Designing t-shirts isn't a child's play. Especially when you are designing t-shirts for business. As there is an outrageous number of apparel designing companies out there, the t-shirt business has become tough competition. Only by collaborating your creativity with key strategies can you actually design outstanding t-shirts that not only make you unique but also ensure acceptance among the consumers.
Don't worry if you are new to this business. If you have knowledge about adobe illustrator and graphic design, then you are good to go. Additionally, to help you design like a pro here, I will be discussing 10 professional tips in order to custom design successfully and print them on t-shirts.
Here you go!
1. Explore concepts and brainstorm
To come up with a unique and catchy design, you must spend time on research and brainstorming. Firstly, you need to explore the concepts that you think imprinting on t-shirts would create a new milestone.
Also, you must keep an eye on your fellow competitors and what kind of t-shirt designs they are creating. Then, you can get inspiration from others’ work and come up with your ideas. As soon as you get it, note down whatever comes to your mind or sketch it out.
2. Imagine the design on a tee
As you are going to design t-shirts, you must realise designing on paper or screen is way different from designing on apparel. It would help if you kept a few things in mind, such as design placement, size, color, etc.
Therefore, while you are thinking of design ideas, don't forget to draft them. You can do a mock-up or create a photo motel and see how it looks on a t-shirt.
3. Keep the design simple
Designing is a creative job without any boundaries. Though it's true that one can become so irresistible to include all the details in one design, simplicity always wins the heart of the masses.
So, you can definitely use details in a design; however, keep it simple so that you can perfectly imprint it on a t-shirt. Moreover, the audience must understand the design and get the message as well.
4. Understand the target consumer and market
You are designing the t-shirt for business. Hence, you must have prior knowledge about the market and the preference of the target consumer. Who are you designing the t-shirt for?
Kids, teenagers, male or female? Different age groups of people have different tastes. Therefore, it's important to know what they want and execute the design that they will immediately accept. You can do market research for a better understanding.
5. Use humour with mindfulness
Using humour in t-shirt design is popular and widely accepted. However, you need to keep it subtle and make sure it doesn't hurt any certain group or race. The purpose of using humour is to bring a smile to the face of the person wearing the t-shirt and others who see it. For the humorous design, you can use trending statements or graphical illustrations.
6. Selection of colour
What colour you are going to use for the design is very important. Here you need to think about the t-shirt colour and the colour you use in the t-shirt design. The design must be complementary to the fabric colour and easily visible on the t-shirt you are printing on.
So, while you are designing on Adobe Illustrator, turn on the global colours. Then to use the restricted colours, you can use the halftones.
7. Scaling the size, font, and graphical placement
After a good design is ready, scaling, design size, font, and placement everything will impact the final outcome. Besides, where you want to place the design is another important factor.
Usually, the designs are placed on the front and back centre, front pocket, sleeve, bottom, etc. No matter where you decide to place the design, make sure it complements the t-shirt and contributes to the overall balance.
It's not possible to assume these factors until you actually see them printed in front of you. For this, you can do a sample print of the design and hold it on a t-shirt. Please wear the t-shirt or make someone else wear it.
Then, carefully analyse and identify the scale and balance of the design with the t-shirt size and length. Based on this, you can easily adjust the design to varying sizes of t-shirts for kids, men, and women.
8. Selection of fabric
You may come up with a good design. However, the quality of the design will also depend on the fabric you are printing on. Some manufacturers want to cut costs by selective average quality fabric. Remember, a t-shirt is a blank canvas.
So, if the canvas quality is not up to the mark, it won't illustrate the design as well as you expect it to be. Hence, you must choose a top-notch quality fabric not only for design quality but also for user comfort. Depending on the type of printing technique you prefer, you can choose the fabric from cotton to polyester.
9. Preparing the artwork
Already with the design and fabric? Now it's time to prepare the artwork. For the screen printing method, you can use Pantone Colors. If your design has a text outline or needs to expand any strokes, you can easily do so. Creating the artwork using illustrator or photoshop is quite easy. Also, you can learn the techniques through tutorials.
10. Invest or use a good printer
Finally, a good printer will bring out your desired design on the t-shirt. The quality of the printer is also important to ensure the durability of the design.
You can either invest in a good printer if you have the budget and plan to use it for years. Otherwise, there are plenty of printing companies available that can print t-shirt designs in bulk.
Remember, the final print is the make-or-break situation. So, pay attention to the product weight, design size, labelling, and overall cost. Then only you can decide the selling price of the t-shirt that would be profitable, and users would find them worth purchasing.
Even though it's a bit of a complex process, if you hire any printing companies for this job, you must discuss the details beforehand. The printing company must deal with your order with care and be open to modifications if required.
To wrap up, designing t-shirts is an art. Hence, to create outstanding design, one must pay attention to the context and user preference and bring out unique design ideas. T-shirts are one of the apparels that won't go out of fashion, and people of all ages love to wear them casually and formally. It's also used as a form of marketing that branding via t-shirt becomes one of their brand promoting strategies.
This is when t-shirts are designed with a brand logo, tag line, label, etc. Other than that, t-shirts are free from any boundaries, and a designer has the freedom to include street arts, sports, pop culture, cartoons, or trending slogans, whichever they feel will create a fashion statement. The best way to design a t-shirt like a pro is to get inspiration from the surroundings and implement the tips I have discussed in this article.