A Printed T-shirt is a T-shirt bearing a design, image or lettering on it. Various types of printed T-shirts exist.
A concert T-shirt is a T-shirt that is associated with a concert or a concert tour, usually rock or metal. Bands and musical groups often promote themselves by creating and selling or giving away T-shirts at their shows, tours, and events. A concert T-shirt typically contains silk screened graphics of the name, logo, or image of a musical performer. One popular graphic on the rear of the T-shirts is a listing of information about the band's current tour, including tour cities (sometimes specifying venues) and corresponding dates.
One of the most popular colors for concert T-shirts is a flat black. Fans purchase or obtain these shirts to wear to future concerts, often with jeans, dark colored trousers or skirts. Fans may wear the shirt of one band to a concert of another to show their taste in a particular type of music or loyalty to another band or type of music.
A tourist T-shirt (or souvenir T-shirt) is a shirt associated with travel or a holiday. In recent years T-shirts have become a popular gift or souvenir no matter which country or city the person has gone to. Tourist T-shirt designs are typically screen printed with pictures and words directly associated with a particular city, country or culture. The T-shirts express or show something about the place or places a person has been. Tourist T-shirts are usually an inexpensive souvenir or piece of clothing thus the reason for becoming a popular shopping item during overseas travel.
A Course T-shirt is a printed T-shirt with a military unit's insignia on it, printed up as a souvenir of attending and/or graduating a course of instruction. Printed shirts bearing unit insignia (only) date back to at least the Second World War.  Course t-shirts were in the news internationally after Israeli soldiers were discovered to be wearing t-shirts with anti-Palestinian cartoons on them. In particular, one version showed a pregnant woman in the sights of a sniper rifle, with the slogan "one shot, two kills." "The T-shirts, ordered by troops to mark the end of basic training and other military courses, were worn by a number of enlisted men in different units, the daily Haaretz newspaper reported. They were not made or sanctioned by the military." Another design depicted a Palestinian child and had the slogan "The smaller they are, the harder it is."
Several contemporary artists use T-shirt as a canvas for their work. Art T-shirts can also be mass-produced with screen printing. Famous artists to have released T-shirts are Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, and KAWS.
A merchandise t-shirt is a shirt associated with a brand or trademark. It is common to see famous bands, musicians, sports teams and TV characters being printed on t-shirts for the retail clothing trade in order drive additional revenue. Proprietors of brands and trademarks can licences to distributors to distribute t-shirts that bear their brand or trademark for retail purposes as well.
- Shull, Chris, "Stones Notes" Wichita Eagle, 2 October 2006.
- "Touring bands soaked up the cost of their lights and lasers with extensive merchandising, like tour programs, scarves, and the ever-present official black concert T-shirts with tour dates printed on the back," Ian Christe, Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal (Harper Collins, 2003), p71.The black concert T-shirt is a fashion trend of rock concert attendees originating in the 1970s and continuing today.
- Deena Weinstein, Heavy Metal: The Music and Its Culture, (Da Capo Press, 2000) p. 139.
- BBC news story
- Sociological Images web article
- sfgate.com article
- James, John M.,"Pixies once again dust the music scene" Cincinnati CityBeat (Cincinnati, Ohio), 21 April 2004
- Overman, Ogi, "So you wanna be a rock 'n' roll star..." Yes Weekly (Greensboro, North Carolina), 2006
- Cronin, Steven V. "Rolling Stones start ’em up at Boardwalk Hall in A.C." Press of Atlantic City (Atlantic City, New Jersey), 2006