Top 5 tips for creating better t-shirt designs

T-shirts are a good alternative for everyday wear. It is a versatile outfit that can be paired with a wide variety of bottoms such as pants, skirts, and shorts. Beyond being a fashion favorite, custom T-shirts can convey any message or support brand identity. It provides an outlet for advertisers to make the best designs that will delight the crowds and make any brand famous. T-shirt design can be both fun and commercial activity. At this point, graphic artists can be inspired by many things that just about anyone can relate to. Whether your goal is to design custom t-shirts or make a practical promotional t-shirt, here are some helpful tips that can guide you in creating the perfect t-shirt design!

  • Set your goal
  • In the beginning, it can be difficult to find the design that will capture the message you want the shirt to convey. If you don't know where to start, it can take a few days to come up with an idea. In the brainstorming process, it is very important to ask the question: Why are you designing a t-shirt? Identifying the main motive for t-shirt design is the first step in conceptualizing the design. It involves some degree of branding. Your shirt should convey the target. You can base some of these common reasons to guide you in a t-shirt design:

    Brand equity: It is appropriate to portray brand identity or provide a visual representation of the products and services the company offers.

    Internal marketing.

    Promotion: T-shirts are walking ads. It can be a useful tool for brand recognition that influences the consumer's purchasing decision.

  • Organize your design

  • Once you have a vivid idea of ​​why you are designing a shirt, you should focus on finding the concept. Design can go in a million different directions, so you need to take the time to get the design from your mind on paper. To make the job easier, create a detailed list of the items you want to add. Take the time to draw the first draft and make a few changes to find the best one. To unify the concept, you must also consider the details of the design that work well together.

    Style and Images

    Design elements such as style and image depend on what your brand wants to communicate and what type of audience the t-shirts will be presented to. For example, a brand that appeals to teenagers will likely include animated characters and components that spell fun and stylish.

    Harmony of colors

    Personality is better expressed using a color scheme. Every graphic designer knows how essential shades, hues, and hues are required in the design when applying color palettes to a shirt. It is important to choose the right colors. Especially when designing colorful t-shirts, you should consider that the t-shirt may be damaged. There is no standard, but light-colored designs often look best on dark fabrics such as navy blue or black shirts. Alternatively, dark designs are effective on gray and white T-shirts.

    Be aware that the inks may look different when printing. Approximate colors can be tricky, so be sure to use Pantone (PMS) or specially blended CMYK. The latter is more expensive, but almost exactly reproduces colors from design to print.

    T-Shirt Design Placement

    The centering of the design is the most common placement, especially for brand promotion. However, there are many areas to choose from, such as the top left or the surrounding image. Placing the design on the back of the shirt is also a suitable option for company logos or slogans. You also need to keep in mind that when wearing a T-shirt, the design can bunch up or hit awkward parts of the body. One of the most common T-shirt design mistakes is a belly print, which is an uneven placement. Keep the picture straight to ensure the printed version is clear and readable.


    Typography in shirt design is to ensure that typesetting is compatible with the concept. Any text on the screen includes typography such as font or font selection, line spacing and letter spacing, and compatibility with other graphic elements in the design.

    Also, a rule of thumb for typography is to never use more than three fonts in a single design.

    Text can be a smart addition to your design, but only if it works well with other items on the t-shirt. Avoid making mistakes like using all caps in a single script font or choosing a font that is not valid for the theme (eg: using Batman Forever for a corporate event t-shirt will probably not be welcome).

  • Get the composition right

  • Composition is one of the core subjects in high school art classes and is related to graphic design. Every concept that has more than one element in the composition should be arranged according to the space and each other. Many designers believe that well-crafted design depends on an idea, but sticking to some basic composition rules can improve the design.

    Avoid approaches that destabilize the design, such as being too heavy on one side and sparse on the other. If you want to add a few elements to your t-shirt design, put in the effort and time to organize everything neatly. Have someone else confirm it through feedback to make sure the design is aesthetically pleasing for you as well as for someone else.

  • Pay attention to the image quality
  • A low-resolution image will not look good in print. When creating a t-shirt design, stay away from low resolutions and make sure the pixel information is sufficient for a quality print.

    Images taken from the web are usually very small - rarely full size and only at 72 dpi. Ideal setting for printing is 200 dpi and full size. The use of vector files is also preferred because they can be scaled to print without losing quality. These file types include PDF, AI, EPS or SVG.

    For photographs, the following should be noted: It is better to scan in high resolution rather than take a photo of something. Photos often tend to be blurry and are sometimes cropped unnecessarily.

  • Complex or simple?

  • In graphics and anything else, adding too many intricate details to a t-shirt design can ruin its overall aesthetic value. The human attention span only takes a few seconds, and you have to make the best impression in those seconds.

    T-shirt design is a motion graphic ad so it's better to keep it simple. While working for originality and creativity, it's easy to get carried away and place as many items as possible, but stacking images creates weird angles and spoils the composition.

    Undoubtedly, you wouldn't want your concept to be messy and cause headaches for the audience. It would have been noteworthy that the print on the shirt was a masterpiece, but a complex image cannot always be said to be more appealing.

    Minimalist designs are successful in the market as long as they convey the message and brand identity. Remember, it shouldn't be that hard to understand what the shirt wants to convey. Optimize the design to make it look clean but effective. This can be difficult to achieve, but if you get the concept right, it will be easy to finalize a design that will look great when printed on a shirt.


    In summary, creating the perfect t-shirt design requires not only graphic design skills but also knowing what works and what doesn't. Sure, you can be inspired by social media platforms and other t-shirts you see, but remember that keeping the design original is the best way for an original brand!

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