The t-shirt is an important surface for creative and meaningful art. People craft and buy custom t-shirts to recognize a social cause, celebrate an occasion, declare their allegiance, and spread a message. Of course, they want to look good in them too. If you operate a t-shirt printing business, or even print them as a hobby, you provide those looking to express themselves with t-shirts that match their personality and values. To keep your product fresh and exciting, here are three tips for creating innovative t-shirt designs.
Avoid Tired Design Tropes
First, resist the urge to rest on the laurels of past designs or fall into the trap of putting out a boring product. There are several design tropes you should specifically avoid so that customers don’t immediately associate you with uncreative, cheap shops they see, particularly in tourist traps.
Placing long blocks of text on a shirt, especially without varied text sizing and styles, is typically unengaging and tacky. Also, inserting your own locale or word into long-established designs such as the “I Heart NY” logo is a lazy way to go. This also applies when using popular cartoon characters and other figures.
Switch Up Your Materials
Another tip for creating innovative t-shirt designs is to adjust what materials you use. If you use heat transfer vinyl (HTV), for instance, there are many different types of HTV you can use to branch out and diversify your product. Also, adjusting what material you print on gives you flexibility. Cotton, polyester, or blended fabrics are all eligible materials, given you can print on them, and they afford you differing textures and looks.
Master Sizing, Placement, Contrast, and More
To really create interesting t-shirts, you need to become a student of design. That means learning how little details affect the entirety of your print and making necessary adjustments.
You’ll learn—whether from a class, books, tutorials, or some other source—that design size is vital. Keeping logos and images small yet noticeable is a balancing act that keeps shirts comfortable and stylish. Meanwhile, placing designs high enough (near the chest) prevents your product from looking awkward. One final note—using appropriately contrasting colors helps people notice the shirt’s details. Learning these and other principles gives you the tools to up your product quality now and continue your innovation well into the future, too.