5 Tips for Designing the Perfect T-Shirt
T-shirts are a staple of modern fashion — nearly everyone owns at least a few T-shirts. Over the past several years, the demand for custom-designed T-shirts has steadily climbed and is predicted to reach new heights, becoming a more than $10 billion industry by 2025.
With so many custom T-shirts available, you need to come up with a great design to make your shirts stand out. Explore the following tips for how to design a T-shirt your audience will love.
Reasons to Make Custom T-Shirts
Custom T-shirts are popular for businesses and events because they are one of the best forms of advertising. People love T-shirts, and when they wear your custom shirts, they become a walking billboard for your brand, event or cause.
As a business, you can create custom shirts for both internal and external use. Distribute your custom shirts internally to provide your employees or volunteers with a uniform or make them feel appreciated and improve morale. Externally, you can give away or sell your T-shirts to customers to spread the word about your brand or serve as souvenirs for an exclusive event.
Other non-business reasons for making custom shirts could include group trips like field trips with students, family reunions, bachelor or bachelorette parties or annual charity events.
Ultimately, the better your T-shirt design, the more likely your target audience will want to add them to their wardrobe, so you want to ensure you follow several key tips for creating custom t-shirts.
1. Plan Your Budget and Timeline in Advance
Before you get started on your design, you will need to have a plan that includes your total budget and timeline for shirt production. If your T-shirts are intended for use at a particular event or campaign with a definite start date, you should plan to have your shirts made well in advance, so you have plenty of time to prepare, organize and ensure they are ready to distribute by your deadline.
Planning your budget can guide your design process and help you make some important decisions about your shirts. Figure out your total budget, then determine how many shirts you need to decide how much you can spend on each shirt. Choosing a simple design with one or two colors can keep your cost-per-shirt lower than a more complex design, allowing you to print more shirts within your budget.
2. Learn About the Different Printing Options
The printing option you choose will also affect how you design the perfect T-shirt by determining the pricepoint of each shirt and any guidelines for your design. Each method carries its own specifications about the materials used and how many colors can be applied. A few common printing options for custom T-shirts include:
- Heat press printing: A laser printer will apply your design to a transfer paper and use a hot press to affix it to the shirt. When the transfer paper is peeled away, your final design is revealed.
- Direct to garment (DTG) printing: DTG printing uses a special inkjet printer that applies your design directly to the fabric of your T-shirts, cutting out the need for transfer paper. The resulting design is vibrant and soft to the touch.
- Screen printing: When screen printing, your design is transferred onto your shirts using mesh screens and plastisol inks. Each color is applied one at a time using different screens for sharp, precise results.
Consider your available options before deciding on a design and a printer to ensure you get high-quality custom shirts that fit your budget.
3. Pick Eye-Catching Fonts and Colors
The ultimate goal of designing a T-shirt is to get people to wear it, so your design needs to be appealing. Some of the most essential elements in any design are the fonts and colors you choose to include. Selecting exciting design elements can make your design stand out from the crowd, and the right font or color can help communicate your tone.
When choosing your colors, you need to consider the colors of both the design and the shirt itself. If you plan to print on a dark-colored shirt, your colors should offer enough contrast that they won’t blend into the background. Keep your color palette simple with one to three colors that contrast to create sharp, readable images.
If your design includes text, you should pick a font that looks professional and offers easy legibility so viewers can read your design. While serif fonts tend to offer a more traditional look, san-serif fonts express a more modern design. To create a more dynamic typography design, you can combine two high-quality fonts in similar styles. These font tricks will help you design the perfect t-shirt.
4. Take Into Account the Placement and Size of Your Design
One of the most important tips for designing a T-shirt is to consider the placement and size of your design. When you begin working on your design, keep in mind how your design will look on your shirts. The most common placement is front and center in the middle of the chest, but other options are available that could make your shirts more stylish or unique.
The back of the shirt offers a large, flat area to display a big design, and the sleeves and chest pocket area are more subtle locations for small logos. Scale is crucial to your design because the same-sized design may look different on various-sized shirts. Creating a vector image of your design allows you to adjust your size as needed to fit each shirt size.
5. Utilize Online Printing Tools
Many online printing companies have easy-to-use design tools on their websites to help you make your custom T-shirt design. These design spaces allow you to place clip art images, select fonts that work well for T-shirts and position your designs on digital T-shirt templates so you can more easily visualize your final products. Using an online printing tool associated with your chosen printer is also a great way to ensure your final design is saved in a scalable format.
Start Designing Your Custom T-Shirts Today
Design custom t-shirts for your business, charity or group event that recipients and customers will be thrilled to wear. Begin by determining the details of your project, including who will wear the shirts and what your budget and timeline are for the project. With the details in mind, get to work designing a graphic tee people will love.
Armed with the tips above, you will be able to create stunning, vibrant designs that stand out from the crowd.