How to make a great t-shirt

Continuing with my research, I’ve been looking into merchandise and how to make the most of my message through T-shirts, tote bags, badges, etc.

Here is some of the information I’ve gathered so far:

According to RIPT, “Having a cool design idea in your head is great, but physically getting it to look good on a custom t-shirt is a completely different beast.” Here are some of their tips for putting out a t-shirt that you can really be proud of:

  • Brainstorm the concept in detail
    You should ALWAYS, for every project, lay out an outline for how you’re going to proceed. It should list all of the major steps you’ll have to take. Decide on colours, ink types, printer type, graphic placement and more, before you dive headfirst into production.
  • Use trial-and-error
    You’re going to have a lot of testing and experimenting. Don’t rush to print the t-shirt out. You find out what works and what doesn’t BEFORE actually starting printing out the t-shirt. If you don’t experiment and test, you may find yourself with a shitty t-shirt and you’ll be wasting loads of ink and fabric. BE SMART.
  • Detail is great, but so is simplicity
    Illustrations with great detail are usually very nice and are instant eye-catchers. However, they do take a long time and effort to be made correctly. Remember that small, simple designs can have even greater impact on people.
  • Create contrast in colours
    It can be very difficult to see graphics if they are the same or nearly the same colour as the fabric of the t-shirt. While some tees are done this way on purpose, they tend to use a textured ink, stitching, or layered fabrics to create some contrast to the viewer. Even so, such designs are not meant to stand out and be bold. If you really want to make heads turn, use bright colors in contrast with darker tones.
  • Do your graphics at actual size
    Only you can visualize the final product in your mind’s eye. If you don’t specify the size you want your design to be, the person in charge of printing your tees may use his own judgement and preference to size it.
  • Change texts to outlines
    Every print studio is equipped with different graphics design programs with different font sets. If you happen to be using a font that’s not supported or one that is completely custom-made, edit your texts and change them to outlines so that they become universal images that won’t have incompatibility problems.
  • Use images from pop cultures
    If you want your graphics to have universal appeal, use images that are common in today’s pop culture.
  • Be funny
    If you can cleverly incorporate humor into your graphic tee designs, you might have a winner on your hands–but that’s only if you originally planned to use humor as part of your plan. Good humor will draw people in, but bad humor will keep customers far away.
  • Make a statement
    The majority of graphic tees are not just meaningless designs. There are usually some underlying meanings behind the artwork and the sayings, and that’s what makes the t-shirt so significant. Graphic tees serve as a both fashionable apparel and billboards to advertise products and opinions.
  • Use a quality printer
    You could have the most ingenious design ever, but if you use a cheap printer with low-quality ink, you’re going to end up with a shoddy product. The design will not be able to come to life without the appropriate technologies and techniques.
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