Learning to design your own t-shirt can be a lot of fun. It allows you to explore your creativity and imagination and it means you can have a fantastic collection of unique t-shirts that you know you will never see anyone else wearing.
While there are no hard and fast rules regarding designing your own t-shirts. There are a few basics that you will want to keep in mind in order that your design looks appealing, and also so that it does not run off or fade away within the first few washes.
In addition, there are several other technical considerations that need to be factored in when you want to design your own t-shirt. This is because printing on t-shirts is quite from printing on paper and involves a whole new set of techniques.
Most t-shirts are made from pure cotton. Some contain a small percentage of polyester (this is usually to do with a desired material finish such as making a heather grey or a mottled or particular effect). Some also contain elastane, which makes the material more stretchy and is generally used on body fit or more fitted style garments.
There are a various different types of cotton material including:
Each type of cotton fabric is different, and has a different effect. While one type of design or artwork may look good on one particular kind of fabric. It may not go well with another so it is important that you discuss the various options and finishes with the proposed manufacturer or your t-shirt supplier.
Cooltex and similar type 100% polyester materials are also becoming more popular in sports garments. They are designed to improve air flow between material and skin and to help the body's sweat to escape more quickly and easily.
Garments made from these so called 'technical fibre' materials tend to be more expensive than the equivalent cotton t-shirts and would probably be more suited to a lower volume promotion, team uniform or retail garment.
When you want to design your own t-shirt, probably the most important factor to consider is how comfortable the material is to wear, usually the softer and smoother the material, the more comfortable it is. I always advise clients that the best way to find out is to get some samples and test them out for comfort themselves.
Material weight this is also important and generally ranges from around 135g - 160g (light to medium weight) to around 185g - 205g (heavyweight), which is the weight of material per square metre of material.
For the budget conscious, short term or once-off promotions, lighter weights are generally the most suitable option. For longer term promotions, workwear or retails/fashion use, the general rule would be go for the heavier weight material and the best you can afford.
Colour is a very personal choice; however there are a few points to consider to create a perfect design on your t-shirt.
1) The corporate, brand or club colours, material colours should complement the design that will be printed onto the garment.
2) Is the garment aimed at males or females or should it be unisex?
Often promotional garments for low to medium volume promotions, (50 - 1000 units) will be taken from stock and generally tend to be all in one solid colour, mostly white or black.
There are some stock garments available with contrast colour sleeves, panels or trim such as Gamegear Cooltex t-shirts or Fruit of the Loom baseball t-shirts or Ringer t-shirts with contrast trimmed neck and sleeves or cuffs.
For corporate and brand promotions and workwear, design will be hugely influenced by the existing corporate logos and branding. Keep the important messages in bold, readable text and bear in mind the background colour.
If you want something to stand use good contrasting colours, for example white on blue (or most dark colours), black on red, yellow, or on most bright/light colours, would be an excellent choice.
Finally if you have any questions on the subject of design your own t-shirt, or need further advice or help, please contact me
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