5 tips for designing your own t-shirt

So you want to design your own t-shirt, but you’re not sure people will want to buy it. There are several key factors to consider that play a role in the demand for a t-shirt. Not only will you have to deal with the creative aspects, but you will also run into technical issues.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips for designing your own t-shirt and discuss what you need to consider and mistakes to avoid.

1. Submit a concept

The most important aspect of designing a t-shirt is the design itself. You don’t have to be an expert in high fashion to create a good design, but it will require some creativity and some basic knowledge of design software such as Adobe photoshop or Adobe illustrator.

Related: Techniques To Help You Start Learning Photoshop

Determine what you want to create. Do you have a business and want to include a t-shirt in the gift package at an event? Give a creative touch to your logo. Or maybe there’s a meme you want to recreate on a t-shirt. Either way, you need to have an idea of ​​what you want and visualize it.

If you are a new artist, it will take a while for you to understand your brand and aesthetic. Take your time and play around with the software. And don’t put yourself in a box, the works of most artists cover a multitude of concepts and themes.

2. Elements of the composition

Now that you’ve conceptualized a design, it’s time to consider the elements of the composition. There is no one right way to do it.

Art is subjective and you have to accept that some people just don’t think it’s good. However, we can give you some tips on what will catch most people’s attention.


Simple print t-shirt

Most of us can appreciate a good, intricate piece of art, but that doesn’t mean it will translate the same on clothing. The key to creating an eye-catching t-shirt design is to minimize complexity and make the design easy to digest.

Try to center the design on one thing and allow additional elements to complement it instead of drowning it out.


Intricate t-shirt design

If your design consists of several elements, you need to find a great place for their placement in relation to each other. Don’t put a rose on one skull with text spanning both. Instead, space them out so that potential wearers can see everything clearly.

Typography and Fonts

T-shirt design with text

Playing with typography can help you turn text into a visual component. There are three things you need to consider: the words themselves, the font, and the placement.

Think about the phrase you want to use. It should fit your brand and complement the design, if you decide to combine text with it.

The police can make or break the concept you are looking for. The calligraphy may look pretty, but it’s hard to read. On the other hand, sans serif fonts are easy to read but can look boring or uncreative. Find a unique font and consider using different fonts for each word to create a variation.

Related: Trendy Fonts Designers Should Use

Do not neglect the placement of the text. The spacing between letters and words, as well as their size, will influence visual appeal.

Borders and edges

T-shirt design with border

You have to think about the contours of your design. Do you want the edges to be smooth or will it look nicer on a border?

There are countless types of borders to choose from. Experiment with the shape; no one prevents you from using a circle or the outline of the drawing itself. Frames can also add a unique touch to the composition.

Colors and contrast

Colorful t-shirt design

The color scheme of your design will be entirely up to your artistic goal. However, it may be worth considering how the different colors complement each other and knowing when you use too much of them, you don’t want to overwhelm the wearer. You should also consider the color of the t-shirt; what will the design look like against the backdrop?

With color comes opacity, the brightness of colors. You need to consider the color of the t-shirt when choosing the opacity of the design. A design that looks washed out can play into the aesthetic you are going for. But generally a higher contrast between the t-shirt and the design, and on the design itself, will make it stand out.

3. Placement and sizing

Middle Front Design T-shirt

Once you have completed the design, you will need to decide where you want to put it on the t-shirt. The middle of the front is usually where the designs go, but you can also place it on the back or cut it down to fit a sleeve.

Size matters too. How big should the design be in relation to the t-shirt? If it’s too big, people might have a hard time figuring out what it is because the shirt folds with movement. But you don’t want it to be too small either – unless it’s a logo, they look neat when scaled down on the top left.

4. Cut, color and material of the t-shirt

T-shirts in different colors

If you’ve ever browsed the t-shirts section of an online clothing store, you know the abundance of variety in fit, color, and material.

The cut of a t-shirt refers to the way it is cut and sewn. If you don’t know which fit to choose or how many different fits to choose, the Basic Crewneck Tee is always a solid choice because it suits all body types.

Black and white t-shirts are the most common because they serve as a blank canvas for the colorful designs. But don’t be afraid to use other colors, it will make it stand out to potential buyers. A creative tip: make your design black and white, or monotone, if you’re going to put it on a colored t-shirt.

It goes without saying that you should use high quality materials regardless of the type – for t-shirts, cotton or cotton blends are the most common. It should be comfortable and durable.

Vary fabric materials

Try getting your hands on a fabric swatch in person before placing a large order. This way you can confirm that it meets your standards.

5. Printing options

There are several options for t-shirt printing, and they all have their pros and cons. It will depend on your budget, what quality you strive for, and how they work with your design. The two most common printing methods are:

  • Print Screen: Most designers go for this method because it is affordable and reliable. The downside is that it can get expensive with colorful designs, as printers have to use a new screen for each color.
  • Direct to clothing (DTG): This method uses a textile printer and ink, similar to a typical office printer. It is ideal for detailed and intricate designs. Plus, the ink is thin, so you won’t get that thick, rubbery feel. Unfortunately, DTG does not work well on dark fabrics.

There are also different types of ink that you can choose from. The most commonly used for t-shirts are:

  • Plastisol: Plastisol is the standard ink for screen printing. It is versatile and durable. Since it doesn’t penetrate into the fabric but rather sits on it, it has that smooth, rubbery feel.
  • Water based: The advantage of water-based ink is that it is embedded in the fabric, so you won’t be able to “feel” the pattern. It is also ecological. The downside is that it is only suitable for cotton fabrics and will wash off over time.

Once you’ve decided on a printing method and ink type, acquired the t-shirts, and prepared your design file, you need to find a reliable printer that offers your preferred method within your budget.

Have fun designing your own t-shirts

Anyone with a creative side and a little patience can design their own t-shirt. Just follow the tips outlined in this guide and you’ll be on your way to creating an eye-catching t-shirt. And if enough people like your design, you might even be able to start selling it.


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