Step-By-Step Guide To Design A T-Shirt

Step-By-Step Guide To Design A T-Shirt

T-shirt is considered to be apparel which is famous all over the world and in almost all ages and gender of people. Almost everyone likes to wear a t-shirt. It is regarded as a way in which we can express who we are, our preferences, and a lot more. In the current days, many businesses are also considering making use of t-shirts as a free promotional tool. 

Do you have a great t-shirt idea and think others will also find it interesting? Are you seeking a different way to promote your company or want to supplement your revenue with merch? Do you wish to celebrate a special event, such as a bachelorette party or a family gathering? 

Whatever may be your reasons, the fundamentals of t-shirt design tend to remain the same in every case. But now, the main question that arises in this aspect is how to design a perfect t-shirt that will effectively serve the purpose. Well, we will clear all of your doubts in this comprehensive guide. 

Here, we will walk you through every stage of the t shirt printing design process, from idea inception to producing the t-shirt in mass quantity. These t-shirt designing tips will let you know everything, no matter how much (or how little) experience you have.

Easy Steps To Design A T-Shirt And Start Tshirt Printing Business

  • Determine Why You Need A T-Shirt

Whatever may be your reason for designing a t-shirt, it will always include a little branding. In case, you are utilizing t-shirts for promotional purposes, your main goal is branding. Even if your business is in the fashion industry, you will need to incorporate consistent brand themes into every product. You want to make sure your t-shirt design communicates clearly for personal users such as commemorating a particular event. 

Consider making a list of the main themes, styles, as well as personality attributes you want your brand and shirts to convey, if you are still not clear on this. Is your brand serious or playful? Conservative or edgy? Affordable or premium? All of these questions can be easily answered just by having a look at a focused shirt design. 

In this regard, one of the most important things to make sure involves moving away from your taste and depending more on genuine and quantifiable data to create the most successful and effective design. What kind of customers or clients do you want to attract? What brand attributes do they specifically want to do business with? 

Here are given some of the main goals to assist you to understand why you need a shirt as well as what you want it to accomplish throughout your t-shirt designing process. It includes:

  • Merchandise
  • Internal company usage
  • Promotional gifts
  • Event souvenirs

Once you are clear on your goals, you can then focus on prioritizing the various aspects of your shirt design. For instance, in the case of merchandise shirts, fashion might be a key emphasis, but not for corporate gifts. You want to personalize your design in such a manner so that, it meets your custom tee shirts requirements.

  • Define The Quantity You Require And Budget 

You are eager to get started on the actual t-shirt designing process. But, how to design clothes? Well, in this aspect, first of all, you need to focus on some of the main details which will aid in designing your product in a much better way. It includes your budget as well as quantity. 

So, it means that your design will be impacted by your budget and the number of t-shirts you require. For instance, budget, as well as the quantity, will help to determine how many of the colors you can make use of. Additional colors may cost you extra depending on your printing method. In case, you are on a tight budget, conserving colors is a great way to save money. 

Again, your method of printing will be influenced by the number of t-shirts you require. Some methods are particularly well suited for large-scale printing. Whereas the others tend to have a higher cost per t-shirt and are better only for small orders. Therefore, before beginning thinking about the design or printing, you need to plan your quantity as well as budget accordingly. 

  • Get A Good Idea About Your Printing Options

Whenever it comes to choosing the best t-shirt printing method for your requirements, there are several factors to consider. Cost, aesthetics, materials as well as the time of production, are all critical considerations. The more you understand each method, the simpler it will be for you to choose the one that is right for you. Some of the most important printing and widely used printing methods include: 

  • Screen printing
  • Direct-to-garment or Print-on-demand
  • Vinyl graphics


  • Come Up With A Design Idea To Make A Shirt

The next step involves figuring out what to incorporate in your t-shirt. So, in this aspect, you should focus on brainstorming your design concept. The more time as well as effort you put into this step, the better outcomes, you will be able to achieve. Your design could go in multiple directions. As you are brainstorming, here are given some of the major tips that will help you to approach in the right direction. Sticking to these tips will help you to focus on your creativity. 

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Different Types Of T-Shirt

T-shirts are of many different types. So, if you are looking forward to designing a perfect t-shirt for your requirements, you need to first know about the different types of t-shirts. In this aspect, you will need to find a blank tshirt supplier who can provide you with the best quality and that too at an affordable rate. 

Before you decide on the right type of t-shirt, consider your target audience as well as your intended goals. For instance, a revealing crop top may not be the most effective marketing tool for a law firm. 

Make sure your shirt design ideas will translate to the actual size. Create your designs using an 18″x18″ canvas and then physically put those designs on a shirt. That doesn’t mean you have to occupy the whole canvas. It is completely ok if you want to keep it minimal with a small logo. But, a realistically sized canvas will play a crucial role in getting the proportions right. 

While you design your own tshirt, consider how your design will appear on smaller as well as larger shirt sizes, once you are ready with your design. In case, you go with the screen printing method, various sizes may require various screens, which incurs more costs. 

