T-shirt printing companies often feature symbolic prints on t-shirts. These symbols include political and social images that may have significance to a minority group or may represent a counterculture movement, such as the Rastafari Movement.
According to Wikipedia, most Rastas do not think of the movement as a “religion,” but a “Way of Life.” It is monotheistic, worshiping only one God, which they call Jah. However, this God is not a vague Almighty Being in the heavens, but incarnated as Haile Selassie I, the last Emperor of Ethiopia.
Rastafari has Afrocentric ideologies and teachings. Its members support the spiritual use of cannabis, or marijuana. It also has a tri-color flag-red, green and yellow-with a lion’s silhouette printed at the center.
Bob Marley And Rastafari In T-Shirt Printing
The strong association of Rastafari with reggae is partly because of Bob Marley’s stature and his membership in the movement. Bob Marley is one of the most popular Rastas in the world, and his popularity has helped spread the influence of the Rastafari Movement in the world.
Bob Marley’s signature image-his wide smile and his dreadlocks-is one of the most popular designs in t-shirt printing. His face has been printed in different versions, either as a pencil sketch or as a photograph. The prints show Bob Marley in different poses, while singing onstage or with his head thrown back in carefree laughter.
Bob Marley heavily incorporated Rastafarian chants in his song. Aside from Marley, other reggae musicians also used music to spread the teachings of Rastafari. Musicians like Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer have integrated Rastafarian doctrine in their songs.
Red, Green And Gold In RastafariT-Shirt Printing
The Rastafari colors are green, red and gold, the same hues found in its flag. At the center of the flag the silhouette of a roaring lion stands proud while the horizontal stripes of the three colors are in the background.
Sometimes, the three colors serve as background to or were superimposed on top of Bob Marley’s image. In a sketch of Marley’s face, the same three colors were mixed with the dark lines. Other times, the lyrics of Bob Marley’s songs accessorize the image.
Red signifies the blood of Black Jamaican martyrs, green represents the lushness of the Ethiopian or Jamaican countryside, and gold signifies the wealth of Africa. Sometimes, black is included as a reference to the Marcus Garvey movement.
Reggae and the Rasta movement are rich sources of artistic inspiration for t-shirt printing designers. The symbols from these movements touch the rebellious spirit of the angst-ridden youth of the seventies, and continue to nurture the same sentiments in today’s generation. Custom printed t-shirts with these types of designs speak the messages that they want us to listen to.