It is important to cater to the correct audience. You want your design to make sense to those who will be wearing the shirt. For example, when designing a shirt for a local rapper, script fonts and filigree probably won’t cut it. It’s necessary to become familiar with your audience so you can effectively design something that they will connect to. Draw inspiration from current trends and elements that are iconic to that particular audience.
When choosing a color scheme try to use colors that give a cohesive feel to the design. A good metric to go by are complimentary colors, warm colors, or opposing colors on the color wheel. Searching the web or Pinterest for color schemes is a great place to start. Save some that you like for later use.
A design principal I learned early on is “If it does’t work in black, it won’t work with color.” Start out with less instead of more. The design of shirt needs to effective with one color, often to meet the client’s needs. Employing the use of half tones is a great way to add shading and depth to any design. You can easily make a 1 color design appear to be a 2 color design by combining half tones and the color of the shirt. When using multiple colors you can take a 2 color design and easily get what appears to be a 3rd for 4th color.
Often shirt designs will only be text with no graphic elements at all. Take the time to find the right font to cater to your audience. A great typeface paired with a graphic will really pull the overall design of the shirt together. Be cautious of using too many fonts. You probably shouldn’t be using more than 3 fonts in any one shirt design. Try pairing an extra decorative font with a more simple one. No one ever complains about Helvetica.
The best part about designing a shirt is bringing the clients ideas to life and seeing how happy they are with the product. Use these helpful tips to let us make some great shirts!