Grab the March 2018 Arsenal Product Bundle

Graphic Design Bundle

It’s a great month to be a member of Go Media’s Arsenal subscription. Not only do you have access to our entire library for only $15/mth, but you are able to download this month’s special graphic design bundle of products at no extra charge.

Members: Download now (no extra charge)

Not an Arsenal Member yet? Join now and gain instant access to our entire library, including this bundle, for only $15.

Get it for $15 when you subscribe

Not interested in our membership? No worries. You can still purchase this bundle for 60% off the original price, now through 3/31/3018 – or the individual products inside of it, on their own.

What’s Included in this Graphic Design Bundle by Go Media’s Arsenal:

Graphic Design Bundle

Graphic Design Bundle: March 2018 Arsenal Product Bundle

Members: Download now (no extra charge)

Get it for $15 when you subscribe

iconic t-shirt design

Seven Questions to Ask Yourself When You Want to Create an Iconic T-Shirt Design

Apparel Design

It seems like everyone is creating a t-shirt line these days. But creating a great t-shirt design is an art few can master. Luckily, the team here at Cleveland graphic, logo, web design studio Go Media has a rich background in apparel design to draw from, as do friends of Go Media, designers Herman Lee, Ed Pincombe and Dan Byler of Jakprints.

Today, we are sharing 7 questions to ask yourself when you aim to create your next tee design. Like any other project, you want to concentrate on designing “an iconic graphic that leaves a great impression to the viewers through all different kinds of medium,” reminds Lee. But when dealing with apparel, your own set of questions will arise.

Various tee designs for 410BC by Herman Lee
Various tee designs for 410BC by Herman Lee

Seven Questions to Ask Yourself When You Want to Create an Iconic T-Shirt Design

Have you fully immersed yourself into the project?
Know your audience! Like any great project, put your research in before pencil hits paper. Creating a band tee? Familiarize yourself with the band, fans and the merch referenced in the brief. Listen to their music, read their lyrics and come to know what they’re all about. This should all play into your eventual design. Study the brief, ask lots of questions and make changes based on feedback.

Does it highlight your customer?
Companies like Red Bull and Go Pro have done a wonderful job of making their customers feel like rock stars. Who says your t-shirt design can’t accomplish the same thing?

As Jeff notes in Thread’s Not Dead: The Definitive Guide to Starting a Clothing Line, “People still look at t-shirts as a medium for art and for a message. When you wear a t-shirt with an image or text on it, you’re saying something about yourself. You’re sending a message to all who see it. The message may be simple like, ‘I like this band.’ Or ‘I love New York.’ You might also just think that the style or the imagery represents your interests and makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself.”

Your messaging is powerful and the owner of your tee becomes a part of your brand. What do you want your audience to feel, represent, say?

Bold is Beautiful Design by Go Media's Jeff Finley
Bold is Beautiful Design by Go Media’s Jeff Finley


Does it push the envelope?

As Jeff says in Thread’s Not Dead, “good design will blaze new trails in what people are wearing. A good design pushes boundaries and does things differently. It starts new trend, forges new printing solutions, and advances the industry.” A great example of this is Jeff’s Bold is Beautiful design that people said could never be printed.

Evil Robot Tee by Ed Pincombe
Evil Robot Tee by Ed Pincombe

Is it clear?
“I think a simple, clear concept is most important. Your execution can be detailed and complex but if a viewer doesn’t “get it” in seconds it most likely isn’t going to be that iconic design you are looking for,” says Pincombe.

Various tee designs for Design by Humans by Herman Lee
Various tee designs for Design by Humans by Herman Lee

Does it make great use of space?
“Use the whole t-shirt as your canvas. Your design doesn’t have to be fixated dead center of the t-shirt,” notes Lee.

Bicycle Chef by Johnny Cupcakes
Bicycle Chef by Johnny Cupcakes

Did you logo make a prominent appearance?
Sure, you’d like to get that logo front and center. But placing it playfully is part of the fun.