Imagery And Style

At this point, you must depend on your artistic as well as creative intuition to convey the messages you want to say. Remember to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your brand?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Why are you considering designing a t-shirt?

Put these all together, and you are ready to start designing a perfect t-shirt. Also, keep in mind that your design will be shown on people’s bodies so, it is important to come up with flat and uncomplicated designs. It is because this type of design will effectively suit almost every body type. 

Detailed imagery, such as delicate color gradients and complex linework, should also be avoided for similar reasons. Always go with the simple option. In this regard, you can utilize a t shirt maker tool for making your design virtually. 

T-Shirt Typography

Your font selection says a lot about your brand. Serif fonts or script fonts possess a classic look. Using sans-serif typefaces gives it a more contemporary feel. T-shirts provide more opportunities for you to play with fonts. But, whatever font you use, you should keep readability in mind. In case, the words on your shirt are crucial to conveying your message, make sure they do not get obscured by loopy and swirly typography. 

Color In T-Shirt Design

Color is a crucial design element that effectively communicates personality. Each hue, shade as well as tint evokes an emotion, serving as a quick way to convey information about your brand just at a glance. 

There should be the consideration of two sets of colors in T-shirt designs: the print color(s) as well as the fabric color(s). Always utilize your fabric color as the backdrop of your design ideas to ensure that these two complement each other. It’s also worth noting that a colored canvas might affect the appearance of inks, so you should talk to your printer about this beforehand. 

CMYK Printing Vs. Pantone Colours

Printing colors on t-shirts can be a little difficult due to the way t-shirt inks work. Approximating the colors will be the most cost-effective means for printing your design. Just keep in mind that your “teal” might not match with the “teal” of your printer.

Pantone (PMS) or custom blended CMYK inks helps to provide exact color matches, but they’re more costly. PMS employs predefined as well as exact ink tones that can be purchased by your printers. By combining Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, as well as Key (black) inks, CMYK printing helps to produce practically any color. All that you need is to check with your printer to find out what is available. 

Specialty Printing Techniques

T-shirts, like any other printing medium, have their own set of unique ink options. 

  • Plastisol
  • Gel
  • High-density
  • Novelty
  • Foil
  • Water-based


  • Look For A Designer

If you have skills in designing, then go ahead. But, if not, don’t worry, you can consider hiring a professional who will be able to do your work as per your requirements. You will find the availability of a plethora of professionals who can help to bring your design idea into reality. They will make use of tshirt design software to do this work effectively. 

Also, the professionals are familiar with the technical aspects of shirt design so it would be a worthy decision to choose their services. You must communicate your vision once you have found your designer. 

Tell them about your design ideas, target audience, and messaging. Colors, visual style, logos, t-shirt type, as well as printing specifications should all be included. Send them some designs images that are similar to the style you’re seeking. Give them all the information they need to create the perfect design.

  • Assess Your Design

The next step involves evaluating your design well before you print and create your own shirt. You need to check everything well, like whether your design has the right message, design, and amount of color. As it is not an art contest, but it is related to your business, you need to take it seriously. Before you move forward, you need to be confident about your design. 

  • Ask For The Right Files From Your Designer

Now that, you have come up with the perfect t shirt design online, it is time to print it in your t-shirt. But, before you move forward, you need to go back to that information that you got from your printer and check to ensure you have the right files. 

You will most likely require:

  • Your Shirt Design In Vector Format: The file type will most likely be in Adobe Illustrator (AI), EPS, or PDF format. You will require one for each shirt design you are creating.
  • Colour Codes: If your printer does custom colors, make sure you have the CMYK or Pantone color codes on hand so that everything looks exactly as you want it to.


  • Find A Professional Printer

It’s time to print your design once you are completely ready with your design. In this regard, you should focus on finding one that provides you with the method that you want and that too at affordable pricing.

Extra features as well as discounts, of course, are fantastic ways to sweeten the deal. Sifting through printing alternatives to discover the ideal one for your project normally takes time as well as experience. But, don’t worry, you would be able to come across a right web to print service provider by considering some of the most important points which include: 

  • Find out whether the printer possesses an in-house art department or not
  • Establish a good working relationship with a printer, you can grow with
  • Request final shirt samples but not the design images
  • Be wary of hidden charges, especially when it comes to films, screens, or Pantone color matching
  • Make sure your printer provides pre-press proofs in case you are considering doing a larger order

Ending Thoughts

After you know about the step-by-step processes, now it is high time you start designing a fantastic t-shirt for your business. The overall printing industry is revolutionizing with the passing years. Also, T-shirt designing, as well as printing, are becoming more and more affordable every year. 

These are something that every business can hugely benefit from as long as they know what they are doing. We hope that this guide on how to create a shirt design provided you with everything you need to get started. To get the top-notch outcomes, you should focus on opting for the assistance of a professional web to print store that will be able to help you achieve next-level printing. 

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