

The design features a black illustrated city silhouette with birds flying over it, creating a simple and urban feel. The design is geared towards men and teenagers, with a stencil-like quality.

The color palette is limited to black and beige, adding to the simplicity of the design. The text “Surf sun serenity” is incorporated into the design using bold and display fonts, adding a touch of script for added visual interest.

Created with ByPeople Composer

In conclusion, street style t-shirt designs are varied and can incorporate a unique combination of typography, colors, illustrations and messages to convey the attitude and energy associated with street culture. Creativity and authenticity are usually key aspects in this type of design, demonstrating that it goes beyond the visual, but rather becomes a personal experience that helps show who we are, cultural identity, how we think and how we want us to be defined in society.

In fact, urban design has a profound impact,  influencing everything from how people live, work, and play to how they interact with their surroundings and each other. By prioritizing principles of sustainability, equity, and community engagement, urban t-shirt designs can create in people who used the t-shirts that cities and neighborhoods are inclusive, resilient, and free.


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