The 5 Fundamentals of Great T-Shirt Design

The 5 Fundamentals of Great T-Shirt Design

What makes a good t-shirt design?

Sometimes it just feels like, well, you know it when you see it. But how do you quantify that feeling?

There are many factors to consider when researching and designing something to sell - below are the basic fundamental points which you should always consider when coming up with a new design for your Print on Demand business. 


1. Your Target

Your target is your market and once you find what your market wants then go ahead and make it. You need to link your idea to your target and make your plan reality. 

Every target has a passion, a hobby, a love and every target has something that they will LOVE to wear. Ultimately it is up to you if you are going to design for that target or not! 


2. Colors Matter Too

Colors sell, first and foremost. Whether it’s a one-color white graphic on a black tee, it’s that initial connection that the buyer wants to make. Some people like plain t-shirt graphics, some want super colorful graphics, some want a vintage look. Either way, knowing who the target is, and predicting what they will be drawn to is of utmost importance.

While this information is heartbreaking to designers and illustrators, the design itself is secondary to the colors it’s presented in. Many designers spend so much time on an impressive illustration, only to cloak it in an uninspired colorway at the end. We have to look at t-shirt designs as the whole garment, as opposed to just the graphic printed on it. Will the ink cover too much of the shirt, making the garment feel heavy? Does my illustration work better as a print than on a t-shirt? Do the focal points of the design draw your attention to odd parts of the torso?

Use color sparingly and if you want to go for a bright look make sure you design with colors that compliment not just each other but the color of the t-shirt too. 

3. Your Brand Matters Most

If you are building a brand then you know that what you choose to sell matters. You can have a positive effect on your customers or a negative effect. When you are building a Print on Demand brand whether it be via Shopify, Merch by Amazon or even KDP you need to make sure that QUALITY is the most important factor. 

While you also need to consider quality you also need to consider signing your brand. Many designers choose to fit a symbol, logo or even letter or number into their design. If you research some well-known brands you will see that everything that is owned under their brand always uses one font, one logo, one color or something minimal which links all their designs together. 


4. Have a Reason Behind Your Creation

You need to have a reason behind everything you create. When you have an idea you need to ask yourself why are you designing it and why would someone buy it. Are you designing for a passion, for a cause or for a trend? Think about what makes you stand out from the crowd and always have a reason behind what you create. 



Your choice of font can really make or break the design. If you want a creepy design use a creepy font. If you are designing a rock band t-shirt then don't go using a script design. Try to use no more than two fonts and always pair them together so they look good. You can find some awesome suggestions on Instragram or anywhere on the web if you are looking for some inspiration. 


Designing a t-shirt can be harder than you think but once you realise what your style is and once you figure out your font and color palette then you are good to go!  Time spent researching your market and your competition isn't time wasted! 


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