Are you interested in creating custom t-shirts, either for your personal branding, or commercial branding, perhaps? We have come up with a list of essential steps that will guide you from brainstorm to printing of your brand new custom-printed shirts.
What is the purpose of the shirt?
This is probably the most important step because it will determine how you are going to design your shirt later on. Why do you want a new custom shirt? What’s its exact purpose? List down these reasons so you can use the ideas later when you are brainstorming for design concepts.
If you are designing for promotional purposes, you need to think of the existing branding efforts of the product or service that you want to promote with the shirt.
What kinds of ideas, beliefs, and values, are now associated with the product or service? What kind of engagement are we talking about when we look at the relationship of the product/service with its consumers?
If you are designing for a group or organization, you need to dive in deep to the core of what you think the group or organization is really about. Since promotional shirts for organizations will represent a large number of people, you have to be more careful with deciding upon the design. Otherwise, some people might say “this isn’t me.”
Promotional shirts for groups/organizations tend to focus more on universal concepts/ideas to be on the safe side. General concepts are more likely to attract a larger group of people, and the design will be more warmly received in the end.
You can follow the same process when creating a custom design for a special event, such as a reunion, get-together, company outing, company event, etc.
Essentially, you need to have a more thorough understanding of what other people think of the event, and contrast this with what was formally set for the event. The reason for this is we want people to warm up to the design of the custom shirt quickly. Why? Because we want them to be happy with the custom shirt that you designed, of course.
What is your budget and how many will you be creating?
This is extremely important especially if another person to create shirts for a particular event or promotion has tasked you.
You should be able to work within your budget, and still come up with a great-looking design. Do not worry: the beauty about having custom-printed shirts from online retailers is these retailers can pass on their savings from operating online to their customers.
And if your budget is really problematic, you can still get quality shirts made of cotton at $3 or less from established retailers. Obviously, performance and athletic wear garments can cost several times more than regular, casual shirts, so you have to settle with what you budget can actually accommodate.
Know the elements of design
Shirt designs usually have one or both of these two: images and text. When you know how to tweak the image and text for a specific kind of effect on the viewer, you are going to achieve many things with your tshirt design.
Now, in addition to the image and text, we also have other facets that typography and color. Typography refers to the types of fonts that you use to create the design.
Serif fonts, or the fonts that have tiny lines at the end of each edge of the letter (we call these “tiny arms”), provide a more classical effect to the finish of the design. The effect is classic because serif fonts are heavily associated with textbooks and newspapers. The next type of font would be the sans serif group.
The sans serif group of fonts is rounded, smooth, and has no tiny arms about them. Since these fonts are rarely used in traditional print media years ago, they give us a more modern look that the more youthful shirt enthusiasts prefer.
Now let us talk about color. Colors like green, blue, white, and gray, these are called cool colors that cause the viewer to mellow out and relax.
Warmer colors like red and orange, these are more stimulating. When you combine cool and warm colors, the blending creates a completely new effect depending on what the design is actually showing. Research complementary colors and find out which colors are best matched with one another.
Be hungry for innovation.
Creating a custom shirt is your chance to fully express yourself. With this taken into account, it makes sense for us to remind you that you shouldn’t rush the design process.
Even if you are already satisfied with what you have, maybe you should take a day or more to ferment the design more. Who knows, you might be able to come up with something better when you leave your design for a while before finalizing it.
Also, the name of the game nowadays is design innovation. That means taking one design and remixing it with your own DNA to make it look different and unique. There are so many other t-shirt designs out there and they are beginning to look like each other.
Big question would be: how would you avoid the pitfall of having a design that looks like what is already out there? The answer will always be innovation. So take the time to be doubly creative, and make sure that your design doesn’t look like an ordinary shirt template.
Create a series if you want
If you are creating a series of shirts, you will feel more inspired, because you will have to draft a family of designs that make a lot more sense if they are placed side by side. By creating a series of designs that have a central message or thematic, you will be able to unlock your imagination and creativity even more. Again there are shirts that don’t cost much at all, so feel free to design more than one shirt at a time.
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