Have you considered the end product?
The t-shirt should speak for itself. Clean, crisp, simple, memorable, timeless. But think outside the box for a moment. How will you deliver the tee to your customer? Will you create custom tags? Special packaging? Will you include freebies to show you know your customer and their quirks? You’ve gone this far. Knock it out of the park and turn your customer into the brand evangelist you want them to be.

Now go for it!

Once you’ve designed and mocked up your tee, it’s time to put it out there for all the world to see.

Untitled-3
Click to discover the World’s Best Mockup Templates

“All of the most iconic t-shirts have one thing in common, notes Cleveland printing company Jakprint’s Dan Byler. “They started with an idea that someone had and that person acted on their idea. Take the plunge and print your shirt.  Yes, it takes time and money to print apparel.  No, it’s not a guaranteed success.  How else are you going to find out if your idea is any good without putting it out there?”

__________________________

For more on creating an iconic t-shirt and for all you need to know to create a killer clothing line, pick up Thread’s Not Dead: The Definitive Guide to Starting a Clothing Line by Go Media Partner Jeff Finley

Design the Perfect Rock and Roll T-Shirt with our Newest Arsenal Release

How to Design the Perfect Rock and Roll T-Shirt

When creating a rock and roll tee, nothing comes to mind more than a perfectly illustrated, bad ass skull and crossbones with snakes and chains thrown in for good measure. Am I right or am I right?

Get ready to craft up your own original masterpiece with a little help from Marketplace Artist, Steve Knerem, rock and roll tee expert. Steve has created this, the Skull and Snake T-Shirt Design Pack to help in your process. The possibilities are endless with this pack!

Buy the t-shirt design pack now – $17

skullandsnake t-shirt design-tee-sm

You’ll grab:

  • All 10 Illustrations including snakes, a skull, angel wings, illuminati eye, flower, brass knuckles, chains, horse head, and more.
  • the Original .AI file of this design
  • Men’s Triblend Ghosted mockup template

As a bonus, we throw in a sample of Jeff Finley’s popular eBook, Thread’s Not Dead, the Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry.

Use the elements in the skull and snake t-shirt design pack in Adobe Illustrator to create your own unique work of art.

You can either use this design as-is without changing a thing or mix and match. We recommend using the detailed snakes, skull and wings to create brand new designs.

Here’s what you get:

rock and roll t-shirt  skullandsnake-everythingyouneed_large

rock and roll t-shirt skullandsnake t-shirt design-breakthedesign
10 Hand-Drawn Vector Elements
gma_tmp_mens-crew-ghosted-front03
Men’s Triblend Ghosted Tee Template

Now go off and create something great!

Buy the t-shirt design pack now – $17

New T-Shirt Vector Pack Release: Produce an exceptional and unique t-shirt design in moments. (Yes, you!)

New T-Shirt Vector Pack Release: Produce an exceptional and unique t-shirt design in moments. (Yes, you!)

Hello Designers,

If you’re like me, there are a million things you want to accomplish. Like, today.

But time (and frankly, a tiny bit of skill) have kept me from checking those things off of my ever-growing list.

Until now.

Thankfully, I have some amazing friends who have hooked me up with the tools I need to not only check off my to-dos, but look like somebody who’s somebody doing them too.

And they’re here to help you as well.

Introducing the T-Shirt Design Pack

Here we go ya’ll. A way to actually design an exceptional (and unique) t-shirt in moments (little design skill needed…but lots is great, too).

I don’t know about you, but I consider it a miracle.

dayofthedead-feature-images

With today’s release, the Day of the Dead T-Shirt Design Pack by Steve Knerem you’ll get everything you need to design the perfect t-shirt:

  • All 10 Haunting Illustrations
  • The Original .AI file of this design (allowing you to make it all your own)
  • A Men’s Triblend Ghosted Mockup Template to make your final design look professional and realistic
  • As well as a sample of Jeff Finley’s popular eBook, Thread’s Not Dead, the Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry, so that you can be on your way to apparel industry greatness

break_the_design

So, what do you say? Let’s not waste any more precious time…

Click here for design greatness, only $17.

