embroidered t-shirt design

How to Design Your Own T-Shirt

Research has shown that 85% of consumers will remember advertisers who give them a shirt or hat. Direct to garment printing allows you to create practical, comfortable T-shirts with a fun and stylish embroidered T-shirt design. This can be good for your business’s marketing efforts, as potential customers are more likely to keep a T-shirt they can actually wear than they are to keep a promotional pamphlet. They’ll then join the statistic mentioned above and be sure to remember your company.

Whether you want to make custom design T-shirts for your business or just for fun, the following are the steps you’ll need to take to create a great embroidered T-shirt design. Even better, these steps can be applied to both embroidered T-shirts and embroidered hats.

Step 1: Planning Your Design

First, think about what your T-shirt design represents. It might just be a promotional piece, like a logo and a slogan for your business, band, or project. Or it might be something with a deeper meaning, like an inspirational message or a political statement. Maybe you’ll want to combine the two.

You can create an original photograph or drawing to use in your design, if you have the skills and equipment necessary to do it. If not, you can still make a very attractive and meaningful design using text only.

Whatever you do with your design, make sure you don’t use someone else’s copyrighted assets in it. If you need to use someone else’s illustration, photograph, or symbol, make sure it’s in the public domain or labeled for reuse and modification. Using someone else’s material in your design, even if it’s mostly hidden, can get you in serious legal trouble.

After figuring out what your design will stand for and how you will create it, you will need to select a color scheme for your design. Here, you’ll also want to consider what color of material the shirt will be made with. If you’re going to be printing on a black shirt, light colors will stand out better. If you’re printing on a shirt that’s white or gray, you’ll want to use darker colors in your design.

If necessary, you can get away with using lighter colors on white shirts by outlining the light colors in black. This way they still stand out sharply from the shirt color.

You’ll also want to be sure that the colors you choose compliment each other well and look good on the shirt material. For help with finding great color combinations, you can use online tools for free.

Step 2: Create Your Embroidered T-Shirt Design

You may want to draw your design on paper first, even if you’re primarily using text with different fonts for the finished design.

If you’re using an original drawing for the design, you’ll need to draw this first. Next, you should scan this drawing into your computer, so you can touch it up in image editing or digital painting software. You can find a myriad of free solutions that will work for you.

To retouch a drawing in a digital program, you’ll clean up any stray lines that are a part of the sketch but don’t really belong in the finished illustration. You can also increase contrast to sharpen the lines, or you can go over the lines digitally to refine and sharpen them further. You can add effects and embellishments as the software allows, or you can keep it simple and just go with the mildly touched-up drawing.

You will want to color the drawing on the computer as well. This step will be much easier to follow if you have a basic drawing tablet, but a touch screen, trackpad, or even a mouse will suffice.

In this stage, it’s important to note that computer colors and real-life, printable colors often look nothing alike. To get a digital representation that’s as close to reality as possible, you should set your project settings in your program to display colors in CMYK instead of RGB (CMYK colors are printable; RGB colors are only viewable on a screen).

Step 3: Print Your Design

Finally, it’s time to send the embroidered T-shirt design to a qualified direct-to-garment printer. You’ll need to export the design as a transparent PDF or PNG file, at the highest resolution possible.

If you’re looking for an experienced direct-to-garment printer, contact Austin Instant Tee Shirt Company today.

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