How to Design Custom T-Shirts

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All sorts of people create custom t-shirts nowadays, from high school bands and little league teams to bars and bunko groups. Inexpensive and unintimidating, custom t-shirts are a great way to bind a group together, advertise an event, or show team spirit. Most businesses offering custom t-shirt screenprinting have the experience and expertise to help you to avoid beginners’ mistakes, but just to be on the safe side, read on to learn how to design a custom t-shirt that clearly communicates just the message you hoped it would.

First, it’s important to spend some time brainstorming. You might think your first idea is perfect (and maybe it is!), but chances are, once you get your creativity juices flowing, you’ll come upon an even better idea. A great design takes time and creativity, both of which can’t be rushed. It’s also important to involve other members of the group. Run ideas by the whole group so that everyone is on board with it and allow team members to contribute their own design suggestions. Involving more people, you’ll inevitably round up more ideas, making for a more thoughtful and interesting t-shirt.

As you consider the design, think about your group’s personality and message. Are you modern or old-fashioned? Crazy or elegant? Fun or somber? Your design should communicate something about your group and do it clearly and carefully. Also, although you might be tempted to throw all of your design ideas at this t-shirt, remember that simplicity often goes hand-in-hand with effective communication. Although you should feel free to make your design crazy and cluttered (that’s the beauty of customized t-shirts!), simple designs usually communicate a group’s name and idea more clearly.

Next, think about color. The more ink colors you use, the more expensive the t-shirt will be, so limit the variety of colors if you’re on a strict budget. Talk with the printer as you make your decision and look at samples to be sure you pick the right shades. Remember that a sample swatch is not always an accurate representation of color and be sure to consider the t-shirt’s design and text. If you’re purchasing white t-shirts, for example, it’s probably not a good idea to have a paragraph of text in yellow.

Text size is also very important. When you get to the final stages of your design, print it out on paper and have someone hold it up to their torso so you can see what it will look like. If you take a few steps back, can you still read the text? Is the logo visible? If you’re hoping to advertise, this is especially important. Be certain that important information (like your team name, company, charity, etc.) is large and readable.

Finally, be sure to ask lots of questions so that you know that you and the printer are on the same page. Communication is key!

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