Having been in the business for over 45 years I have seen a lot of T-shirt designs. Some of the designs were amazing and launched businesses and some feel flat. Here are my best tips for getting a custom T-shirt print or T-shirts printed that will be a success and make one happy.
1. Really think about the custom t-shirt design
This is probably the most important step. Take time to create and envision the design. Make more than one draft of the art. Show it to others and then sleep. Hardin Graphics also has years of experience in design and will give you complimentary feedback.
2. See your design on a T-shirt
Print out the design and lay it on top of a T-shirt. Draw a T-shirt around the design. Make decisions at this point about size of design, will it be on the back of the custom T-shirt or front, will there be a pocket design or on the sleeve. See your custom t-shirt design on a T-shirt.
3. KISS- Keep it simple silly
T-shirt designs need to be simple because of the screen-printing process. Ink is being pushed through a silk screen and placed on top of cotton material then sent through a dryer. Really elaborate designs will not read because of the materials used. Simpler is better.
4. Think about your audience
Think about who will be wearing the T-shirt. Think about who you will be giving or selling the custom T-shirt to. A design for your grandmother will need to be different than a design for biker gathering.
5. Pay attention to T-shirt statement
Look at your design and notice what the first read is. What stands out for you? Is it the text, art or neither? By changing sizes or colors you can create the statement you want for your custom T-shirt design.
6. Use the color wheel
Look on line at a color wheel and use colors that are complimentary for a bold statement and colors that are close to each other on a color wheel for a softer statement. HERE is an ONline Color Wheel
7. Explore Custom T-shirt Products
Look at online catalogs or ask Hardin Graphics what would be an appropriate garment for your screen-printing job. Here is our online catalog. Think about who will be wearing it and what type of garment you would like. HERE is Our ONLINE Catalog
8. Have clean art work
Have your art work in digital form using a program such as Photoshop or Illustrator. If the design is more than one color have it digitally separated. Making separate films for each color is a necessary part of the process.
9. Use a reliable and established screen printer
Research who you would like to print your job. Using the cheapest person will not guarantee quality work or a job done on time. Looking at the reviews online and see what people are saying. We have been in business for over 45 years and it’s because of our quality of work and customer satisfaction. HERE is a TRUSTED PRINTER
10. What is the intention- vintage or future car wash rag?
Think about the future of the custom T-shirt. Do you want to create a vintage shirt that will last for 20 years or will this project be okay to use washing the car in a year? Both are totally fine. Just knowing what your intention will drive the budget and time spent doing the design work.
11. Notice trends
Notice what is hot for the season in both design, custom apparel and color. Notice what others are wearing on the street, in magazines and at local events. Look on Pinterest to get ideas and of course consult Hardin Graphics for trends.
12. Know your budget
It is important to know what you are willing to spend for your custom T-shirts. There is a wide range of costs. To go cheaper keep your design to one color and use an inexpensive T-shirt. More expensive jobs are usually 4 color process and printed on higher end garments.