December 14, 2021

13 Things to consider before you design your T-shirt

What’s more satisfying than rocking a fresh new t-shirt that you designed yourself? And if you’re part of a tribe what else could make you feel more part of the crew than a custom, well-fitting, stylish t-shirt?

When it comes to custom t-shirt printing, nothing matters more than the design. Mistakes can cost you drastically with customised t-shirts. Have you ever been in that cringe-worthy situation: you order t-shirts for your team in bulk for that one special event, and

when they arrive, the design isn’t what you expected, making you and your whole team look and feel, well, a bit silly? Sadly, we’ve seen this happen more than once.

That’s why we’ve jotted down some notes for you, so you and/or your team can get the desired result. We want you guys to look and feel amazing out there in the arena, whatever setting that may be.

Contents

1. Fabric

2. Complexity

3. Content

4. Sizes

5. Colours

6. Contrast

7. Image-quality

8. Fonts and typography

9. Style

10. Placement

11. Composition

12. Inversion

13. Borders, masks, and edges

Let’s go through each factor in detail.

1. Fabric

These t-shirts will represent YOU when worn in the outside world, and if they aren’t good quality, you’ll feel it, know it and frankly they just won’t last. At TeamTees we only supply high quality, preshrunk cotton tees, so you can rest assured that you’ll be getting a premium product.

2. Complexity

Ever heard of KISS? Keep It Simple Stupid. Well, it applies to t-shirt design too. The human eye can only process a limited amount of information at once. If you try to include too many graphics, loads of text, and multiple colours in your design, your custom t-shirt will only be screaming ‘disaster!’. So try to keep it simple.

3. Content

In the end, it’s a t-shirt, not a banner! Don’t try to fit all your banner content directly onto the t-shirt. Take the essence of your message and make it catchy.

4. Sizes

Some say that size doesn’t matter, but in t-shirt design, not only does the t-shirt size matter but so does the print size. The right print size will depend on the type of design you have chosen and also the properties of the t-shirt.

Depending on the shape of your design, it can look much bigger than it should. For example, square or circular shapes tend to look better when they are smaller than standard. A good idea would be to print out your design at home on regular paper and hold it up to your shirt to get an idea of how it will look.

5. Colours

Too many colours in your design will not only make it too overwhelming to look at but could also affect your budget. More colours equal to more cost per t-shirt. As a rule of thumb, you should use one to three colours.

However, with screen printing, in some cases, we can use a technique called halftones, which are essentially tiny dots that can make three or four colours look like many more. It’s like magic!

Get in touch with our designers for your FREE artwork. They’re more than willing to work with you to bring the best team tee for you. To get started, visit www.teamtees.co.nz

6. Contrast

The contrast in design refers to the visual difference between the darker and lighter parts of the image, or the way shades of colours correspond to each other.

The design itself can have a lot to do with the overall contrast, depending on the content, which colours have the most surface area, and which are the most dominant. An eye-catching image with bold colours will contrast well with a neutral background.

Remember, it’s not always about achieving the highest contrast, but a visually pleasing balance. The subtle look of a low-contrast print is quite popular too. Sometimes less is more.

7. Image Quality

It’s so easy to get images off the internet and use them for your design. But they tend to be too small, typically 72 pixels at full size, to be printed. Ideally, images should be 300 pixels or higher at full size.

8. Font & Typography

Typography in design is the art of typesetting or arranging type in a way that makes sense: choosing typefaces (fonts), ensuring the letter spacing and line spacing are just right and interacting with the graphic elements in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

A basic rule in printing is to stick to three fonts and no more than that. The choice of fonts will depend on the purpose of the tee, as fonts have a personality: some fonts are professional, while others are informal.

9. Style

Nobody wants to wear designs that are outdated! Make sure you are in tune with what’s trending.

10. Placement

our design could be so cool that it turns heads – but get the placement wrong and heads will be turned for the wrong reason. A common mistake is the belly print, which is never flattering.

Whether your design is in a standard print location such as full-front or full-back, or an alternative placement, let us know the specifics, and our team will make sure your design is print-friendly, show you a sample of how it will look and have your t-shirts ready in no time.

11. Composition

Every design has elements that are arranged in relation to each other and this is what makes up the overall composition. There are a few basic composition rules that can improve a design dramatically when followed. You can find them in many online resources.

Some typical mistakes are: elements being too spaced out or too bunched up, or the entire design being off-balance, drawing the eye to the wrong place.

12. Inversion

Inversion, or commonly known as a reversible t-shirt design, can be tricky. Especially when printing white ink on black garments, and you probably don’t want your design to look like an x-ray.

Sometimes it’s not easy to tell if a design can be inverted or not. 

To be on the safe side, send us a reference image from any of these sites: Pinterest, Dribbble, Behance and we’ll let you know if it can be done.

13. Borders and edges

A photo just sitting on a t-shirt with plain edges can look boring or even cheap and unprofessional.

There are a lot of options to fix that. The simplest is a thin white or black border which can instantly improve the appearance. Alternatively, you could go with more of a frame, maybe with

beveled edges or fancy details.

Custom tees are fun, but only if they are well designed and comfortable to wear. Knowing what to consider before designing your t-shirt will save you time and money.

Let us help your team become #teamier! We make high-quality customised tees, hoodies, and accessories for any team.

Check us out at www.teamtees.co.nz