How to design a great t-shirt (even with minimal design skills) quickly: The Unleashed T-Shirt Pack by Steve Knerem

In design, it seems, speed and quality rarely go hand in hand.

But there are some instances when you can have it all.

Introducing the T-Shirt Mockup Pack

With our new t-shirt mockup packs, you can design a great t-shirt quickly.

Seriously.

Here’s what happens: we hook you up hard core with all of the artwork and mockup files. You take those files into AI and modify the original illustration (if you so choose). Then, you mockup your design in Photoshop with some of the World’s Best Templates (ours of course). Bada bing, bada boom: you’ve got a t-shirt to call your very own.

You have ultimate creative freedom, giving both you seasoned designers, and those of you with beginner design skills, countless possibilities.

Today we unveil…

The Unleashed T-Shirt Design Pack

unleashed-feature-image1
This t-shirt design pack includes:

  • All 9 Vectors created by Steve Knerem
  • Both Original .AI files of this design, offering you 2 color variations from which to work
  • 2 Mockup PSDs: a Ghosted Long-Sleeve T-Shirt and Zipper Hoodie (Back Version)

As a bonus, we throw in a sample of Steve Knerem’s Video Tutorial: Hand Illustration for T-Shirts: Part 1 of 3

I want it now – $17

Take a peek at the goods

2colorvariations breakthedesign_unleashed1

Sample Included
Sample Included

So, umm. What are you waiting for?

Give it to me now – $17

Want to create a customized rock and roll tee (minus the lengthy design hours)? We can help.

Life as a designer can be completely overwhelming. With projects constantly coming through, work piles up and never-ending revisions make for long days and late nights. It isn’t like we’re not completely thankful, but let’s be honest:

Sometimes we just need a break.

Thankfully, we know of a little shortcut sent from heaven. This shortcut cuts precious hours, saves us money and basically makes us look like rock stars.

Introducing the t-shirt design pack.

roadhog-feature-images1

This little gem of a product is a designer’s dream. Why? It includes everything you need to design a great customized t-shirt in no time flat:

  • All of the vector illustrations (no need to create your own!) by the amazing OK Pants (otherwise known as Aaron Sechrist) 
  • All original .AI files (including 4 color variations masterfully chosen for you)
  • A tri-blend ghosted t-shirt mockup .PSD (professionally present your artwork)

And looky here you even get:

How do you start saving your own sanity?

Just click here:

Road Hog T-Shirt Design Pack by Aaron Sechrist

break_the_design gma_tmp_mens-triblend_front-ghosted roadhog-feature-header

Present Professional Photorealistic, 3D Designs in Minutes using the World’s Best Mockup Templates

Separate the men from the boys…

Want to knock the socks off of your clients, whilst instantly boosting your street cred?  Take a few extra moments in your design process to mock up your art using the World’s Best Mockup Templates. (Promise: It works every time my friends).

The mockup is a trick of the trade for Go Media and the top design professionals in our community. Why? It gives your clients professional, high quality, palpable, photorealistic 3D imagery of your designs. The result fools them into believing you went the extra mile to produce a physical mockup!  (But it’s okay, we won’t tell!) Not only will your client be über impressed, but you’ll just generally be able to communicate your vision to your printer and have a clearer vision of the end product yourself. (You’ll stand a little taller, too.)

Read on to choose the best templates for you.

Pick Your Templates!

We have three options, all giving you the highest quality mockups. You can select the best site for you, depending on your wants and needs, skill level and access to software.  Take a quick glance below and choose your own adventure.

smulogo
Shirt Mockup
What is it?
An Easy-to-use online platform to realistically
mockup your designs on tees.
How much will it cost?
Access to free mockup templates as well as
pro subscriptions at $9.99 per month are available
What will I get?
To save out jpeg snapshots on site
Try it free for 7 days!

