Designing T-shirts can be both fun and profitable. You can truly express yourself if you let your imagination run wild and get those creative juices flowing. But why is it that some T-shirts look absolutely EPIC while others look like drab rags?
If you are interested in designing your own range of fabulous garments then this post is just for you!
It doesn't matter if you have years of experience as a designer. If you don't have a grasp on the fundamental basics then you are guaranteed to set yourself up for failure every time. Here are some pointers that are key to your success.
Who is Going to Wear It?
It is vitally important that you consider who the target market is going to be before you even begin designing your T-shirt. Your design must be a reflection of their personality. A teenager who loves listening to heavy metal is not going to appreciate a T-shirt that has “I love my mom” emblazoned over an image of a unicorn dancing on a rainbow.
The more your design appeals to the targeted audience, the more the end user is going to love your concept. If you are designing for a corporate client, your ideas should focus on the company profile and the incorporation of their logo. Your efforts will be rewarded if you spend the time taking into account what really matters.
You can come up with the most phenomenal design and yet still get it wrong. The reason for this is because color plays a crucial role in making your work a success. Some people may prefer simple black and white designs while others like bright colors with loads of contrast.
Getting to understand your target audience will go a long way in helping you to come up with an awesome creation. You need to consider that what looks good on your computer may not necessarily work as well on the printed garment. Another point to consider regarding color is where the focal point will be. You need to keep it balanced and centered as much as possible.
Budgetary constraints may call for the use of half tones rather than full colors. This nifty trick will save on the amount of colors printed and yet still be able to give you the desired effect. To do this, you will need to slide the color scale down to where it matches a percentage of the PMS color. Changing your color from 100% to a softer 40% will then match your half tone. The colors used by the printer's separation software will be able to do the rest.
Getting to grips with a limited palette can be extremely challenging. This is particularly evident when it comes to screen printed T-shirts where color should be used sparingly. Only once you have all your lines flowing smoothly should you bother with filling in the bulk of the detail. That said, once mastered, what started as a limitation becomes a powerful tool in getting the most out of your design.
The Devil is in the Details
Having a large graphic with loads of details may be very eye-catching but it also requires a lot of time and energy. Extensive detail also works best with vectoring in order to prevent the image from looking blurry or out of focus. This does not mean it won't be worth the effort, but do consider that it will require some patience to get it right.
Simple designs are often more effective. With fewer details to cause a distraction, these designs have a better chance of standing out from the blank canvas. The modern trend is leaning more towards simple designs, with bright colors contrasting against darker tones. This type of combination can be extremely effective provided the opposing colors complement each other.
Work According to Actual Size
Successful T-shirts are dependent on so many variables. They go far beyond the graphic and the color scheme. One point to consider is the size of your layout. It may sound strange but it is important that you work according to actual size.
Working to size will help you to realize the end product more fully on your graphic design program. Your image may not have the same impact if it gets scaled down in size when printed. By giving the printer the exact actual size, you will eliminate the potential of having your graphic printed according to their preferences.
Quality Over Quantity
Some of the best designs have failed miserably because a cheap printer using inferior quality inks was used. If you are planning to build a reputation as a designer of great T-shirts, sticking to quality should take precedent. You don't want a ghastly T-shirt being paraded around as a mark of your poor workmanship.
Get to know the people from your printing company personally. A good rapport with your printing company makes communication easier. You will be able to discuss the details of how you envision the final product to be in depth. The more the printing company is able to understand your needs, the greater the chances are that end product will be a true reflection of your idea.
The Easy Alternative
Teespring offers you an easy alternative. You can design your T-shirt online, and others can order it direct. You don't have to worry about the printers, where to get the T-shirts and so on. There are people who have made small fortunes just designing shirts on Teespring and selling them from there. If your idea is great and your design is as good, you're ready to get selling!