How to Make T-Shirt Designs Like a Pro

How to Make T-Shirt Designs Like a Pro
If you’re thinking of opening a merch store, you have to keep in mind that you want your designs to turn heads! In this article, we’ll teach you how to make t-shirt designs for your online store like a pro.
If you’re thinking of opening a merch store, you have to keep in mind that you want your designs to turn heads! In this article, we’ll teach you how to make t-shirt designs for your online store like a pro.

For many people, a t-shirt isn’t just a casual piece of clothing they’d wear to keep themselves warm.

A t-shirt is also statement wear they’d use to express themselves.

Design is an important factor for many who purchase t-shirts.

If you’re thinking of opening a merch store, you have to keep in mind that you want your designs to turn heads!

In this article, we’ll teach you how to make t-shirt designs for your online store like a pro.

The Importance of Design in T-Shirts

As mentioned earlier, t-shirts can be a statement piece.

No matter what your niche may be, your designs should be tasteful for your target audience.

There is no specific standard for design.

Some designs may be colorful, funky, and electric, while some may just be simple, minimalistic, and classy.

The defining factor is how you will be able to offer unique designs that suit the preference of your target audience.

mand and woman in plain white tees

The design speaks for itself.

Some brands have a specific design aesthetic.

When you establish your own kind of design, it will create an identity for your brand.

Your design sets you apart from other brands and from other competitors.

High-fashion designer brands have a distinct style to them.

Whatever the product may be, customers can easily identify the brand name because of the distinct taste, aesthetic, and colors of the design. 

Designs are crucial to a merch or print-on-demand business.

Some designs can be copyrighted from other people’s work which can put your store at stake.

In most cases, your designs will be turned down by platforms like Merch by Amazon, Etsy, or Redbubble.

Worst case scenario, they can suspend your account indefinitely. 

To avoid these, you need to make sure your words and designs aren’t copyrighted and are original. 

But how do you create unique, original, and attractive designs like a pro? Here are a few steps to do so:

Make T-Shirt Designs for Your Online Store

One way to make sure that the design you’re using for your merch products is unique and license-free is by making your own design.

It can take some work, but it isn’t impossible to do. 

1. Consider Your Niche and Target Audience

Before designing a shirt, you need to first consider your niche and target audience.

Starting with your niche, think about the trendy and hit styles in the market within your niche that are making the most numbers.

What kinds of designs are they? Research is an important step to find out what designs are doing well in your niche and which ones are outdated. 

Secondly, you have to take your audience into account.

What is their age range? Gender? Profile? Social Status?

By taking these all into consideration, you can research the kinds of designs that do well on these certain demographics. 

2. Consider Your Brand Style

Once you figure out what works well in the market within your niche and target audience, find a way to match it to your own brand style.

How did you brand yourself?

What are the colors, aesthetics, and designs that you wanted to reach to your audience?

What message do you want to get across with your designs?

Matching your designs with your branding is important in creating a distinctive identity.

While you would want to take ideas from best-selling designs in the market, it is also important to establish your own creativity and uniqueness as a brand. 

idea loading shirt design

3. Take Time to Conceptualize the Design You Want

Once you settle down with your branding, take as much time as you want to conceptualize the designs that are on your mind.

Sketch it out on a piece of paper, go for a walk, ask for people’s opinions, etc.

It’s common knowledge that not many are gifted with aesthetic designing and conceptualizing.

That doesn’t, however, stop you from creating your own merch store.

In reality, there are many sites today such as Threadbasket that offer many tools and services to help you with your design conceptualization.

There are tons of unique stock designs that you can choose from across many kinds of niches.

They are made especially for merch sellers.

The platform has its own in-house design team and tons of VAs that can help you bring your ideas to life.

Gone are the days when you have to deal with designers that couldn’t figure out what you want.

Now, there are many professional designers that know exactly what works well in the market.

The best part of the platform is that all designs are of the highest quality.

This means that the print quality will not be compromised once you commercialize your shirts. 

4. Be Careful With Words and Humor

If you want to put text on your t-shirt design, it’s best to take it easy on the words and humor.

Remember that print-on-demand (POD) platforms have their own policy manual for sellers.

Most of them prohibit offensive, profane, and vulgar words.

It is also important to guard your humor so it doesn’t offend a particular set of people.

When it comes to text, make sure that your words aren’t copyrighted.

Brand names, quotes, song lyrics, etc. are not allowed to be put on your statement shirt.

You can create your own unique statements but you are not allowed to copy statements that are already trademarked. 

5. Imagine It on a Shirt

Once you finalize your design, don’t be afraid to play it with mockup designs first.

Add your design to t-shirt mockups to see how it would probably look on a shirt.

Remember that a design might be different from what it looks like on a shirt.

Experiment with it and try to print a few products if you want.

Once you’re settled with it, it’s time to move to the next step.

6. Source a Good Printer

While most POD platforms offer their own printing services, you may opt to choose your own printing provider if you want.

Sourcing a good printer for your merch business is very crucial to your success.

It will determine the quality of the product that you will give to your customers.

Remember that a good design has got nothing of good quality.

If your design only lasts about two washes, then it would serve your customers no good.

You will only get bad reviews if you compromise the quality of your printing.

Source a good printing option and try out a few samples before you decide on it.

Alternative Method to Get Professional Designs

The beauty of selling shirts or merch online is that you don’t need to come up with your own design.

This is not to say that you can just download designs on the internet deliberately, but instead, you can either hire someone to make the design for you, or you can buy and download as many licensed designs as you want for a fixed price from stock design websites like Threadbasket

screen printing shirts

Buying a Design vs Hiring a Designer or Doing It by Yourself

Sure, working with a graphics designer or an artist can make your design work a lot easier, plus it gives you more liberty to create, experiment, and play around with different designs that you have in mind.

However, this isn’t necessarily an efficient method to run a merch or print-on-demand business, especially if you’re just starting out.

On top of that time, it would take to conceptualize and work it out with your designer, the cost of hiring one may not be ideal for self-starters. 

Stock image sites like Threadbasket have a wide array of license-free designs you can choose from.

All you need to do is to search for the design you fancy and browse through their archive of designs.

It’s more efficient and fast to produce more merchandise by simply buying designs from this site.

You’re also guaranteed that the quality of the designs is top-notch because they have professional in-house graphics designers who conceptualize and create new designs every day.

Not to mention, the cost is only a tiny fraction of what you’d pay for a professional graphics designer. 

This is not to say that hiring a designer is a bad idea.

Production-wise, though, you’re better off buying unlimited designs for a fixed price because it’s going to speed up your t-shirt production without compromising quality.

The whole point of print on demand after all is establishing a sustainable and manageable t-shirt business online.

If you don’t have an efficient process in place, it would totally defeat the whole purpose of that business framework. 

Let’s Wrap It Up

Design is a crucial aspect of many products.

For a statement piece like a t-shirt design is the number one factor that customers look at.

First, find the right design for your niche and target audience.

Next, don’t be afraid to ask for help from platforms that help you conceptualize the most unique and high-quality designs for your store.

Finally, source a good printer that will provide you with high-quality products. Selling merch has never been made easier!


Thank you for reading, and we hope you found this useful. If you have any questions or want to engage in a real-time discussion with us on this matter, follow us on Twitter.

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