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How To Design A T-shirt

  • As a graphic designer when you think about designing a t-shirt it can seem intimidating at first 
  • Designing a t-shirt can be not only easy, but it can also be fun if you have the right knowledge 
  • In this article we cover how to design a killer t-shirt by giving tips like picking the right colors, focusing on the details and more! 

Wonder why people hold onto old t-shirts even when they’re stained, ripped, and seem past the point of redemption? Because, as any t-shirt owner who’s had the same pajama tee for longer than six months knows, some t-shirts are just that good. For many of us, those shirts aren’t just articles of clothing, they’re a way that we can express ourselves. You’ll find it difficult to find anyone, regardless of age, that hasn’t slipped on the faithful old t-shirt as a substantial article of clothing. T-shirts are just a closet staple that everyone needs. For some businesses, this is what they strive to make in a good t-shirt while others are just free advertisements. 

Regardless of why the t-shirt is designed, what we do know is that high-quality t-shirt designs are crucial. As a graphic designer, experimenting with putting your designs on t-shirts can be fun, and is sometimes refreshing to see your work displayed on apparel. Whether you’ve been hired to create some stellar t-shirt designs for a business or you’re just looking to design your own t-shirt, we’ve got a full guide for you! 

How To Design A T-shirt

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Why Do You Need A T-shirt?

The first part of designing a t-shirt is knowing why you’re designing it. If you’re designing one for a brand, chances are that it’ll be for promotional purposes and you’ll have to incorporate some of the brandings into the design. Even if it’s just for fashion, you’re going to have to include elements of the brand to make it special. If you’re just planning on wearing it yourself you have some more freedom, but you still want to make sure that you have a consistent theme and idea for the t-shirt design. 

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Pick Colors

If you’re designing the t-shirt for a brand, to some extent your color choices will be guided by the brand and what appeals to the target audience. But color choices play a crucial part in any t-shirt design since they’re what sets the mood for the t-shirt and what will instantly catch people’s eye. Colors play an important impact in what the t-shirt is and the style of the t-shirt. Remember when you’re designing for a brand that you don’t have to include the entire brand color palette. You should only pick few colors from the brand’s palette for the t-shirt to keep it as simple as possible. 

Imagine How It Will Look

Graphic designers who have worked with web design and print design before already know that how a design looks on the screen is incredibly different from how it will look once it’s printed on the t-shirt. Make sure that you fully know exactly how the t-shirt will look once the design is on before you export your final files. Don’t be afraid to take your time and do a few t-shirt mockups so that you’ll know how the design will look once it’s on the t-shirt. Show the client and make sure that they like how it looks before you make any final files. 

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Focus On Detail But Keep It Simple 

Detail is key, but remember that you don’t want to overcomplicate your design. People’s eyes focus on one detail and they’ll notice when you’ve put a lot of effort into the smaller areas of the design, but the overall concept of the design is also important. How people first see the design on the t-shirt is important and all the small details need to come together to create something larger. Although details are important, some of the very best logos are the simplest ones that just have one single element. Choose what works best for the brand and as an overall design. 

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Evaluate Your Design Options 

Once you’ve got a few concepts and an idea of what the final design will look like it’s time to evaluate the design and decide the best option. This is the time where you’ll look at all the options and ask yourself what is realistically the best option for the brand. This is where you’ll decide if the design works for all types of t-shirts (short sleeves, long sleeves, tank tops, etc) and review it. If it needs any last changes before print this is the time when you’ll do it. 

Summing It Up 

T-shirts design a creative outlet for graphic designers that they can express themselves. Although designing a t-shirt may be intimidating at first to new designers, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can know how to create a stellar t-shirt design. Above we’ve given our top tips on how you can create t-shirt designs the secret to a successful t-shirt design!