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T-Shirt Design Tips

Design Tips

Best Way to Design a Dope T-Shirt

Clever Shirt Sayings

Last Updated: 09-27-2021

Top 5 Tips to Design a Dope T-shirt 

(one that is remembered)


Your t-shirt designs have important work to do!  More than just a pretty picture on a t-shirt, taglines are brand ambassadors spreading your message to the world.


A logo identifies an organization, showing what they do or the community they are a part of.

A tagline completes the story and carves a space that's uniquely assigned and categorized by the audience. The sole purpose is to connect the visual graphic to the core of what makes you different.



1. Identify Your Audience First
Think of a BullsEye.


Be specific in your approach and identify your target audience first. Remember that an emotional connection with your audience is critical.  A message and design aimed at everyone is hard to remember, because the emotional connection is not present.  
Arrow target logo

The design must be memorable, unique, and carefully targeted towards a specific demographic. Utilizing graphic imagery and a tagline will help to define a space that sets you apart.


Break It Down Like This:

  • Target audience: pet owners
  • Narrow by pet type: dog, cat, other
  • Narrow by interest: (dog) training, health, toys, other
  • Narrow further if possible: (training) house training, obedience training, agility training
  • Location Importance: Y / N


Final Target = Pet Owner + Dog Obedience + Specific Location
Why is this important? Images and text for art history majors are unlikely to appeal to a pee wee football player or an engineering student. Be specific. The tag lines, colors and graphic elements you choose will have greater impact and be more likely to be shared and remembered.

2. Create the Tagline

Short and sweet drives your message home. Choose words that convey your message in as succinct and powerful a manner as possible. Distill your message down to just a few words and try to make an emotional impact.


3. Choose Font Style & Color


Balance the visual display of the tagline and t-shirt graphic so they flow and work together. Remember, you are painting with words.


Choose a similar font style to complement the logo or graphic image.

The color of the tagline should also complement the graphic image. If there are many colors in the graphic, use the most prominent one for your tagline.


In This Example: Logo is Navy
Dog training company logo

4. Combine Graphic and Tagline

Most iconic t-shirts and successful brands utilize the combination of a simple graphic, tagline, and focused marketing to communicate who they are, what they stand for, and what makes them better or different than a competitor.


These elements work together to create an emotional connection with your target. The graphic leads and is most prominent. Your tagline serves as the connector of the target to the graphic and the graphic to the tagline. It's the center point of the brand, but doesn't overpower or act with importance. It is sneaky and subtle, almost subliminal.


When done well, they grab attention, elicit an emotional response, and make the outsider part of your inner circle.


The position of the tagline is centered beneath the logo.

We chose an easy to read font in dark blue with a slight slant to attract attention.

Dog training logo - pack leaders made here

5. Select a T-Shirt Style and Color that work


After doing all the work of identifying your target, creating and incorporating a tagline with your graphic, make sure to choose the style and color of shirt that correlate to the reason for the purchase. Will the t-shirts serve as uniforms for employees? Will you give the shirts to customers as a promotion or a way to thank them?


Example 1:

T-Shirt Design: Uniform

Style Needs: Breathable fabric option. Hides stains. Budget is a concern.

Color Needs: Light Colors.

Placement of Artwork: logo on left chest. back logo + features.

Style: BD55 in Athletic Heather.

50/50 is breathable. Athletic Heather hides stains. Best for Budget.

Best Deals short sleeve shirt

Dog training company left chest and back logo design 

Example #2:

T-Shirt Design: Customer Giveaway

Style Needs: Something nice but not too expensive.

Color: Dark Color

Placement of Artwork: something humorous on the front - not a uniform.

Style: 980 in Charcoal.

100% Ring-spun Cotton Printed T-Shirts are Soft. Less Boxy. Affordable.
Anvil short sleeve tshirt 980

Pack leader logo 

Creating a clever SLOGAN can help your company and/or brand stand out in a crowd.


Slogans and taglines are somewhat similar. Both are clever marketing words that help customers to remember you, but there is a big difference in the intent of the message.

A slogan often refers to a product or specific service within a broader spectrum of products or services that are sold. A tagline encompasses the overall mission of the company or brand as a whole. 


Here's a great example of the difference:

General Mills is the company. Wheaties is the product. The slogan is "Breakfast of Champions"


Home Depot is the brand. The tagline is "More Savings, More Doing".


Creating a slogan is fairly simple. Here are some rules:

  • Make it Memorable
  • Define a Key Benefit
  • Differentiate from Competition
  • Evoke Positive Feelings


Looking for an easy way to get your creative juices flowing? Begin to watch commercials on TV, listen to commercials on the radio, or read ads online or in a magazine. You'll soon notice how often companies of all types and sizes use clever slogans and taglines to get you to remember them.  Pay attention to what appeals to you, what you don't like, and ask colleagues, friends and family to do the same. Don't be surprised that what is appealing to you may be less appealing to someone else. We all have our unique way of perceiving the world around us :)



be memorable stand out

Being Memorable Matters


A good t-shirt design may go viral as more people react, discuss, or share it. The increased interest will improve your brand recognition, increase sales, and create new opportunities.

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