5 Different T-shirt Design Ideas and Tips

5 Different T-shirt Design Ideas and Tips

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Categories: Tips and Tricks

Would you like to be part of a ever growing t-shirt community, for the chance for your designs to be sold within our store, and to recognised for your talents? Well you can! If your reading this it’s the first step towards making a great t-shirt design!

Submission is free, all day long here at Graphic Tide, however submitting the design is the easy bit. It takes less than 30 seconds and is easy if your a first timer here at Graphic Tide. The real challenge however is the design idea and creation.

Depending on your skill level, creating the design may or may not be a challenge for you. But there’s one fact that still remains, thinking of an idea that can blow people away, and make your design shine against everyone else’s. If your an experienced artist, your ideas might pop into your head quicker, but you’ll still have to filter out those good, and not so good ideas. So to help you solve this issue (or at least aid your creative thinking), this post will focus on helping you find that amazing t-shirt design idea, and give you some creative ideas and examples of what makes a great t-shirt.

T-shirt designing gives you the freedom to be creative, as you might want to produce a design which is funny, conceptual, or something which is your passion, which is really up to you. This is the beauty of art, as there are no boundaries, if you want to make art you can, and if it’s personal art there’s no creative rules or regulations, and we love that! There are many different types of t-shirt designs, but some are more common than others. We’ll cover some of the popular ones and a few other types you may not have thought off, so let’s kick of with funny t-shirt designs for you to consider.

Funny T-shirt Designs

One of the most popular selling t-shirt categories, funny t-shirts receive a great reaction as these designs are linked to a good emotion; that of happiness and laughter. People love to own a funny tee in their wardrobe, as it creates this sort of reaction, and can make you stand out from the crowd.

There are numerous ways to make a t-shirt funny, as it could be a funny quote, a play on words or a joke, but here’s a few tips to keep it real and authentic.

Design tips

  • Think about your personal experiences – is there a funny story to tell?
  • Design something current that has recently happened, like a funny celebrity story or news article for example
  • Keep it unique – don’t re-use a old and worn out jokes
  • Use words and/or objects – as this combination can be powerful
  • Mash unusual themes together, like a cat chasing a large dog for example

Typography T-shirt Designs

One of the most up and coming t-shirt design categories, type tees are becoming more and more popular in the t-shirt community. These designs are more suited for the the higher skilled designer, as designing type is a quite a hard skill, which needs practise. However, if you were to design your own hand rendered type, this could look really interesting.

Type designs normally follow the same layout / rule, mainly as this is the most popular and customer demanded tee. Getting the type right is critical to the design’s success, so make sure your design is clean and easy to read. Designing the font yourself will be more awarding than just typing the words out on Photoshop, but like I said before, this can be very challenging, so keep this in mind when attempting to produce a type tee.

Design tips

  • Sketch out your type before going onto the final artwork, as you’ll be able to see what areas work best
  • Make the type the design’s focal point – don’t let other aspects of the design distract away from the type
  • Just having type can make the design more powerful – sometimes less is more
  • Bigger the better – make sure people see the font
  • Make sure your type stands out against the background

Character T-shirt Designs

Character t-shirt designs are one of the best ways to get your fans engaged in your designs. People love seeing fun little characters in various environments, especially if there’re a well known figure like Batman for example.

If your thinking about designing a famous character, it’s important to be subtle with this, as we don’t want to be held on copyright from other companies. Try and think of interesting and subtle ways to describe the character which your designing, and not just draw the character straight out. With this, you can interestingly mix character design and humour into one, as it can be quite humorous to see a famous character out of profile, like a fat Batman for example.

Design tips

  • Make sure you thumbnail your design idea first, as it’s important to be subtle with the characters which your describing, especially that of famous characters
  • Think of combining that of humour and character design together, as this can be a really eye catching combination
  • The most important thing with character design, is to have fun with it, and create a character which everyone can enjoy

Pattern T-shirt Designs

Patterned t-shirt designs are appealing and attractive to look at, and doesn’t require you to think too conceptually within this option. Patterned designs offer an alternative and clever way to create an awesome t-shirt, which doesn’t require you to spend hours and hours designing.

Pattern designs can be simple because the pattern is duplicated around the t-shirt, giving the illustration a more detailed edge. If you’re pushed for time and want a simpler design to produce, a pattern is ideal for you.

Design tips

  • Keeping the pattern symmetrical and consistent is very important, which creates the pattern within your design
  • As it’s for t-shirts, smaller patterns work best – remember it’s getting spread around the tee
  • Try putting your pattern on different t-shirt colours – some colours will work better than others
  • Try changing your pattern colour – you’ll be amazed what you come up with

Abstract T-shirt Designs

We’ll finish up this post with the world of abstract art. It’s a wonderful discipline, where freedom is truly expressed, so why not let your creative mind loose by designing an abstract t-shirt? Break away from the traditional aspects and create something that doesn’t have to make sense or be directly obvious. As anything goes, we don’t have any designing tips. Why this is this the case? Because abstract designs can be anything, from minimal to just crazy.

They could be full of colour or completely the opposite, it’s up to you. There’s no right or wrong way of designing abstract art, as it’s all about your style and your vision, so try it out and see what you come up with!

Hope these t-shirt design ideas have given you something to chew on for your next t-shirt designing project. We’re always looking for new t-shirt designs ourselves, so if you would like to earn some money, get free traffic and exposure to your website please do submit your t-shirt designs to us, for free.

So thanks for visiting today, be sure to leave a comment below, as we would love to hear from you. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, it will be great to see you on there. Thanks again, and have a great day!

About the author - Ash


I'm a web designer from Hampshire, England, and have been working with websites for nearly 10 years. I have a deep interest in website design and development, art, and most importantly t-shirt design. I also dabble in surfing, photography and drum and bass! I'm also the co-founder of Graphic Tide, based in the United Kingdom.

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