11th April 2020

Isolation inspiration: Graphic twist

We’ve been taking a closer look at some of our favourite designs and putting them into mini themed collections. This week, the theme is Graphic Twist.
A graphic twist is when a design has used elements in an unexpected way, so that things aren’t always what they seem – making for a more distinctive or intriguing design. So here’s our graphic twist mini collection –


Our new Alpe d’Huez shirt celebrates one of the most famous climbs in cycling. The design started with a capital ‘A’ (for Alp), which we cut in half and used as a mountain, with the distressed pattern at the top of the A reflecting the increasingly rugged scenery as the climb progresses. The zig zag shape represents the 21 famous u-turns the riders need to negotiate on the climb.


Staying with cycling, our RainRider t-shirt uses diagonal lines laid over a cycling symbol – and the eye immediately sees it as a cyclist riding through rain. The French caption (France being the spiritual home of cycling) is accompanied by the red, white and blue colours of the rain, bringing to mind the French flag.
Our C90 design takes elements from the early days of cassette players – speaker, tape counter, record button, wood surround – and reassembles them into an image which is contemporary in style, but retro in content. Vintage tech brought bang up to date – it’s available as a t-shirt and also a poster.

For our BBQ Star t-shirt, we wanted a decorative design that also tied into the idea of heroic barbecuing. Distressed grey circles of charcoal lie over a fiery red and orange star – the elements are both decorative and representative. We also have this design on a sky blue t-shirt where the charcoal is blue – so not quite so representative – but it looked so good we printed it anyway. You can see them both here.

T-lab Night Run boyfriend t-shirt

Watching mountain-bike lights disappear into a pitch-black forest was the inspiration behind Night Run. We translated the dazzling effect of the lights – white at the front, red at the rear – into overlapping concentric circles, creating a shimmering Op Art style design.


Our Flat Out design shows the top speed of the world’s fastest production cars in 1967, 1987, 2005 and 2020 as a sharp-looking infographic.
It doesn’t fully explain itself -it’s a bit of a conversation starter. Once people have figured it out (it helps if they’re petrolheads), they still have to guess the cars. And when they’ve done that, you’re still left with a great looking t-shirt (or poster).
We went for style over accuracy in our Over & Out design, which features a strictly non-technical but nonetheless good-looking graphic illustrating the fundamental differences between oversteer and understeer. Any concerns we may have had about our customers taking to this minimalist approach have been pushed aside by the fact that its our biggest-selling t-shirt in 2020 👍👍🏼👍🏾