mockupeverythingwords
Mockup Everything
What is it?
An Easy-to-use online platform to realistically mockup your designs on t-shirts, as well as variety of print products in categories such as technology, outdoor, food & beverage, sporting goods and more. At least 5 new templates added every month.
How much will it cost?
Access to free mockup templates as well as
pro subscriptions at $12.00 per month are available
What will I get?
To save out jpeg snapshots on site, with the option of purchasing individual templates at an additional (but small!) charge
Try it free for 7 days!

arsenal_logo
Arsenal
What is it?
Go here to purchase the world’s best templates in the form of layered Photoshop files set up to give your artwork a photorealistic presentation
How much will it cost?
PSD files are available in packs, bundles and collections
starting at only $9
What will I get?
To download the PSD files you have purchased: they’re yours for life – the perfect design and mockup tool for personal and commercial use!
Click to Buy Some Templates Now!

Questions? I’m your girl! Email me, Heather, now.

How to Get Your Apparel Line into Retail Stores

Launching Your Apparel Line

Check out the "How to Start your own Clothing Line" section of the GoMediaZine's Start Here page
Check out the “How to Start your own Clothing Line” section of  our Start Here page

Start Here

Designed your own original and unique t-shirt, printed and branded your work, ready to launch? Now you’re ready for the big time.

For a lot of brands, the holy grail of going big-time is getting into well-known retail shops. There’s certainly an appeal to being able to go into your local mall and see your brand on the racks. How do you get there? Here are some general tips for breaking into retail, straight from Cleveland Design Agency, Go Media Partner Jeff Finley’s book, Thread’s Not Dead: The Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry.

Never Say Die.

Most of the successful “big-time” brands will tell you it wasn’t easy getting to where they are and that there’s no formula for success. But you’ve got to be willing to tough it out, deal with rejection, and be ready to ride the roller coaster. You must also have the capabilities to manufacture hundreds or thousands of shirts. For those wanting to go beyond the side project phase and go bigtime, read on.

Our Taking Back Sunday "Sink Into Me" Design
Our Taking Back Sunday “Sink Into Me” Design

“How to My Apparel Line into Stores,” you ask?

1.  Be Proven. Your line needs to have a history of selling well. If you consistently sell out online or have built up a large fan base online, this increases your chances of getting into a retail shop. If all you have are mockups and no history of selling anything, you need to prove yourself first. It’s like a band trying to get signed to a major label and play big shows when they can’t sell out the local pub down the street.

2. Be retail-ready. This includes hang tags, custom poly bags or packaging, printed shirt tags, etc. You need to look put-together in order to be taken seriously by retail stores. Johnny Cupcakes often reminds people at his talks that those that pay extra attention to these little details are the ones that stand out and are successful.

3. Have a line sheet or lookbook. A line sheet is basically a PDF of your t-shirt line with product info and photos of product. Include info about your brand, the names of the shirts, t-shirt color and specs, item number, prices, sizing, and other specs unique to your product.

TBS_Flash3

Don’t forget to mockup your designs.

4. Do your homework. Find out what stores you want to be in and get all the information you can about them. Make sure your brand fits the style and will look good
with the rest of the products they sell. Talk to the buyers. Find out who makes the buying decisions and set up an appointment to show them your samples. The employees at your local retail shop are not likely the ones making decisions.

5. Talk to other brands who have made it. Learn from their experience! Walk into the stores you want to be in and write down the names of the brands you find. Do your homework and look up contact information for them and introduce yourself. Be polite and see you can set up an interview with them to discuss their experiences. If you have trouble finding information about a brand, it might be because they’re a store brand under a different name. For example, I saw a brand called Aces & Eights at JCPenney once and couldn’t find a damn thing about them online. From what I gathered, it was just JCPenney putting out a line of tees under that name.

6. Go to Trade Shows like Magic or Pool. You can meet a lot of retail buyers and talk to brand owners and consumers alike. You can really get a feel for what the current trends are at these events. Eventually, setting up your own booth should be on your annual to do list. There are others like Agenda, ASR, and Threadshow.

7. Hire a Sales Rep. Find someone who has experience selling apparel to retail buyers. They do this for a living and are likely better at it than you. They also already have the contacts that everyone wants but doesn’t have. Some stores already have relationships with certain reps and buy from them often.

