Custom T-Shirts Printing: How to Design Your Own T-Shirt

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Got a cool idea for a graphic tee? Or a funny phase or slogan that you would like to wear on your sleeve, literally and figuratively speaking? Or maybe you just want to wear something that is uniquely yours, a t-shirt that you can’t find in any other shop or clothing store in the world, because it is designed by you, for you?

Guess what- designing your own custom t-shirts isn’t that hard of a creative endeavor. There are lots of ways with which you can go about this. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started. 

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Start Simple

Remember all of those “Keep Calm, and (Insert Verb Here) On” statement t-shirts that were all the rage a few years ago? Its design is barebones simple- it’s just text and a small crown icon. For your first custom t-shirt project, you can try something similar- a design made out of text and/or a small icon. Make sure to use modern, bold, and easy-to-read fonts, and simple icons that aren’t too complicated. You don’t even have to go crazy on the colors. The t-shirt design can be made out of two tones, at the most.

You can use a dedicated t-shirt design tool for this (search for “t-shirt maker” “t-shirt printing tool” or any other similar search term on Google), or just make your own using whatever graphics editor you have on hand. 

Have A Color Scheme in Mind

Whether it’s a simple statement tee with text alone or a t-shirt with a loud and interesting graphic on front, you still need to consider the color scheme you’ll be working with. 

Dark colored shirts can work well with ink with lighter-colored inks (e.g. pastel colors). It provides an interesting and bold contrast, and the design will seem to “pop” out of the shirt. If you’re looking for a more subdued look, do take note that dark colored ink will look different on your computer screen versus when it’s on the t-shirt itself. The dark shirt color can affect and distort the ink, making it seem more duller and/or darker than when the design is viewed through a computer screen. 

Designs with pastel colors can be hard-to-see, especially at a distance and if you’re using a light-colored or white t-shirt. You can try adding an outline of a darker color so that the design will be viewable from far away. 

Decide on the Placement

T-shirts made for brands and companies usually have their logo and slogans dead center on the shirt. Some would even include graphics and other branding slogans on the back. If you want a creative twist on your shirt, you can consider adding a wrap-around design on the sleeves. You can also try moving the design around on the shirt to see the kind of placement that you would want for it. For example, you can have your brand logo down the front of the shirt (instead of the usual center placement). For shirts with simple graphics, you can try resizing the design (make it as small as possible, but still easy-to-see), and move it near the chest area.