How to create your own T-shirt design: 7 tips and 40+ examples

How to create your own T-shirt design: 7 tips and 40+ examples

To choose interesting and unusual clothes among the presented masses of the market is a really difficult task. Fortunately, with simple skills, you can create your own T-shirt design that is limited only by your imagination. We picked up a few rules, tips and ideas that will help you get a T-shirt with your own design and show your personality.

In this article, you will find 7 useful tips for creating your own T-shirt design, backed by more than 40 examples.


  • Where to look for ideas and inspiration
  • How to prepare an image
  • How to use typography
  • What colors to choose for t-shirts
  • How to add a complex composition
  • Size and position of your own print
  • Tools and programs


Where to look for ideas for your own design t-shirts

First of all, an idea. You should have a clear idea of ​​the design of your T-shirt, or at least decide on a pattern or inscription. If you can’t figure out which print would be suitable, look for inspiration on various Internet portals.

Pinterest , Instagram , Behance are ideal options. On the platforms you can find ready-made ideas for printing and simply interesting design projects that can be transferred to your clothes. The portals have an abundance of creative design projects, so sometimes inspiration can come at the most unexpected moment.

If you know the image style that you would like to see on a new T-shirt, finding an idea will be much easier. We recommend that you pay attention to the most common graphic styles that are used in the design of t-shirts:

Art illustrations


Doodle and simple illustrations.

Black and white graphics


Negative space



Photos and collages


How to prepare an image for your t-shirt

The recommended type of graphic file for printing on clothes is vector. This rule does not apply to photographs. They must have a high resolution in order to display qualitatively on the fabric. Modern technology allows you to take photos with a resolution of 12 MP or higher, so difficulties should not arise.

As for vector files, they can be increased without problems without loss of quality. The most common vector image formats are AI, EPS, PDF and SVG. Files are editable in popular vector editors: Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Affinity Designer, Sketch and others.

A raster photograph or picture should have a resolution of at least 200 dpi. In this case, it will be clear and detailed on the clothes. You can prepare a photo for creating your own T-shirt design in raster editors like Adobe Photoshop.


How to use typography in design

Often the text plays a key role in the composition, so all its details become important: the inscription, font, size, colors, additional elements and more. So typography in the design of t-shirts is becoming more popular and diverse. It can be the main design element, or complement the composition of illustrations and photographs.

The main goal of typography in clothing design is to convey the message in an effective way. You can give a word more meaning by using graphic elements and the correct font. Typography also makes people more comfortable with design. A t-shirt with its own inscription can have a simple, minimalist look, and at the same time distinguish you from others.

It is important that the font of the inscription is consistent with the overall style of clothing. You can use the most unusual and bold fonts if they fit into the big picture and correctly convey the meaning of the text. On the Internet you can find a lot of free fonts in styles: minimalism, comic, classic, 3D and many others.

Designers do not recommend using more than 3 different fonts in one composition from typography. If an image is used with text, it is not recommended to use more than 2 different fonts.


What colors to choose for your design t-shirt

Colors are sometimes the most difficult choice when designing your own t-shirt design. When styling clothes, you can adhere to the rules of the psychology of color. You can choose combinations of one color to another, use the color value and select a good shade for a long time. But for a T-shirt with its own design, these rules may not be needed at all. The main thing is that the colors work in favor of the overall appearance of the T-shirt.

An unpleasant mistake of novice clothing designers (albeit for personal purposes) is when the image merges with the color of the fabric. Therefore, in most cases, stylization is first developed, and only then the color of the T-shirt is selected. Contrast always worked well to draw attention to the picture.

Printing does not always accurately convey the colors of the digital version of the image. Design may lose its intensity, and colors may be muted. Therefore, you can provide the printing studio with color codes. Workers in such studios will retain the exact tone of certain elements of the picture or the overall design. As for the style of Grunge, low-quality printing can be only a plus.


