5 Amazing Tips to Design T-Shirts like a Pro

5 Amazing Tips to Design T-Shirts like a Pro

It’s easy to get someone like, say, David Beckham to look great in a t-shirt, but for the average Joe you need to have a really special t-shirt to look the part.

And the world of graphic design is constantly designing absolutely killer t-shirts that can turn heads and mark people out as style icons like Mr Beckham.

But how does a graphic designer stand out in a market which is flooded with so many different types of t-shirts? It’s not easy, but I’m going to share my 5 best tips for designing an amazing t-shirt.

  1. 1. Define Who the T-Shirt Is For

There are so many different cultural genres out there that you really need to understand who you’re designing the t-shirt for.

A t-shirt for fans of thrash metal, for example, is going to be very different in tone to a t-shirt for fans of pop music. The best way to do this is research what’s currently out there for these different subgenres and understand the varying stylistic tastes you’re catering for.

And don’t forget that different subgenres (and sexes) need completely different fits for their t-shirts too – such as baggier, longer t-shirts for the urban kids – and this can also influence the design due to the different canvas you’re working on.

  1. 2. Contrast with the Right Colours

An amazing t-shirt will always use colours to create an eye catching contrast which turns heads.

The best way to achieve this contrast is pretty simple and involves pairing bright colours with dark colours. A great example of this is the ‘smiley face’ Nirvana t-shirt which uses simple yellow text and graphics on a black background to immediately grab people’s attention.

And you don’t need to limit yourself to just two colours. You can use as many as you like, but make sure there isn’t one dominant colour type e.g. too many dark tones or you’ll find the impact of the colours becomes muted.

3. Pop Culture Images Exude Familiarity

Some of the simplest t-shirts are those which take a pop culture image and use it as the central focus of the design.

Pop culture images are those images which are firmly embedded in our minds and instantly bring to mind certain traits or concepts. Perhaps the most famous pop culture t-shirt is the Che Guevara t-shirt which people instantly recognise as a symbol of freedom and revolutionary spirit.

And you don’t have to limit yourself to famous faces; inanimate objects are just as useful. I mean, take Big Ben, for example, everyone know that it spells out BRITISH and, likewise, the Sydney Opera House spells out AUSTRALIAN.

  1. 4. Choose either Simplicity or Detailed

When designing a t-shirt you have a couple of options for the overall design. You can either go for simplicity e.g. the infamous French Connection t-shirts which simply had FCUK written across them or highly detailed t-shirts such as ANYTHING released in conjunction with Iron Maiden.

Now, the beauty of these simple styled t-shirts is that they’re pretty simple to execute and the small amount of detail can actually really stand out against a plain backdrop if you’re clever enough. On the other hand, though, you can design t-shirts which are packed full of design which, although time consuming, can really draw people into the t-shirt as they analyse all the individual details.

  1. 5. Team up with a Great Printer

Your design may well look magnificent in your mind and on your PC screen, but this can all go down the swanny if you aren’t working with a great printer.

Always make sure you’ve researched printers who have a good reputation for using high quality machinery and take time to use the correct techniques.

The last thing you want, for example, is a faded t-shirt when you wanted a highly polished and boldly coloured t-shirt!

Yes, it will cost a little more to get a professional finish, but you want your design to be displayed on people’s chests exactly as you envisioned it.

T-shirts are a great corner of the graphic design market and, if you get your design just right, you’ll engage huge numbers of consumers which can be very lucrative! These 5 golden tips should hopefully get you a little bit closer to achieving that!



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