Retro Road Trip T-Shirt Design Trend

August 3, 2018


When you think of the most touristy thing to wear while on vacation, does your mind instantly go to one of those retro tourist-inspired T-Shirts?

Well it’s throwback time! We are taking a trip back to the far out era of the 1970’s with this nostalgic look at how the time honoured tradition of the road trip and summer vacay’s influence T-Shirt design. This time travelled theme offers and endless source of inspiration for graphic content from the souvenir T-Shirts to faded postcards and hazy polaroids.

The 1970’s was a great era for graphic casual T-Shirts, with ringers and three-quarter baseball sleeves adding variety with unique faded color combinations. In fact there is no other era as iconic as the 70’s for distinct T-Shirt graphic design and styling.

This unique 70’s graphic aesthetic is also timeless making it one of the ultimate T-Shirt trends. It’s distinct casual vibe means it can almost be worn with anything and seems to never go out of style.

So pull out your bean bag and start scrolling down memory lane and let these groovy retro travel trends take you to new funky places. Can you dig it?

Key Details:  Palm Shaded Resorts/ Reworked Souvenir Prints/ Faded Postcards/ Iconic USA Tourist Destinations/ Arid Desert Scenery/ Desert Cactus/ Tourism Posters/ Hazy Vacation Polaroids/ Vacation Stickers/  Time-Worn Color Palette. / Retro Tourist Maps/ Route 66/ Distinct Retro 70’s Typography/ Hand Lettering/ Gradient Skylines

1-Desert Cactus

The cactus is becoming the new pineapple of plant world in T-Shirt prints. The cactus is an icon rich with design possibilities, conjuring up images of dreamy desert landscapes, old westerns and weekend road trips, there is something so perfectly summer about it.



2-Retro Signage

There is nothing more iconic than the faded rusted image of roadside neon signs indicating, old motels, roadside attractions and roadhouse diners. Best represented in photorealistic form with sunspots and filtered effects or added into vintage photographic style borders. Grain effects are added to create an authentically aged look.



3- Viva La Mexico

Vibrant sun soaked colors, vintage Mexican poster graphics and Mexican cantina and food references combined to create quirky comic T-Shirt designs.



4- Souvenir T-Shirt

Cool and kitschy, souvenir prints are the ultimate throwback to the retro road trip theme. Vector illustrations of iconic American destinations in distinct retro palettes are weathered and filtered for an authentic finish. Add a quirky quote for a modern twist.



5- That 70’s Stripe

Inspired by the 70’s super graphic, those crazy bold stripes, arcs and rainbows seen in so many 70’s graphics from posters, magazine covers, sports apparel and even interior design. These stripes can be added to any design and are a great way to add bold color.


6-Tourist Paraphernalia

Get inspiration from these wanderlust awakening travel posters, time worn postcards and retro road maps. Full of nostalgic graphic design elements from photographs clipped into bold fonts, vector illustrations of iconic destinations and fabulous typography combinations.


7-Surf Safari

Another iconic road trip is the surf safari, chasing the summer sun. The retro surf print is inspired by the Californian lifestyle mixed with a relaxed 70’s vibe. T-Shirt prints combine vector illustrations and silhouettes of surfers, gradient sunsets, cool typography and nostalgic colors.


8-Iconic Route 66

It’s time to get your kicks on Route 66, America’s most iconic highway. Route 66 is like a time-tunnel into retro America: think old school diners, retro gas stations, vintage motels and long open roads through deserts and canyons. The perfect source for T-Shirt print inspiration.


(All images are sourced from DownloadT-ShirtDesigns and Pinterest. The images above are mood boards only and not for resale)


Check out our Retro Road Trip inspired designs ready to download now

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Find inspiration quickly with our digital library of 1000+ T-Shirt Designs & All-Over-Pattern-Print-Designs. Click here to view our range of designs.

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