Tips and Ideas for Designing a Custom T-Shirt 


When it comes to fashion, people are pickier today than ever before. If you are thinking about creating a custom t-shirt and want something that people are actually willing to wear, you may need some tips.

If you want an amazing t-shirt design, it’s important to create something that people will connect with. You also have to consider factors that aren’t important in other design projects, such as sizes and colors. Even the style of the shirt and the brand may impact a person’s desire for what you have created.

Keep the Design Simple

Regardless of if you plan to design a t-shirt for marketing purposes, to sell, or one to wear yourself, the concepts are similar. The golden rule to follow is – keep things simple.

While almost everyone has discussed the importance of simplifying designs, when it comes to t-shirts, it’s essential. If your design is too busy, it may appear cluttered, be hard to print, or be awkward to wear. Also, shirt designs that are overly complicated are hard to read – think about it, no one wants to feel like they are being stared at while someone passing by tries to figure out what their shirt says.

Think about a single image or message you want to create. Make this the focus of your design. When it’s time to print, the professionals, like those from, will find this is much easier to create than a more complex and intricate design. Make sure to remove any design elements that aren’t essential. You should try to design it in all black and white as well, which will make the entire design even simpler – remember, you can always add additional color later.

Understand the Concept of Edges and Borders

How will you print your design on the actual shirt? Did you choose to create an image or message that looks like a photograph or a design with a border? Or, did you choose a design that is more free-flowing, without any edges?

The majority of designs are going to fall into the latter category because border styles are somewhat outdated. It’s important to understand that there is a technical aspect to this, too. When the artwork is submitted for printing purposes, an individual needs to keep the “invisible” edges or borders in mind that may wind up sabotaging the job.

Consider the Imprint and Shirt Color

Before getting too far into the design of the t-shirt, be sure to know the color of the shirt that’s being printed on. The next question a person needs to ask is how many ink colors can be used for the actual imprint. In addition to impacting the cost of the shirt, factors such as ink options and shirt colors can make a huge difference in how the design is approached.

If a person has plans to sell the shirt in an online marketplace, they should limit the color options for the shirt to options that will work well with the design selected. Without properly using caution, elements of the same or even a similar color may look bad with the final result created or the meaning of your design may be altered, too.

Even if you choose a one-color imprint (this means a shirt where all the ink used is the same color), the color shirt you choose can make a huge difference.

The Fabric of the Shirt

Have you ever gotten a shirt you absolutely loved, washed it, and then never put it on again because of the issues related to piling or shrinkage? If you want to design a shirt that people will wear, you need to make sure the fabric is the highest quality possible.

You need to think about the audience your shirt is focused on, too. For example, what type of shirts will they wear? Are they athletic? If so, consider a performance fabric with wicking technology. For people who live in a cooler location, consider a sweatshirt or fleece. Also think about who will wear the shirt – men, women, or children. Gender-specific cuts are also a great selling point.

When it comes time to ink the shirt, the fabric will impact this, too. If the material is thinner, it may get too heavy, lay weird against the skin, or even be itchy if there is excessive ink used. Make sure to think about this before completing the design.

How Cool is the Design?

There are several reasons you may be designing a t-shirt. Some of the most common include for marketing purposes, to sell, or to enjoy yourself. If you want to ensure your efforts are successful, you need to make sure that your shirt has a trendy, cool, or modern design that you or others will want to show off.

While the idea of a “free” shirt will be enough to make most people take anything if you want them to wear it while in public or to give you money to buy the shirt, whether or not they like it matters. This means that an old or boring design will not work. Take some time to create something that is special and unique. Don’t copy something from your social feed – instead, think about what will be trending in the future.

Use Caution with Graphic Placement

Where are you going to put the design on your shirt? Are there other brand marks or logos to think about? There is a pretty fine line between a design that’s just right and one that’s way off the mark. Some of the best places to consider adding your designs include the top back center, sleeve, front “pocket” area, back center, front center, etc.

You should also consider a few other things. For example, is your design going on shirts that are brand name? Will there be other marks, such as Nike or Adidas on the shirt? Be sure your design goes with this, so the final product doesn’t look weird or out of place.


The Art and Science of Designing Your Custom T-Shirt

If you are designing a custom t-shirt, there are more than a few things to consider. Be sure to keep the information here in mind to get the shirt you want, and other people will want, too. It’s also smart to get help from a professional – they can help you get your design just right and create an amazing shirt you and others will love. Being informed is the best way to get your custom t-shirt design right and love the final outcome of the product.