Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Art Of The Funny T Shirt

When people think of funny t shirts many just think of a t shirt that is somewhat amusing. In truth funny t shirts can be so much more. They can be clever and offensive, cute and cuddly, or a pop culture reference and everything in between. Some funny t shirts are simply witty text shirts while some have brilliant graphics accompanying a humorous scenario whether with text or without. Each funny t shirt can be as individual as a snowflake, but in this case a snowflake with a sense of humor. Three types of funny t shirts worth diving into our witty text shirts, funny graphic t shirts, and pop culture humor tees.

Witty text t shirts are a staple of the funny t shirt art form. When someone has text on their shirt it's human nature to want to read it. Often times reading the shirt will provide both a laugh and the feeling of wow that was genius. Through most of history witty sayings and phrase have been contained in books. In the present era though it seems that wit has moved from books to t shirts. Mark Twain did not see shops like TypeTees from Threadless coming. Shirts such as I'm sure everyone thinks I'm paranoid and I may or may not be an indecisive person highlight shirts that are both funny and also make you think "wow that is pretty brilliant and true." Text shirts can be long phrases filled with philosophical comical musings or simple short doses of comedy, like the phrase "morning people suck." Long or short text shirts will be around to stay since there are so many clever phrases looking for a home on a t shirt.

Another art form of the funny t shirt is the funny graphic t shirt. This is usually a comical scenario depicted in images with great artwork to go along with the funny concept. Many times for funny graphic t shirts a representation that is well known such as a celebrity or cultural icon will be put in a different situation to add a new spin on a preexisting idea to make the design funny. For example Glennz Tees has made quite the name for itself taking a concept such as a person playing space invaders or space defenders the arcade game to flipping it so that an alien is playing space defenders. The combination of the crisp artwork and the clever concept produces a shirt that is both funny and hip. The fun part about wearing a funny graphic tee is that sometimes people are going to get the concept and laugh and sometimes they are going to miss the joke. Sometimes the joke can be so subtle that only a particular niche will get the reference if for example the t-shirt is referencing Star Wars or Harry Potter. The possibilities of clever concepts or references paired with art for funny graphic t shirts make it an art form that is not likely to go away.

A staple in the funny t shirt arsenal is the funny pop culture t shirt. These shirts can either be text based or combine some text with a graphic design. Funny pop culture t shirts usually refer to a movie, tv show, celebrity, or pop culture phenomenon. The company Busted Tees has become a phenomenal success for coming up with shirts that refer to movie lines like stay classy San Diego or big pop culture news like Conan leaving the tonight show with their shirt I'm with Coco By capitalizing on the popularity of the movie line or the outrage of Conan getting replaced by Jay Leno, Busted Tees is basically finding something that is hot at the time and putting their funny spin on it to captivate t shirt buyers. Funny pop culture t shirts can lead to major sales during the time that the pop culture reference is being talked about around the water cooler. It's important to keep in mind when designing a pop culture t shirt that your best bet is to reference a major pop culture phenomena. Even if you strike gold with a pop culture tee keep in mind that pop culture t shirts will usually hit a peak of popularity and can potentially just completely dwindle as the new pop culture reference springs up. However it's possible to come up with a never ending supply of great pop culture shirts if you look for what is buzzing and come up with a clever idea. Pop culture tees will sometimes show up in fan forums for whatever reference the tshirt is making which can lead to a lot of sales.


  1. I should start listening to the news again, huh??? Or maybe I'll just pay more attention to what's trending on twitter, lol.

    Good post as always, guys! I just finished a new funny piece that I'm going to promote today & tomorrow for my Martini Diva Boutique that's a paired art/text design - at least I hope people think it's funny . . . humorous tees are in the eye of the beholder.

  2. haha pop art diva I think you should stick with twitter over the news.

    When your martini diva boutique art text design is done tweet it to us @teesinapod for us to check out.