T-shirt design has become a very popular outlet for graphic designers, fashion enthusiasts, and people who have a knack for creating their own apparel. As a visual and artistic medium, t-shirt design is a fashion statement that can be promotional material for your business, event, or team building activity. Alternatively, custom t-shirts can be for personal use as well. It’s always a great feeling to wear a t-shirt with a design you created, it makes you stand out, and there’s no chance you will go unnoticed.
However, getting started can be challenging, you may not be sure of where to begin. For starters, there are two ways that can help you define your design strategy. You can download graphics and fonts using photoshop to put them together for a totally DIY t-shirt design. Alternatively, you can use a t-shirt template from a design generator that lets you get creative while taking care of all the technicalities for you. Whichever path you choose to take, let your creative thinking produce a design that’s unforgettable.
Define Your Design Strategy
As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to ask yourself why you want to design a t-shirt in the first place. Is it for a business or for personal use?
Design for a business:
- Brand – Slogans, phrases, and a logo can communicate your brand’s products, services, and company message
- Promotion – A creative and influential image can attract a lot of public attention
- Team Unity – Team members or employees can cultivate a bond with the company they are working for
- Lasting Impacts – Whether you are going to meet an investor or a client, a t-shirt with a company logo design can help you in giving a reminder about your company.
Design for personal use:
- Uniqueness – Your own design will make you stand out in public venues
- Self-advertisement – You can showcase your creativity as an artistic individual
- Symbolize a special event – Your design can make an event memorable
- A gift for someone – A custom-designed t-shirt always makes a great gift
Find a Theme for Your T-Shirt
Before you go ahead and start designing your shirt, it’s nice to have some inspiration while you brainstorm. You can view already made designs on platforms such as Pinterest for example, an image-saturated medium for creative ideas. Also, if it helps, you can sketch your t-shirt design, and create a few variations.
In addition, are you designing for a male or female audience? And how old is the demographic? At the end of the day you’re designing a product that you want people to wear, so it helps to identify your target audience.
Picking your Color Palettes
Color is perhaps the most eye-catching and important design cue in t-shirt design because colors make people feel a certain way. Color is the best design element in communicating the tone of your design. The separate tints, hues, and shades of each color can give your shirt its personality.
Using Software to Preview Your Design
If you want to know what your shirt will look like prior to coming off the printing press, it can help to view it on a model first. Printful recommends creating your stunning and eye-catching designs with product-mockup software so you’ll know how your design will look like prior to printing. Some of these programs are free and some require purchasing, regardless of which software or program you decide to go with. this is a surefire way of assessing how your creation will look like on a real person.
T-shirt Size and Fabric
What type of t-shirt are you planning to sell your design on? Is it a long-sleeved t-shirt, a basic t-shirt, or a polo shirt? Big designs will look good on small sized t-shirts, but small designs can get lost in big t-shirts, so it’s important on deciding the size.
In regard to the fabric, it depends on the printing techniques that are used. If the shirt is going to be printed via screen printing or direct-to-garment (DTG) it’s recommended to go with cotton, if transfer printing or sublimation printing is going to be used it’s good to go with polyester.