Virgil Abloh, creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear, once said: “Graphic T-shirts are the most important and most expressive format for a designer or person. Your taste in graphic tees says a lot about your views.” 

And in many ways, he’s right. But what makes a successful T-shirt is not up for much debate.

If you’re just starting out, check out these T-shirt design tips to help get the ball rolling.

5 T-Shirt Design Tips to Help You Build a Better Brand

T-shirt design is more complicated than you think. With so many factors to consider, here are five of the most important ones to avoid making a rookie mistake. 

1. Invest in High-Quality Material

Nobody wants to wear a shirt that’s itchy, fits improperly, or fades after just a few washes. Although you might think it’s a good idea to opt for a cheaper fabric, customers are actually willing to pay a little bit more for higher quality products. 

So invest in a material that’s soft, comfortable, and ideal for your design. And don’t just stick to crew necks; explore other fits, like tanks and v-necks, to reach a wider audience. 

2. Avoid Color Overload

Colors are just one visual element that evokes emotion. For best results, stick to between 1 and 3 colors. This way, it doesn’t take as long to produce the shirt, it doesn’t overwhelm your viewers, and it produces a more “iconic” image. 

3. Only Use High-Resolution Images

The ideal resolution for T-shirt images is 300 pixels or dots per inch. Anything lower than that will blur the image when it’s scaled for printing. 

To avoid this common mistake, don’t source your images from Facebook, WhatsApp, or other social media sites that compress their images. Instead, use search tools on Google to filter out only high-quality images, but make sure you have a license to reuse and/or modify them to avoid a copyright suit. 

4. Pick the Right Typeface 

Fonts are another visual element that evokes emotions and ideas, whether intentionally or not. A good rule of thumb is to never use more than three fonts in one design; otherwise, it becomes too complicated. 

And avoid Comics Sans whenever possible. This font is a go-to for many businesses that want to appear “fun” and appeal to a younger demographic, but the truth is, there are other options to explore that aren’t so over-used. 

5. Be Mindful of Composition 

Composition refers to the relative arrangement of elements in a design. If the elements are too spaced out, too bunched up, or read in the wrong order, it could result in confusion or general failure of the design. 

Here are some elements of composition to consider when drafting your design: 

  • Contrast
  • Alignment
  • Balance
  • Hierarchy
  • Proximity
  • White space
  • Repetition offers detailed explanations of each element, as well as how you can use them to create an effective design. 

Keep Your Target Customer in Mind

The most important thing to consider when designing T-shirts is your customer. What’s their demographic? What makes them tick? What do they find appalling? How can you use your design to relate to a wider audience? 

Defining your niche will make all of the above T-shirt design tips much easier. When it’s finally time to design your logo, Rocky Mountain Apparel suggests you choose one that will never go out of style.

Ready to get started? Contact Rocky Mountain Apparel to make your creative vision come to life.