How To Create Kick-Ass T-shirt Designs

How To Create Kick-Ass T-shirt Designs

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Categories: Tips and Tricks

Would you like to be a successful t-shirt designer?

Here at Graphic Tide, we’re always looking for new ways to help you become successful t-shirt designers, from selling your work through our shop, showcasing your work on our social media platforms, and writing brand new blog posts to help you out, like today!

This blog post is not only going to help you create kick-ass t-shirt designs, it will drastically improve your art and designs as well, an excellent combo we think!

In order for you to sell t-shirts and become a successful t-shirt designer, you need to tackle your approach, experiment, and use your sketchbook, amongst many other working methods.

So, we decided to create a blog post which is going to share tips and tricks to help you create kick ass t-shirt designs, which you’ll be able to adopt into the designs that you submit to us at Graphic Tide.

Why Showcase Your Designs On T-shirts?

Firstly, it’s a great way to market your own work and help you get your name in front of a brand new audience.

If you think about it, a t-shirt design is not only shared online through social media and other forms of marketing, it’ll also be worn by the people that buy them, spreading the word about you and your talents!

Who knows who these people will talk to, who sees your artwork, who will get introduced to your art, which is amazing.

It’s a totally free marketing tool which you can take advantage of!

These people will promote your artwork as these are the people that bought the t-shirt design, and because they invested in the t-shirt, they’ll like the artwork which is on it.

It’s a golden and priceless way to promote your work, without you doing anything.

How To Create Kick-Ass T-shirt Designs – Thumbnailing

In order for you to create kick ass t-shirt designs, you have to research, draw and thumbnail your idea before going into the final artwork.

No great piece of work was just ‘created’ in one go, but required that particular artist to think about the design, sketch it out in their sketchbook, and thumbnail it until they were happy with the result.

What do I mean by a thumbnail?

A thumbnail sketch is a small drawing in a sketchbook or paper, where you work out the image composition, design and overall idea.

They are usually small and are not concentrating on the quality of drawing, but that of the idea and composition, which is the most important part here.

They can work out the composition, the idea of the piece, and see what areas they need to improve, which you can do yourself too.

Before creating your kick-ass t-shirt design, be sure to work from the sketchbook or pieces of paper first, and really work out what you’re going to design, before going onto the computer.

The best artists and designers work out their images before going to their computer to start the final artwork, as they can enhance their creativity from their sketchbook.

Not only will it save you time and effort, it’ll keep you focused on the task at hand – to not worry about the quality for now, but to concentrate on the idea, composition and theme of the piece.

How To Create Kick-Ass T-shirt Designs – Experimenting

Do you really know what your best working method is?

One sure way to help you evolve as a t-shirt designer, is to experiment with new ways of working.

Like using gradients? How about experimenting with flat colours?

Enjoy being expressive with your mark making? Try and be as detailed as you can!

Experimenting is one sure way to improve your ‘style’, and discover new ways of working which can positively impact your work.

This can really dramatically help you evolve and see new ways of working which you might not of ever considered beforehand, which is why it’s so important to experiment.

Consider experimenting in your sketchbook first, and then consider experimenting digitally.

How To Create Kick-Ass T-shirt Designs – Approach

Before you even start creating your kick ass t-shirt design, have a think about the approach which your going to embed into your design.

Are you going for a humorous approach? What about a sinister theme? Or a popular culture look?

Whatever you decide to choose, make sure you stick to it, and really make use of it.

Sometimes, t-shirt designs get confused with their approach and overall theme of a piece, which is often mixed and hard to understand.

This is why it’s good to really plan out your t-shirt design, and think about it’s theme in its entirety.

Look at these examples from our voting platform and shop, these are the designs which have a clear understanding of it’s theme, which communicates excellently to the audience.

Follow These Tips To Create Kick-Ass T-shirt Designs

If you have a artistic talent, are passionate about t-shirt designs, or just want some more exposure, be sure to follow these tips, and submit your work to us.

Use your sketchbook to rough out your designs, work out the theme of your piece, experiment to work out new ways of working, and have fun with it!

The most important tip that we can share is to work out your design within your sketchbook or pad of paper, before going onto the computer.

Become a kick ass t-shirt designer with these tips, and submit your work to us, we know we’ll be blown away!

Who do you create your t-shirt designs?

Comments are more than welcome.

Summary Of Points

  • T-shirt designs are a free marketing tool, as others will wear it, and promote your work for you, for free!
  • Use your sketchbook and thumbnail your design, think about it’s colour, it’s composition, it’s theme, and work it all out before going onto the computer
  • Experiment with your art and designs to discover new ways of working, with you can employ into your work
  • Think about your approach, and make sure you work out exactly what your design is trying to communicate. Is it funny, serious, or does it play on a conceptual idea?
  • Have fun with it, and be sure to submit your work to us, we’ll love to see it!

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 - 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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