8. Bring samples. Retail buyers and sales reps like to be able see the actual products before they make a decision. It makes sense right? They like to feel the garment and test the quality and fit. This also gives your buyer a chance to notice all of your attention to detail!

9. Be professional yet personable. This is common sense in the industry. Buyers are attracted to people that know their product inside and out and can speak about it with passion and conviction. They buy from people they are comfortable with. If you can’t manage to clean up and persuade someone to want your tees, then get a sales rep.

10. Be persistent and follow up. When you contact a store, rep, or buyer, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back. These people can have hundreds of brands trying to get into their store! Make a spreadsheet of all the people you are contacting and when you need to follow up. Make sure you follow up and be persistent. Just don’t be annoying and if they say no, it usually means no. Don’t nag anyone, you don’t want to damage your reputation.

Jeff's Bold is Beautiful design
Jeff’s Bold is Beautiful design

Other Options:

Sell at Local Boutiques and Consignment Shops

You can swing by your local clothing boutiques and ask if you could sell your line on consignment. The terms vary, but you only get paid if the shirts sell. The shop gets to keep a percentage. This is a good way to get your feet wet selling in stores. There’s no guarantee of making any money, but you can test the waters and get your brand name out there a little bit. You’ll need to find shops that sell to the type of consumer you are looking for. Do your tees fit in with the boutique? If you find that your tees are selling locally, then you can consider moving on to more national stores.

Sell at National Chains and Department Stores

If you want to sell your stuff at Hot Topic, H&M, or other chain stores like that, you’ll need to talk to their regional sales reps. You can find them at the major apparel trade shows looking at hot new brands to buy up. However, if you’ve got a large following online, these stores may find you through word of mouth. Urban Outfitters contacted Go Media asking to purchase a bunch of Obama skate decks that Oliver Barrett designed. We agreed on a price, signed the deal, and saw the deck in their stores. It was kind of a lucky shot there, but his design was timely and fit with what they were looking for.

Working with Distributors

Dave from Paint the Stars says, “Distributors are a great way to get your brand into places that you might not be able to reach independently.” They can also help you with manufacturing and producing your tees. Getting a distribution deal is like getting a record deal, which is one way to get more exposure and sales. Dave says he’s had good and bad experiences with distributors. “We’ve found ourselves bound by some pretty unreasonable contracts that have only benefited the distributor and left us with nothing but a bunch of empty promises.” He warns, “It’s easy to get drawn in with promises of brand exposure, marketing you never dreamed of, and crazy production. So make sure you go through every minor detail of a contract before you sign it.” Through their roller coaster experience, they have decided to start their own distribution company called Breakout Distribution to help themselves and other indie brands take it to the next level without a lot of the fine print from major distros.

tnd
Grab it:
Thread’s Not Dead: The Essential Strategy Guide for
Dominating the T-Shirt Design Business

Adding to our over 175 Mockup Templates!

We are obsessed with making you look good.

Here at Mockup Everything, we are proud to provide you, our users, an easy-to-use online platform for applying your graphic designs to a growing variety of print products.

We offer mockup templates in categories including technology, apparel, print, outdoor and food & beverage, with over 175 templates in our library to date.

Each month, lucky Pro Users* are treated to at least 5 new templates and this month is no different.

* A free version is available too, whoo-hoo!

Adding to new templates, including:

  • long and short sleeved t-shirt templates
  • tank top templates
  • raglan templates
  • sports jersey templates
  • active wear templates
  • hoodie and outerwear templates
  • headwear and accessory templates
  • baby and youth templates
  • packaging and branding templates
  • billboard templates

8 New Templates!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve added 8 new templates to the MockupEverything.com library!  Take a peek at this month’s additions.

We’ve shown some of the templates mocked up with designs by the talented Jeff Finley. You can grab Jeff’s vectors on the Arsenal, where we are selling his Awakened T-Shirt Design Pack.

Cuffed Beanie, Flat Version

Cuffed Beanie, Flat
Find me here: All > Apparel > Cuffed Beanie > Flat on MockupEverything.com
Mock it up on MockupEverything.com!
Mock it up on MockupEverything.com!

