If you have always wanted to create your very own custom t shirt design but didn’t know where to start, we’re here to help you. Here are our top recommendations when creating or deciding upon a custom t shirt design.
- Purpose – This should be the foundation of your decision on any custom-printed apparel. What’s the shirt for? Are you going to use it for casual wear, or is it for a particular event or happening?
What’s the occasion? If you are planning to promote an event or group with the shirt, then what’s the central message of the group or event that you want to communicate using the design on the shirt?
- Images & text – Deciding upon the image or group of images that you’re going to add to the main design can be tough. You may feel the desire to go all out, adding several images at a time. Eclectic seems like a great idea, but in reality, if a shirt is too eclectic it also ends up being “too loud” for the eyes, and this might reduce the overall impact of the design.
The best practice for deciding upon the image is to first identify what you want to say (write it down if you have to) and then you can proceed to searching for an appropriate image that will help convey the message.
Next would be the text. If the shirt is going to be used for an event or occasion, text is vital to mark the shirt. You can create swell memories by wearing a date or event-specific shirt.
Since all events can be described in one or two words, make sure you add that to the design where it’s prominent, then you can add the date below the main text. It’s important that you experiment with different font styles and font sizes, so you can get that perfect balance.
Now, if you have no idea where to begin with combining images and text, you can always use pre-made templates or you can use free online design services like Canva to get a feel of how graphic design works.
Graphic design is an art that anyone can learn; of course, your final output will be affected by your tastes and personal preferences.
If you are designing the shirt for yourself then there isn’t much trouble because you are simply using your taste to guide the design, but if you are designing for a group of people, then you must have a good idea of what other people in the group would like to see in the shirt design.
- Explore before rendering – Too often, people settle for the first version of the design and proceed to printing. If you have created your design from scratch, it would be ideal to take a break first so you can see you design with fresh eyes afterward. It’s important to take a break after designing because the work exhausts the eyes and you become less attentive afterward.
With fresh eyes, you will be able to see if the final image is good enough to make it to final print. Of course, it’s going to be slightly different when you are using pre-made art.
You can’t modify pre-made art taken from the database of a custom shirt website, but still, taking a short, short break before hitting that buy button can help you decide on the final design.
- Subtlety is important – Whatever emotions you are trying to evoke from people who will see your shirt will depend on the elements that you choose to put on your custom shirt.
Whether its joy, sadness, concern, or humor, the best way is to do it subtly. Why? Because when you do it subtly, the art will take the fore and people will just figure out the main message from their own cleverness.
Subtlety, in effect, ‘slows down’ the artistic effect on the viewer and in turns, makes them think. In today’s culture of hyper-fact visual stimuli, to be able to make people think, even for a just a few seconds, means the shirt design is effective.
- Don’t limit your creativity – A custom shirt is an artistic canvas, a live one that you can actually take with you and not look strange, so be as creative as you can.
There’s nothing wrong with experiment with different colors, images, shapes, and text. You will have the opportunity to project all those design possibilities using the design editor present in most custom shirt websites.
The software has been around for years and you’re definitely going to love tweaking, replacing, and changing your designs after your first one or two attempts at designing your own shirts. In the beginning of course, you’re going to feel a little cautious with your designs and this isn’t a bad thing either.
You can accomplish a lot with minimalistic designs, especially if you’re putting logos or phrases in shirts. Phrases and statements usually do not require a lot of embellishment, you just need to get the font type and sizing correct. Placement of the text on the fabric is also important, as incorrect placement might dampen the effect of the design.
And finally: if you are giving the custom shirt to someone else, be sure to think of the other person’s tastes and preferences before your own. Some folks design custom shirts for themselves and automatically think that other people might find it awesome or cool.
While this does happen it’s important to remain considerate of what the recipient might actually think of the design. You wouldn’t want the recipient to think that the design is out of this world (in a bad way) especially if you say that you were the one who designed it in the first place.
Designing shirts take a bit of practice to perfect, but in time you’re going to be a real champ at it, guaranteed. Just continue exploring art and design and your next set of custom shirts will be sure head-turners.