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1. The importance of selecting the right font for your t-shirt designs

16 best t-shirt fonts for print on demand businesses

If you sell t-shirts, choosing the best fonts for t-shirts plays a critical role in the effectiveness of your product design and marketing strategy. Your font selection affects the look and feel of your shirt, influencing whether it engages shoppers aesthetically and emotionally. A good font should also make your quirky t-shirt designs legible.

But there are thousands of fonts available. How do you pick the best t-shirt font for your design and target audience? Use our guide to help you select the best t-shirt fonts for your business.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • T-shirt fonts establish the look and feel of your design and define your brand.

  • T-shirt fonts are distinguished by weight, style, width, and whether they use decorative features such as serifs.

  • The most popular t-shirt fonts use sans-serif, serif, and script designs.

  • When selecting fonts, consider marketing, theme, design, legibility, and licensing.

  • Combine fonts selectively to achieve an effect.

Let’s start by considering why it’s so important to choose your t-shirt font design carefully:

The importance of selecting the right font for your t-shirt designs

T-shirt fonts possess several qualities that can make or break the effectiveness of your product design and sales strategy. T-shirt fonts:

  • Establish the look and feel of your t-shirt designs

  • Set the mood shoppers associate with your custom t-shirt designs

  • Determine whether a t-shirt design is legible

  • Reflect on your brand image and professionalism

  • Affect your brand reputation

These factors make choosing the right fonts critical for the success of your designs and your t-shirt business. Choosing the wrong font can ruin the effect of a t-shirt design even if the artwork and color are designed well. On the other hand, an outstanding font selection can help offset issues with artwork or color or enhance the impact of an effective design. This makes investing in the right t-shirt font well worth your time.

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Best t-shirt fonts for effective t-shirt designs

Below, you’ll find a list of sixteen of the best fonts for your custom t-shirt designs. Before going through our list, it will help to know a bit about fonts and what makes different font styles distinct.

  • Fonts, also known as typefaces, define the design of letters and other symbols that appear on t-shirts. Fonts differ in a number of key characteristics:

  • Weight: The weight of a font refers to the thickness of its lines compared to the height of its letters. Weight determines how bold or how light a font looks.

  • Style: Font style refers primarily to whether a font is upright or slanted. Some slants stand vertically upright. Others, known as oblique, have a slant, usually from left to right. Both upright and oblique fonts can be slanted in a cursive style, referred to as italics. Some styles have additional characteristics, such as different size options for a given letter and specific looks for numbers.

  • Width: Some fonts may vary the width of their letters by offering compression and expansion options. Some fonts look more stretched, while others look more compact.

  • Serifs and scripts: Many fonts fall into large groupings based on a few key characteristics. One major division revolves around whether fonts attach small lines or strokes known as serifs to the ends of larger letters and numbers. Fonts that use serifs are called serif fonts, while ones that do not are called sans serif fonts. The serif and sans serif classifications serve to group fonts into large families, each containing many individual font styles. Another major grouping is script fonts, which emulate cursive writing and calligraphy.

Fonts may have other characteristics besides the ones listed above, but these are some of the most important. Font designs help determine the look and feel of a font, establishing whether it is traditional or modern, formal or informal, professional or playful, serious or humorous, and so on.

Now let’s look at some of the most popular t-shirt font options:

1. Roboto

roboto font

Created by Google in 2011, Roboto has become popular as the default font for Android devices and Google services such as YouTube. It is a sans-serif font classified as “neo-grotesque,” from an Italian word for “cave,” referring to this font group’s primitive simplicity. It uses weights varying from thin and light on one end of the spectrum to bold and black on the other. Roboto t-shirt fonts come in oblique options rather than true italics. Roboto combines a sense of simplicity and modernity.

2. Proxima Nova

proxima nova font

Created in 2005 by type designer Mark Simonson, Proxima Nova is today’s most popular commercial font online. It is a sans-serif font that combines the modern simplicity of the neo-grotesque group with an emphasis on perfect shapes, borrowed from another elegant font grouping known as geometric fonts. Originally designed with three different weights with italics options, it has expanded to include seven weights with three widths in italics. Normal, condensed, and extra-condensed options are available.

3. Futura

futura font

Futura has been around since 1927, when it emerged alongside the Bauhaus design style. It is a sans-serif font from the geometric grouping. It places a strong emphasis on circles, triangles, and squares. It conveys a sense of futuristic efficiency with vintage charm.

