10 Tips For Better T-shirt Design

Vancouver, BC


One of the most famous creativity outlets nowadays is T-shirt design. The thought of having one's own design on a T-shirt is a nice concept for graphic designers, illustrator and typographers as well. The process however, can be a bit challenging. Discussed below are ten great tips for good T-shirt design.


1. Explore Concept And Take Your Time


You can begin to explore your concept by sketching it out first. Create some variations, go out for a work, get something to eat. It's good to do a total brainstorming process. Sleep on it later. Repeat the process all over. It is great if you get the inspiration straight away. Just in case, try to explore other options.


2. Envision The Design On A T-shirt


Over the years, I have worked on both web and print. I am aware of the huge difference between a printed piece and design on screen. You can mock it up on a picture of a model. If necessary, print it out and put it on a real TeeJunction. Don't create your artworks as miniatures, make them at actual size.


3. Try To Keep Things Simple And Detailed


Everybody loves great drawing ability combined with attention to detail. It is really nice to see a perfect artwork on a tee that one can study for later. It is true that most of the designs considered as classics are very simple ones but they however pass the intended message through their simplest form. It may be difficult to create a successful design if you don't figure out how to balance that.


4. Keep Your Humor Subtle


Humor is good. If you are into humorous designs, you should try to prevent it from looking like a low-cost and cheap joke shirt. Most of the successful humorous designs have subtle jokes. Most of the humorous tees out there are not worth giving second thoughts. A T-shirt done correctly will however surely turn heads.


5. Consider Your Market


It is really important you do this. Is your target audience the young or old, male or female? Don't forget that at the end of it all, people are going to wear the product you are designing. Act like a good marketer and note the exact type of person you want to buy your product. Find out what they like, who they are. Know the other brands they like and you can begin from there.


6. Colors Are Very Important


Effectively utilize the color of the tee and try to choose complementary colors. For people using Adobe Illustrator, go to Global Colors and turn it on. This will make your work easier and save you a lot of time. Try to also use Halftones. Utilize the restricted colors you can use.


7. Properly Prepare Your Artwork


When screen printing, use Pantone Colors. The printers are surely going to love you for this. If  you have any stroke, it is advisable you expand them and you should also outline text. There are many good tutorials on the internet but it depends on whether you work with Photoshop or with Illustrator.


8. Get A Good Printer


When you have finished your design and it is properly artworked, you need to find a printer. It is important to get a good printer as it will also determine how good your tee is going to be. You can use a reputable and trusted company like White Duck. You can even work with local screenprinter. It is important you take your time to know more about the kind of T-shirt you'll be printing on.


The end product is affected by the sizes, the labeling options, the weight, cost etc. This usually takes a while as you will need to speak to several companies. After everything, ensure you work with a company that will handle your art with care and will also treat your T-shirts as an end retail product. After all, screenprinting is said to be an art.


9. Get Educated


Before you can really understand anything, there is need to first study and become familiar with it's context. Tees have been created for every subculture phenomenon there is. T-shirts have been made for skateboarders, sport crossovers, bands, street art and general pop culture. Try to find out about s lot of them and develop an appreciation for all of it.


10. Stay Ahead of The Game


Keep your eyes and ears open and get inspiration from the latest trends. You however don't need to copy them. It is highly probable that when you saw that tee, other designers are already creating something better behind closed doors.