5 Epic Ways to Create Outstanding T-shirt Design

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Categories: Tips and Tricks

Want to discover how to create an outstanding t-shirt design?

Are you a passionate artist and designer?

Creating a successful t-shirt may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think (which is a relief!). All you need is the right skills, tools and creativity to make successful designs for t-shirts.

Here at Graphic Tide, we love to showcase great art and design, help you discover the latest tips and tricks to improve your own design work, sharing inspirational posts, and publishing blog posts just like today!

Within this blog post, you will discover five epic ways you can create an outstanding t-shirt design. From the references you use, the theme of your design, to your skills and knowledge on the subject, you will discover expert tips to help your t-shirt creation.

It can really help your overall design and t-shirt design skills, so let’s get cracking!

Use popular culture references to your advantage

This may seem like a dodgy tip to start on, but bear with us!

You might wary of the dreaded plagiarism or preaching someone’s copyright, but this is a good element to consider to increase the popularity of your t-shirts.

You can avoid the problem of plagiarism altogether by creating and drawing these designs yourself.

Saying this, it should be taken lightly, and created with only a touch of popular culture references, to avoid you treading into uneasy water. If you work and put some time into your own t-shirt design, you can create an artwork that has a hint of popular reference, which isn’t infringing on copyright.

The first thing you should do is explore different ways to achieve this popular reference. You can recreate a symbol, a shape or even be inspired by a logo to create your t-shirt design.

More and more brands are using the same subjects, colours and symbols within their company logo, which you can become inspired by. If we think of Google and eBay for instance, they use particularly the same colours, and a similar typeface, but be unique within their identity.

So if they can somehow get anyway with it, you can too!

We’re not saying you should literally copy a design, artwork or trademark, as this isn’t what we’re about. But consider including just a little bit of popular culture references within your t-shirt designs.

This could be in the form of a television show, a celebrity or a film for instance.

Add humour to your t-shirt designs

Humour is a brilliant way to boost the success of your designs.

Designing for t-shirts allows you to fully explore your creativity, and create a design which looks great on t-shirts.

Taking inspiration from our previous tip, you can combine a popular reference with humour to create a powerful t-shirt design – who doesn’t love humour and a bit of popular culture?

Experiment with different types of jokes, the way you say them, the composition and the image you use, and you can create a popular t-shirt design.

Use the correct tools to visualise your t-shirt design

A t-shirt design might look brilliant by itself on Adobe Photoshop or on paper for example, but you can only tell if it works on t-shirts by visualising it.

How can we do this without printing your designs on t-shirts?

We suggest you place it on a blank t-shirt within Photoshop or Illustrator and playing around with colours and composition to make it look just right.

Most of the time we can get so caught up in the details of a design or artwork, that we forget what it’s being used for.

Using this Adobe trick can really help you create an outstanding t-shirt design.

By seeing what it looks like on a t-shirt, will help you shape a design which is perfect for a garment.

Use the correct and latest tools

Even though they say a bad workman blames his tools, you can certainly blame not having the right tools if you think your designs aren’t up to scratch.

To create amazing designs for us to sell within our online shop, you need to scan, edit and sent to us correctly.

Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop will be your tools of choice to get started, and we have numerous tutorials to help you succeed in this field.

The software is quite complex to get your head around if you’re a beginner, but it can become your best friend once you get used to them.

Learning these tools is always a continuous act, and can help your designs considerably. Fortunately, there are so many tutorials and guides to help you.

Practice your drawing and typographic skills

Ultimately creating a great t-shirt design comes from your drawing and typographic skill. These are the two skills that you need to turn your average t-shirt to that of an excellent one.

Even if you think your time is limited to practice drawing, you could just spend 10 minutes practising every day.

If you practice 10 minutes a day for a year, that’s 3650 hours of drawing (which really puts it into context!)

If you feel you’re already practising your craft a lot, then helpful blogs, books and resources are probably your next point of call. Experts in the field can help you considerably, as different perspectives are what you need to level up your skills.

Creating T-shirt Designs – Conclusion

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post to help you create an outstanding t-shirt design.

With all of these tips, it’s crucial that that have fun when creating your t-shirt designs. If you manage to succeed with all of these points and have fun at the same time, you will create an outstanding t-shirt design.

We all agree with this at Graphic Tide!

If you would like to sell your own tee on our Shop, do head on over to our submission page, where you will be in with the chance of selling on our online shop, and gaining a commission on every t-shirt sold.

Summary Of Points

  • Use popular culture references to think of unique t-shirt designs
  • Humour sells! So consider adding this theme to your designs
  • Try and visualise your designs on t-shirts using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator
  • Use the correct and latest tools
  • Practice your craft by drawing every day!

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 there. Thanks again, and have a great day!

About the author - HKJS


I'm an Illustrator, Designer & Animator from Hampshire, United Kingdom, and have been illustrating for a number of years. I have a wealth of experience within editorial, maps, posters and book covers. Having a firm interest in the creative industry and everything that revolves around it, I want to share what I've learnt to you. From this, I have a keen passion for t-shirt design and how illustration can become a part of something you wear.

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