10 Easy Steps to Design the Perfect T-Shirt

May 7, 2020

Coming up with the perfect t-shirt design is guaranteed to maximize your profit as a seller on GearLaunch. First, it’s important to think about your target market. What are their personalities, likes, or interests? Once you’ve familiarized yourself with your target market, it’s time to start designing. It’s best to develop your own signature style and keep it simple!

10 Easy Steps to Design the Perfect T-Shirt

1. Determine Your Target Market

In the e-commerce business, your target market is referred to as your “niche.” It’s impossible to sell a product to everyone, so it’s smarter to target a specific group.

We suggest that you select 2-3 broader audiences that interest you and combine them into an even more specific group, or niche. For example, if your target market is Chicago residents, women, and dog lovers, create a shirt that says, “This Chicago Girl Loves her Dog.” While this certainly doesn’t sell to everyone, it sells well to that specific niche market.

girl wearing a gray t-shirt with "This Georgia Girl Loves Her French Bulldog" with picture of the dog and hearts around it

2. Understand Your Market

Once you’ve decided on your target market, it’s important to do a little research so you understand who they are and what type of design will work best.

Ask yourself these questions before you start designing:

  • Where do they live?
  • What’s the weather like there?
  • What do they like to do?
  • What are their passions?
  • What makes them happy?

When brainstorming a design, always draw inspiration from your niche. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself if you would wear a t-shirt with your design. If you can answer yes, move on to the next step! If not, keep delving deeper into the process of understanding your niche.

3. Choose the Right Designing Software

It’s finally time to get on a computer and begin designing. Don’t bother learning a whole new system, just use a tool you already know. If you’re new to designing, there are a ton of fantastic design tools that are free to use. Check out our recommended list for beginning designers here!

If you are more experienced at designing, we recommend using either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. They’re both easy to use and produce excellent results.

4. Keep It Simple

One thing to always keep in mind when designing a graphic is that less is more. With hundreds of different ideas going through your head, it can be tempting to add too many elements to the t-shirt design.

You want your shirt to be eye-catching, but you also don’t want to overwhelm your customers. Make sure you limit the number of words, colors, and images in your design. It’s always best to start off simple and add more if it’s not enough.

Man in sunglasses wearing a white shirt with "April Birthday 2020 The Year When Poop Emoji got real *Quarantined"

5. Choose the Right Text

When you’re designing using text, it’s important to consider the words themselves as well as the font. What would your niche market want their new favorite t-shirt to say? Any phrase should be short and to the point, but long enough to make a statement. If you need ideas, take some time to search social media for trending phrases relevant to your audience.

Child on swing wearing a white shirt that says "In My Defense, I was Left Unsupervised"

When it comes to choosing the right font, experiment a little until you discover which one works best with all the other elements that make up your design. When in doubt, go with something simple and legible.

6. Choose the Right Color Scheme

A good color scheme can really help your campaign on GearLaunch and increase your profit. As always, your choice of color should be relevant to the needs and desires of your targeted customers. It may take some trial and error, but if you stick to our best design practices for colors, you’re sure to find a winner!

You can also try this Adobe program that lets you visualize multiple color combinations. It’s a great way to color before constructing the other pieces of your design.

7. Choose the Right Images

If you’re using somebody else’s images, be mindful of legal issues with copyright and trademark. Read all about the Copyright and Trademark Guidelines E-Commerce Businesses Need to Know.

Designing your own images is a great way to express your unique style. As always, let your target audience influence your choices and try to keep it simple while being bold and making a statement.

8. Explore Unique Styles

Once you’ve picked the text, colors, and images that cater to your niche and will ensure maximum profit, it’s time to get a little more creative. Experiment with a variety of shapes, depths, textures, and symmetry until you’re satisfied with your product.

Man wearing green shirt with Thailand on it with a palm tree and 3 faded white stripes

Get inspired by these tutorials for 10 alternative design styles. These different techniques require a bit of extra time and effort, but they produce some really cool results!

9. Keep Experimenting to See What Works

Don’t be afraid to take a chance! Write out your ideas, draw sketches, play around with color wheels. Trial and error is crucial.

Show your friends and family for initial feedback. Then, you can test out new ideas with your audience on social media or through email, and use their feedback to come up with an amazing design.

10. Finalize all the details.

Your last step is to ensure that all of the elements mesh well together. Don’t overthink it! You can always add more to your design or change another aspect, but eventually, you need to generate a finished product to sell to customers. Once you’re confident that you’ve created the perfect, profitable design, upload it to GearLaunch and begin your campaign!

Ready? Sign up here to launch your e-commerce business.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 20, 2015, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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