It’s Friday in the office and your boss hurries over to your desk. You look away and busily stare at an empty spreadsheet to avoid an invitation for more work. Then it happens, they speak to you, oh no. “Hey I saw that you were doodling the other day, would you be interested in making the T-shirt design for the department picnic this year?”
Exhale. It isn’t a new client, a 2-inch thick folder, or a meeting with HR. You’re creative and can draw, but a T-shirt is a bit out of your realm.
You say yes, and hurry on over to this handy guide that’ll help you design a T-shirt that everyone will rave about. Ready to get started?
There are so many ways to approach the creative process of making a T-shirt.
Tshirt designers may free sketch, write a list of words that work well together, browse the internet for inspiration, or do a more structured brainstorm technique like a mind map. Mind maps are elaborate ways of integrating ideas and pushing the brain to think outside of the box while still connecting concepts.
Not the most creative crayon in the pack? Don’t be afraid to start with a template design and add your own flare.
Design and Digitalize
Once you have an idea in your mind, time to put it on paper (or tablet). Some find success starting with an old-fashioned sketchpad while others jump right to digital t shirt design creators.
You’ll go through multiple drafts of designs before it’s time to print.
When you have your chosen company print, don’t forget to make sure it is on an attractive and comfy shirt! The design is going to be what pops, but the shirt is going to be what makes it wearable. Make sure the color of the shirt is at the forefront of your mind when you’re making a design.
Before you go ahead and give the printers the go-ahead, get a second opinion. And a third.
Common Tshirt Design Mistakes to Avoid
Every t-shirt design that you create isn’t going to be a hole-in-one. Just avoid these frighteningly common design no-nos that are seen a lot in the tshirt printing world.
Don’t go crazy with the font. But don’t, not go crazy. This is not the time for size 12 Times New Roman.
If you have a block of words, break up the lines in fonts that work well together. A square paragraph of the same type reads as lazy and boring.
If you’re making a shirt for a company or team, you might have a logo that you’re looking to show off front and center. Except don’t do that.
Logo placement and size are paramount in T-shirt design. Consider the style of the shirt, the intent of the T-shirt you’re designing, and the appearance of the logo. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer here as it will depend on all of those little details.
A couple of things that are universal when you design custom T-shirts: don’t put a logo across the belly and bigger is not always better.
At every turn in the tshirt design-making process, you’re going to want to make sure the quality of the images isn’t compromised. Blurry images and text are a big oops in T-shirt design.
Hey there, fashion nova! Logo location, comfy shirt, and high-quality images: check, check, and check. Now that you know the do’s and don’ts of T-shirt design, you’ll be unstoppable.
Look out, Gucci!
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