Cuffed Beanie, Ghosted Version

Find me here: All > Apparel > Cuffed Beanie > Ghosted on MockupEverything.com
Find me here: All > Apparel > Cuffed Beanie > Ghosted on MockupEverything.com

Snowboard

Find me here: All > Print > Sporting Goods on MockupEverything.com
Find me here: All > Print > Sporting Goods on MockupEverything.com
Mock it up on MockupEverything.com!
Mock it up on MockupEverything.com!

Crew Neck: Front and Back

Find me here: All > Apparel > Men's > Crew Neck T-Shirt > Front and Back on MockupEverything.com
Find me here: All > Apparel > Men’s > Crew Neck T-Shirt > Front and Back on MockupEverything.com
Mock it up on MockupEverything.com!
Mock it up on MockupEverything.com!

Sweatpants, Front

Find me here: All > Apparel > Men's > Sweatpants > Ghosted > Front on MockupEverything.com
Find me here: All > Apparel > Men’s > Sweatpants > Ghosted > Front on MockupEverything.com
Mock them up at MockupEverything.com!
Mock them up at MockupEverything.com!

Sweatpants, Back

Find me here: All > Apparel > Men's > Sweatpants > Ghosted > Back
Find me here: All > Apparel > Men’s > Sweatpants > Ghosted > Back

Hockey Jersey, Back (Ghosted Version)

Find me here: All > Apparel > Jerseys > Hockey Jersey > Back
Find me here: All > Apparel > Jerseys > Hockey Jersey > Back

Men’s Triblend (Version 2)

Find me here: All > Apparel > Men's > Triblend > Flat, Version 2 > Front on MockupEverything.com
Find me here: All > Apparel > Men’s > Triblend > Flat, Version 2 > Front on MockupEverything.com
Mock it up on MockupEverything.com!
Mock it up on MockupEverything.com!

Keep in mind, as a Mockup Everything User, you’ll be treated to a jpeg snapshot of your work.

Want a PSD file?  Head straight on over to the Arsenal, where you can purchase Mockup Template packs like these:

gma-adv-hoodies2
Advanced Hoodie Mockup Templates, now available on Arsenal.GoMedia.Us
Men's T-Shirt Flat Templates now available on Arsenal.GoMedia.Us
Men’s T-Shirt Flat Templates now available on Arsenal.GoMedia.Us

What are you waiting for? Let’s Mockup Everything!

Introducing the Awakened T-Shirt Design Pack by Jeff Finley

How to Design a Great T-Shirt:

We’re proud to introduce a brand new product to the Arsenal today: the t-shirt design pack.

This product includes everything you need to design a great t-shirt. The pack includes vector illustrations, a tri-blend t-shirt mockup PSD and the completed original vector design. As a bonus, we’re including a free chapter of our popular ebook Thread’s Not Dead: The Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry.

awakened-feature

The first pack was created by our very own Jeff Finley. Jeff’s pack, Awakened, focuses on sacred geometry and enlightenment. We think it’s pretty darn divine.  Check out what’s included.

awakened-includes

awakened-vectors

awakened-shirt

For more great products, such as mockup templates and vectors, head over to the Arsenal!

Love the t-shirt and need it NOW?

Buy it on Society 6!

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For more on t-shirt design, check out these GoMediaZine posts –

The Fundamentals of Great T-Shirt Design
Newbie’s Guide to Beautiful T-Shirt Mockups
Starting Your Own T-Shirt Line. Part I: Start Up
Starting Your Own T-Shirt Line. Part II: The Creation of Your Art and Working with a Printer.

The Fundamentals of Great T-Shirt Design

What makes a good tshirt design?

Sometimes it just feels like, well, you know it when you see it. But how do you quantify that feeling?

Despite a good, solid understanding of design, many are stumped and come looking to Jeff Finley, partner here at Go Media and author of Thread’s Not Dead, The Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry, for answers.

