Keep Calm and Agree with Nick? 15 years of T-Shirt Designs

Self-expression Company Spreadshirt Celebrates with a Retrospective

This summer Spreadshirt celebrates 15 years in business with a look back at t-shirt design trends since 2002. From nerd jokes to Nick Clegg, the UK has expressed itself through wry humour, political statements and insouciant designs.

CEO, Philip Rooke, says, “we wanted to take a look at a decade and a half of on-person self-expression and honour all those messages reflecting a changing world through t-shirt designs over the last 15 years”.
15 years of t-shirt design history

Spreadshirt started 2002 in nerd mode; sending up the phrase ‘There are two kinds of people’ with a mathematical joke. By 2005 “I love” prints were everywhere. We adopted the 1970s New York advertising campaign and adapted it for British cities.

The end of the decade saw political slogans dominate: Barak Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’ election campaign slogan in 2008, ‘I agree with Nick’ (remember that?) in 2010, and by 2011 the Wikileaks dripping globe on a t-shirt appeared following its publication of a huge archive of unredacted US State Department cables.

By 2012 we were well into “Keep calm and carry on” territory. It has since achieved cult status, and the quotation has since been modified in countless variations.

Then in June 2016, the UK made a momentous decision about the future of the country. Split 52/48% in the referendum, pro-EU t-shirts and designs were everywhere as Remainers wore their decision with pride.

Philip Rooke sums up “We’ve loved looking back at the last 15 years of t-shirt design and celebrating the creativity of our community of customers, designers and shop owners. From James Dean to today’s Corbynistas or Trump’s adorable deplorables, the t-shirt has been THE place for self-expression. So, we’re looking forward to another 15 years. Keep Calm & Create T-shirts!”

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