Blog, Industry Tips, Marketing, T-Shirts

The Most iconic T-shirt Designs in The Universe


W_ILNY_TEEI Love New York

This is both a logo and the Big Apple’s slogan. Originally designed in 1977 to promote tourism, the logo is still going strong and is often used in advertising campaigns. The design became particularly popular after September 11, when many visitors and locals wore this T-shirt to show their support for those affected by the terrorist attacks.

I’m with stupid

This one might not take any design (or subtlety) awards, but it’s still a popular choice. The origin is not clear, but it sure as hell isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

smiley-t-shirtThe Smiley Face

The original Smiley was designed over 50 years ago by the late Harvey Ross Ball as a logo for an assurance company to encourage employees to smile more. In 1972 Franklin Loufrani registered the Smiley for commercial use and began selling Smiley T-shirt transfers — whether Forrest Gump was the inspiration for it or not, is a different story.

Mickey Mouse

As a marketing tool, Mickey Mouse he has appeared on pretty much anything that can be printed on. The first T-shirt was born in the 40’s when the popularity of the character started to rise and till this day it is still loved by adults and children alike.


The Superman T-shirt has grown from the emblem used on Superman’s suit and is today one of the most popular pop culture symbols around.

keep-calm-t-shirtHard Rock Café

Wearing one shows what an international traveller you are (unless you bought yours on eBay). The garment was originally designed for a local London football team which Hard Rock sponsored, the left-overs were given away to customers and the rest is history.

Keep Calm

The possibilities are endless with this one. Just in case you didn’t know, “Keep Calm and Carry On” was a poster designed by the British government before the World War II to motivate the public.

Harley Davidson logo

If your logo is as great as the Harley Davidson one, why not show it off?

The Godfather

The “Distressed Puppeteer” shirt is one of the most classic film T-shirts you can find. Inspired by the excellent “puppet strings” scene, a T-shirt this cool is an offer you can’t refuse.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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