Jeff shares some not-so-obvious fundamentals of great t-shirt design in Thread’s Not Dead, so we’ve decided to share some of them with you today.  We’ve also asked a few of our friends, t-shirt greats Brandon Rike, Dan MumfordGlenn Jones and Anthony Hall to weigh in.

Keys to Great T-Shirt Design:

Wondering, how do I design a great tshirt?

1. Hit your Target.

brandon1
Brandon Rike | Beastie Boys Train Shapes Tee Design

“The bottom line is that a good t-shirt design is one that catches the idea of the intended target so much that they want to wear it. Not only will they wear it, but they will love it so much that they will never throw it away.” – Brandon Rike

“The great thing about t-shirts is that everyone has different taste so you’ll find a market in whatever you create. You just need to link to the audience.” – Glenn Jones

Glenn Jones, creator of T-Shirt brand Glennz tees
Glenn Jones, creator of T-Shirt brand Glennz tees

2. Design for your Client.

“I design for the audience, no questions asked. Designing with your own agenda is only your way to let the client know that their needs are secondary, and you’re gonna do whatever you want to do with the project. This wastes your time and theirs, and is disrespectful to the people offering to pay you for your services. It takes a better designer to work with the client, and make sure they are happy, and get out of the exchange with a better end product than they had anticipated. If you can’t design within someone else’s parameters, then I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood your occupation.” – Brandon Rike

Mumford & Sons Pistol Label Tee | Brandon Rike
Mumford & Sons Pistol Label Tee | Brandon Rike

3.  Color is King.

“Colors sell, first and foremost. Whether it’s a one-color white graphic on a black tee, it’s that initial connection that the buyer wants to make. Some people like plain t-shirt graphics, some want super colorful graphics, some want a vintage look. Either way, knowing who the target is, and predicting what they will be drawn to is of utmost importance. While this information is heartbreaking to designers and illustrators, the design itself is secondary to the colors it’s presented in. Many designers spend so much time on an impressive illustration, only to cloak it in an uninspired colorway at the end. We have to look at t-shirt designs as the whole garment, as opposed to just the graphic printed on it. Will the ink cover too much of the shirt, making the garment feel heavy? Does my illustration work better as a print than on a t-shirt? Do the focal points of the design draw your attention to odd parts of the torso?” – Brandon Rike

danmumford
Dan Mumford

4. Compose Yourself.

“Its all about composition, especially when you have a tee design with a lot going on it, like most of my designs. The lines have to flow nicely together and the type has to fit comfortably all within the design, if the basic shapes and outlines work nicely together then I know I have a good tee design, its only then that I will fill in most of the detail. When it comes to colour, you have to know how to use it sparingly, especially with screen-printed tees, being able to work with a limited palette is an incredibly powerful way to get the most out of a tee design.” – Dan Mumford

“My idea of what is ”good t-shirt design” has changed as I’ve improved as an artist. Generally speaking, for me, a good design usually involves keeping the weight of the design near the top/center of the shirt (more flattering on a customer), keeping my colors balanced and limited, and using the shirt color as a part of the design.  I know I’ve got a good design on my hands if I can revisit my finished design after a couple of days and not see any flaws or things I’d want to change.” – Anthony Hall

Jeff Finley | WMC Fest 4 Shirt
Jeff Finley | WMC Fest 4 Shirt

4. Consider Wearability.

This is a simple, but important question to ask yourself.  “It’s a pretty simple concept and I know it doesn’t apply when you’re designing tees for a client whose audience might be twice your age and of the opposite sex. But as a rule of thumb, ask yourself “would I wear this?” Put yourself in the wearer’s shoes and try to imagine what it’d be like to wear your shirt.” – Jeff Finley, Thread’s Not Dead.

