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When it comes to t shirt design, there are a lot of easy wrong ways to design a t shirt -- mistakes you won't even realize you're making.
However, if you stick to these 5 proven t shirt design tips, you can avoid the worst of those pitfalls while creating eye-catching t shirt designs to promote your business or event.
The first step in the design process should involve identifying your objective(s). What's considered a great t shirt design can vary depending on what you're hoping to accomplish. Are you looking to promote a business? Raise awareness for a charity? Convince people to attend an event? The best t shirt will look different for each activity.
Much of your approach will come down to your target audience. For example, the kind of humor that might appeal to a young adult could offend a senior citizen. And a joke that might go over well at a family reunion could alienate potential customers. (When in doubt, you might consider conducting some basic market research -- talk to some of the people you're trying to reach and get their opinions.)
Many of the most recognizable designs share one common trait: simplicity.
How many times have you seen the Nike Swoosh on a t shirt? No matter the size or color, you likely recognized the logo right away.
While complex designs look appealing, think about the most prominent companies' logos. Many are almost shockingly simple, so when you see the design on a shirt, you recognize their brand right away.
A logo doesn't have to be huge to be eye-catching. Going for a strong color contrast will automatically be a lot more likely to catch peoples' attention. You don't need to master color theory to create this effect, either -- all you need to do is pick a color scheme for your design that stands out against your fabric color. (For example, a deep red against a light blue garment.)
And, when you keep your design simple, you can use that attention to get your message across. This is also why it's important to pick the right font for your t shirt design. You'll want to go with something simple that can be read at a distance. (Sans serif fonts, for example, tend to be extremely readable.)
While multiple colors can make for stunning t shirt designs, you don't necessarily need a lot of t shirt colors. A simple combination will often stand out more than an elaborate mix. (And if you had access to unlimited colors, you'd likely wind up with a mess!)
Think about how many t shirts you've seen over the years. Which ones have stood out to you? I imagine the overall composition has often been pretty simple -- maybe a cool graphic design in a single color or possibly something humorous. The point is you don't need to create an overly elaborate t shirt design to deliver your message.
If you've learned anything from this miniature crash course, I hope it's that t shirt design doesn't need to be overly complicated and you're generally better off when you try to keep things simple.
Don't be scared that you won't come up with the perfect t shirt design because -- spoiler alert -- there's no such thing as a perfect design. However, so long as you design a t shirt with these principles in mind, you should be well on your way toward creating an effective custom t shirt.
Above all else, making t shirts should feel fun -- it's a great opportunity for you to flex your artistic 'muscles' to create something truly great. (And if you need design ideas, be sure to check out our blog.)
So, what are you waiting for? Start designing a t shirt today!