4. Oswald

oswald font

Font designer Vernon Adams developed Oswald and maintained it until a scooter accident in 2014, leading to his death two years later. Adams designed Oswald to rework an earlier font called Alternative Gothic, which has been in use since 1903 and is still used today in YouTube’s logo. Like other Gothic fonts, Oswald is a sans-serif font. It offers seven weights ranging from extra light to heavy regular. It is a free, bold font that is in keeping with the philosophy Adams espoused.

5. Bebas Neue

bebas neue font

Bebas Neue was designed by Japanese type designer Ryoichi Tsunekawa in 2005. It is a free sans-serif modern font characterized by strong lines, pleasing shapes, and simplicity. It comes in forty styles, each with three widths, six to seven weights, and italics options. Its uses include headlines, captions, tilting, and packaging.

6. Impact

impact font

Impact was designed in 1965 by advertising design director Geoffrey Lee for use on posters and publicity material. It has gained popularity online since Microsoft began including it with Windows in 1998. It is a sans-serif bold font characterized by thick weight, compressed spacing, and minimal interior area for letters such as “o” and high letters. It comes in regular, bold, and condensed styles. It works well for displaying large messages against white space but can be hard to read at a small size.

7. Montserrat

montserrat font

Argentine graphic designer Julieta Ulanovsky designed Montserrat in 2011 under the influence of posters, signs, and windows from the early twentieth century. It is a geometric, simple sans-serif font that uses tall letters, short extensions of letters below the baseline, and wide interiors. It is easy to read, even in small sizes.

8. Baskerville

baskerville font

Baskerville is a serif font designed in the 1750s by English type designer John Baskerville, who had a background teaching handwriting and cutting letters into stone and metal. As a fun font, it uses sharp lines and high contrasts, making it highly legible. It features six different styles, including bold and italics options.

9. Georgia

georgia font

British type designer Matthew Carter created Georgia for Microsoft in 1993 in collaboration with Apple type designer Tom Rickner. They designed it to be easy to read on computer screens of small sizes or low resolution. Georgia is a fun font in serif style that uses bold weights, width, and spacing to provide legibility. It comes in regular, bold, italic, and bold italic options.

10. Garamond

garamond font

Garamond is a family of serif fonts named for sixteenth-century French engraver Claude Garamond, who sought to make the look of pen-and-ink handwriting legible in print. The original Garamond font has been modified since its introduction. It employs fine serifs for an elegant, informal look. It can be hard to read in small sizes. Publishers use Garamond for book printing to exude vintage charm.

11. Self Modern

self modern

Self Modern was designed in 2016 by French Self Modern was designed in 2016 by French typographer Lucas Le Bihan under the influence of Japanese typefaces. It is a serif font that uses even spacing for high legibility, and this stylish design comes in text, regular, and italic styles.

12. ChunkFive

chunkfive font

Introduced in 2009 by The League of Moveable Type open-source foundry, ChunkFive takes its inspiration from American Old West woodcuts, posters, and newspapers. It uses a type of bold serif font called slab serif, where the serifs get squared off to give the text a blocked shape. It employs fat, bold letters. True to its source, it works best for large display formats.

13. Brush Script

brush script font

Brush Script was invented in 1942 by American typographer Robert E. Smith for the American Type Founders trust. It is an elegant font (script) that uses a cursive style imitating handwriting with an ink brush. It has an informal, casual feel. It often appears on posters and invitations. It can be difficult to read, especially in smaller sizes.

14. Damion

damion font

Damion is another free fun font designed by Vernon Adams. It is a script font that uses a cursive style with big, open letters. It is designed to be legible online. It is light and best used for large displays.

15. Lobster


Lobster is a free script font designed by Argentine typographer Pablo Impallari. It uses bold, condensed cursive letters in a casual style. It uses the OpenType format to support multiple variations of letters and letter combinations. It works best for large displays with a stylish design.

16. Pacifico


Pacifico is another free script font designed by Vernon Adams. It uses a curly, informal cursive style, making it an eye-catching font. It comes in light, regular, and bold styles.

How to choose the best font for your t-shirt design

Now that you’re more familiar with some of your options let’s review some guidelines for how to choose the best fonts for your t-shirt designs. Some of the most important considerations are:

  • Marketing

  • Theme

  • Composition

  • Legibility

  • Licensing

Let’s explore these issues:

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Your selection of t-shirt fonts affects your marketing by shaping how your target audience perceives your brand. Factor in your brand identity and target market when selecting your font. For example, suppose you’re doing quirky t-shirt designs for kids. In that case, you’ll want a more playful font than if you’re designing t-shirts depicting an inspirational message for adults. If you want to position your company as a luxury clothing brand, you’ll want a font that suggests quality. Choose a font consistent with your branding strategy and target market.