Heretic | Dan Mumford
Heretic | Dan Mumford

5. Thoughtfully brand (details matter).

“Branding is important throughout, if you have a tag or a logo that can be found on everything you do, then it will get imprinted on people that see your work, and it also starts to become a brand of quality. I try to have my small ‘M’ icon on most pieces of my work, its nothing special, but it definitely holds everything together under one larger umbrella of work.” – Dan Mumford

6. Consider the costs.

“I try to create designs with a 3 color max. Many bands watch the cost of a tee go way up as they add more colors, thus, watching their profits go down. Since I was fitting the bill for the very first tees that I designed, I try to be realistic about costs of printing. While the color choices are of utmost importance, simply adding more colors does not make a tee better. Challenge yourself to make 1-3 colors go a long way.”  – Brandon Rike

“I think just having a good idea of how screen-printing works is the most essential thing. Being able to separate colours for print means you can supply things print ready, not only does that make you easier to work with for the clients, but it gives you an edge over designers that might not know much about the process. As far as detail goes, its again just about being able to provide clean files that are easy to work with.” – Dan Mumford

7. Be innovative.

“These days, the trends in graphic tees are getting more and more loose. You can find anything printed on a tee. Whereas when I came into this industry, we were trying to create solid graphic lock-ups that would sit in the middle of the chest, you will now find a single photo covering a tee, or one word filling up all of the space. Any tangible trend has completely disintegrated, and now, frankly, anything goes.

For me, it’s exciting to see where my skills are and know how fit into these trends. While I would prefer to concentrate on more concrete graphics, I know how to make a good t-shirt, even if that means using the right photo or word to completely cover the shirt with. It’s become less about the skills that I have, and more about being creative in general, and being able to apply it to what I’m doing.” – Brandon Rike

Bold is Beautiful | Jeff Finley
Bold is Beautiful | Jeff Finley

“Good design will blaze new trails in what people are wearing. Adding foil into your design wasn’t something your average designer six or seven years ago thought of. Foil or printing a full color image isn’t really cost-effective but it might be worth it if that’s what people are buying. A good design pushes boundaries and does things differently. It starts new trends, forges new printing solutions, and advances the industry. A good example of this is the Bold is Beautiful shirt that I designed that people said could never be printed. The design featured a full spectrum of colors and took up a large area on a black shirt. I imagine it was costly to print, but the team at DesignByHümans pulled it off with flying colors, pun intended.” – Jeff Finley, Thread’s Not Dead

8. Create substance.

“A good design has a solid idea and purpose behind it. Sure there are top selling t-shirts that exploit the popularity of stylistic trends like ornate flourishes or SFSS (skulls for skulls sake). But the point is, designs with a solid idea that mean something to your client or customer favor better.” – Jeff Finley, Thread’s Not Dead


Glennz Illustration Process – Modern Entry from Glenn Jones on Vimeo.

“As far as putting meaning behind my designs, I like problem solving; I like to come up with gadgets, or solutions to problems that don’t really need solutions. If that makes people laugh too,  thats a bonus.” – Glenn Jones

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Great design is really made up of so many elements.  Not only do you have to have a solid grasp on design principles, but also understand your audience, wearability, cost effectiveness and the importance of branding.  Combined with pushing the envelope, you as a t-shirt designer have a huge hill to climb.  Cultivate good instincts, as outlined by our experts, and your chances of success will increase ten-fold.

Heart and passion, too, can go a long way.  If you love your design, chances are your audience will too. Hall sums it up with one last thought: “Honestly, I have no ability to predict how popular a design will be. I just make shirts about things that I really love, and hopefully customers will be on board with whatever I designed. The worst thing that can happen is that you made a great design that you’re really proud of.”

For more information on great design and other areas on dominating the t-shirt industry, check out Thread’s Not Dead.

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Share your successes and challenges of t-shirt design in the comments below!
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Thank you to our guest contributors!

More Anthony Hall:  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Behance

More Brandon Rike:  Cargo | Dribbble | Flickr | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Vimeo

More Dan Mumford: MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | Mintees |Skull & Heart  | Mumford Clothing | Instagram

More Glenn Jones: Twitter | Facebook | Behance | Flickr | Dribble | Vimeo | Instagram

More Jeff Finley: Twitter | Dribbble | Vimeo | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Gimmebar | Last.fm
Header image t-shirts by Jeff Finley.