How to add a sophisticated composition to your t-shirt design

Composition is a creative way of transmitting visual data, which contains various graphic elements – text, illustrations, photographs, patterns and more. It can sometimes be difficult to harmoniously place all the elements on the canvas. They should not be too scattered over the area of ​​the T-shirt, and should not be too close to each other, creating an incomprehensible bunch of drawings.

Identify key elements of the composition, and keep focus on them. Usually this is the main photo or illustration, supplemented by text. Most often, they manipulate the borders of photos so that they do not have a standard clear line. Designers use masks, frames, add typography to the edges of the photo, or use clipping from irregularly shaped photos.

Typography should always support the idea of ​​a photo or picture. Also, make sure that the inscription does not merge with the background or other elements of the composition. To create a complex composition, you need good skills in a graphic editor.


Size and position of your own print on the t-shirt

The size and position of the print on a t-shirt can also be a difficult choice. There is always a desire to do something unusual and challenge the mass market. However, there are general recommendations regarding the print form. Three simple rules will help maintain balance without going beyond borders. But remember – there are exceptions to any rule if your design look requires it.

  • Square and horizontal rectangular images are usually printed on the top half of a T-shirt (chest). In this case, they are more noticeable, but do not look too defiant. Round prints are also placed on the chest. If you need to focus on the bottom of the T-shirt or stomach – experiment. T-shirts for pregnant women often use belly prints.
  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest
  • Vertical rectangular designs are easier. If the size allows, you can create your own T-shirt design from the neckline to the bottom of the product. Center the image vertically. The width can be placed only on the left or right side of the T-shirt.
  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest
  • Often you can see a T-shirt with its own design on the back of the product. More popular are the labels on the top of the t-shirt. Although large and complex compositions can also look spectacular.
  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest


T-shirt design tools and software

To create your own T-shirt design, you can use a huge number of free resources: vector illustrations, photos, icons, brushes, backgrounds, effects and much more. It is better to use proven services that provide quality products with an affordable license. We recommend that you always check the intellectual property rights to the graphic files, especially if you are designing T-shirts for sale.

  • See also our selection: Where to get vector images for commercial use .

What tools you will use for styling depends only on your skills in processing graphic files. Use the unlimited processing options of popular graphic editors. Or take advantage of online designers who absolutely do not require graphic design skills.

Adobe Photoshop

Known for all raster photo editor – Adobe Photoshop. The program allows you to process photos and illustrations, absolutely without limiting the imagination of the designer. Create collages, add typography, change the background, apply effects or perform any other manipulations with images. For a quality print, you should create a file with a maximum resolution of at least 200 dpi.

Adobe illustrator

A bit inferior to its popularity is the vector image editor Adobe Illustrator. Although it’s better for creating your own t-shirt design than Photoshop, since vector designs are not afraid of scaling. Illustrator allows you to perform almost the same file manipulations, providing the user with an image in vector format: AI, EPS, PDF and SVG.


The free and easy to use alternative to Adobe Illustrator is the vector editor CorelDraw. Suitable for beginner designers who want to quickly create their own T-shirt design. Although professional designers also create works of art using the editor.

Online T-shirt Designers

The fastest and easiest way to design your own T-shirt design is to use the online designer. If you do not have experience in image processing in the above graphic editors, use the simple interface of specialized services. A big plus of such services is that you place the picture immediately on the background of the T-shirt, changing the size of the print and the color of the fabric.

Some services have basic functionality for the rapid development of commercial clothing designs. Others provide a wide range of tools to experiment with.

Benefits of most online T-shirt designers:

  • convenient and intuitive interface;
  • ready-made clothing design templates;
  • detailed typography settings;
  • fitting a print on a t-shirt image;
  • the ability to upload your own images;
  • collection of illustrations, icons, patterns, other;
  • the ability to immediately buy a T-shirt with your own design;
  • the necessary set of tools to create a composition;
  • T-shirt selection: neck shape, fabric color, style.