Your fonts should reinforce the themes of your custom t-shirt designs. Consider both the artwork and the textual message that will go with your font. For example, a font that serves as a logo should look good when spelling out the name of the company being portrayed. A font carrying a message should have a tone consistent with the mood being conveyed.


Artistically, the look of your font should support the overall composition of your t-shirt designs. Consider factors such as your font’s size, weight, spacing, color, and appearance against your t-shirt’s background. Choose a font that complements the look of your custom t-shirt designs.


A good font should be legible. Legibility becomes especially important if your t-shirt has a message containing a long string of words, such as a quote. Consider whether your selected font will be easily read up close and from a distance.


US copyright law doesn’t protect the artistic design of typefaces, but it does protect software programs used to create fonts. Because fonts are digitized today, you may need a license to use the software for generating some fonts. Check whether the font you want is licensed for commercial use and whether any required fees fall within your budget.

Tips for combining fonts

combining fonts

With so many bold fonts available to choose from, you may wonder about combining multiple font styles. While you certainly can create t-shirt designs using a single font, you may find combining fonts achieves a look closer to your artistic vision. Here are some tips to follow if you decide to combine fonts in your t-shirt designs:

Avoid using too many different fonts

While you can combine multiple fonts effectively, the more fonts you use, the more likely they will clash. To avoid this, stick to two or three fonts at the most for your custom t-shirt designs.

Use fonts with similar x-heights

To make sure your fonts fit together, use fonts with similar heights. You can gauge this by taking a baseline from the height of the lowercase “x” character, known as the “x-height” or “corpus height.” Select fonts with similar x-heights to achieve cohesion and balance.

Select fonts to achieve a visual effect

If you combine popular fonts, you should do so to achieve a specific visual effect rather than mixing them randomly. Consider the impact you want your design to have, whether you need one or more fonts to achieve that effect, and what types of fonts would support your objective. For example, could you combine bold and light fonts to highlight a certain word?

Develop a font hierarchy

You may find it helpful to organize your fonts into a visual hierarchy. For example, suppose your t-shirt design has a primary and a secondary message. In that case, you might select a larger, bolder font for your main message and a smaller, more delicate font for a subheading. Experiment with different font placements to develop your font hierarchy.

Create beautiful t-shirt designs with Gelato

Font selection plays a major role in establishing the look and feel of your custom t-shirt designs and their commercial success. When selecting a font, make sure it matches your marketing strategy, artistic vision, and budget. Use the guidelines above to help you choose the best t-shirt fonts for your designs.

Our Gelato+ package gives you hundreds of font designs to choose from. We make it easy for you to get your designs into production with our print on demand t-shirt technology. Gelato enables local, on-demand production on a global scale through the world’s largest network for production on demand. Gelato produces personalized products in thirty-two countries, enabling creators and ecommerce sellers to scale their business and reach customers faster while reducing waste, costs, and carbon emissions. Sign up for free to get started designing and selling your custom-made t-shirts with Gelato.

Frequently Asked Questions

What font is used on most t-shirts?

The font you usually spot on t-shirts is a bold, standout Open Sans, loved for its clarity and striking appeal. Think of clean, straightforward types like Roboto or Abel, which stand out and convey messages. These fonts are popular in t-shirt design for their versatility and appeal. They make any text instantly more noticeable and engaging, perfect for everything from catchy slogans to brand names.

What font is used on graphic tees?

Graphic tees often sport Alef Bold or striking Montserrat fonts, chosen for their strong visual impact and ability to convey personality. Fonts like Antic or Belleza grab attention, making them ideal for the expressive and often humorous messages on graphic tees. These fonts are selected to make a statement, resonating with the tee’s overall design and the message it intends to communicate.

What font is used on vintage graphic tees?

Vintage graphic tees typically feature different fonts with a retro or distressed look, evoking nostalgia. Josefin Slab fonts or classic script styles are standard, embodying the charm of past decades. Fonts such as Berkshire Swash or Bree Serif add an authentic vintage feel, perfectly complementing the old-school designs and motifs that give these tees their timeless appeal and distinctive character.

What is the most visually appealing font?

The most visually appealing font often blends readability with style, like a modern Caveat Brush or a Cinzel font. Oswald and Raleway are popular because of their neat, classic look, which many people love. Their clearness and beauty mix make them great picks for sharing any message stylishly and effectively.

What font is most attractive to customers?

Fonts that most attract customers combine legibility with a touch of personality. It is often a Martel Sans or a clean, minimalist Lustria font. Fonts like Georgia, for its classic appeal, or Helvetica, for its sleek modernity, resonate well with audiences. These choices are popular because they catch the eye and enhance the message, ensuring it strikes a chord with the viewer while maintaining brand alignment.


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