An Ultimate Guide To T-Shirt Design

T-Shirt Marketing

Be it a beach party or a board meeting; t-shirts have become classic attire for every occasion. People have always been inclined to wear dresses that don’t need much time to spend but also give the same chic look as any formal/party wear. You no longer need a blazer and a formal shirt combination to style for your meetings because t-shirts have replaced it. Even blazers with t-shirts are a cool combination to opt for.

The emerging new trends have started bringing varieties to t-shirts in material or printing or design. Also, technology and its virtues have offered us the opportunity to come up with our clothes. Yes, that’s right! Now all of us can be designers and come up with unique designs. We can even bring the portrait we have drawn to life by incorporating it as a t-shirt design. That’s how simple it is.

T-shirt: An effective marketing tool

Custom T-shirt designing has increased remarkably over the past few years, that marketers have started utilizing that power in advertising for their business. They have started using these t-shirts to promote their brand. With the demand for t-shirts increasing day by day, so is the custom t-shirts designing business. A report states that the t-shirt printing market will cross the US $10 billion by 2025 worldwide.

Wearing a t-shirt for your brand always seems cool. They are one of the effective ways to spread about your products or services. Companies nowadays are coming with unique designs for their businesses without any design knowledge. Creative artwork with your company’s logo can make the t-shirt stand alone from the rest. If it clicks, it could be a massive hit among your target audience.

So, t-shirt designing has opened new doors for creative artists. Whether a graphic designer or an illustrator or a typography designer, the idea of curating designs for t-shirts can be hugely appealing. But the process can be pretty daunting if you haven’t got the required experience.

In this blog, we will look at the best t-shirt design ideas you can incorporate into your business. Also, the pricing and the websites you could rely on to get your customized t-shirts designed.

T-shirt ideas for startups and businesses

Clothing is something that can boost our self-confidence and self-image and make us feel warm and comfortable. Now think about associating this feel with your brand. This is not only for the sake of your consumers but also for its employees. Yes! The folks who work with your brand daily. One of the biggest challenges businesses has to deal with t-shirt marketing, making people wear it. Unless it is exceptionally creative and spot-on, it’s going to be challenging to make your folks wear them.

Who would want to waste a fashion opportunity that could be your walking billboard? One helpful tip is using imagery to tell a compelling story. Company names, taglines, and any kind of corporate text can make your t-shirt design feel like an ad. If your company has its own brand personality that can lend powerful imagery, you can forget about the sales pitch and focus on the art. Explore the killer t-shirt color combinations for you.

T-shirts for events and conferences

If you are hosting an event like a business conference and have also made your audience invest in tickets, then it’s highly recommended to offer them a cool chic t-shirt. Beyond just the selling point, it should seem like memorabilia for your guests to look back on. You can take advantage of annually recurring events by coming up with a consistent design concept that can be sold at a higher price every year. Only newly designed t-shirts for every conference can imply that this conference is different and has more to offer than the previous one. Also, your t-shirts are your guests’ take away, which can make them even come next time.

T-shirts for parties and celebrations

We have wasted a lot of Friday nights sitting on the couch watching Netflix with popcorn. Suddenly when we witness our friends enjoying a party which you weren’t able to attend, that feeling is a killer. Now imagine if everyone was wearing the same tee. The party t-shirts can make partygoers as members of an exclusive group and can also be considered a badge of honor. After all, depending on the amount of alcohol involved, epic parties need to “survive.”

Though your t-shirt for your average house rager might be a little too much, it works the best for milestone events like birthdays and festivities like Christmas.

T-shirts for sports and business

Nobody- neither the player nor the commentators-is as passionate about sports as its fans. Just talk to them, and you will know. When you are trying to sell a t-shirt, obsessive fandom is the best thing. While you know the sports enthusiasts might be willing to pledge their allegiance with the t-shirt, that doesn’t mean you stay lazy and slap the team’s logo on it.

If you are a retailer, take advantage of the equipment and other common imagery for coming up with unique illustrations that will impress the entire sports community. In all fitness programs, the most challenging adversaries players face are their own body, willpower, and genetics, so before printing, consider a t-shirt design that emphasizes strength and solidarity.

Recommended Reading=>> Best T-shirt Design Ideas

T-shirts for bands and musicians

Your favorite t-shirt is like your favorite song- something that you want to go back to again and again but would never get bored of. Great music is always welcoming, and so is great music on the t-shirt. Band tees are like an everyday staple at most concerts, which is for a good reason. Like sports fans, music lovers, too would want to identify themselves as fans and find others like them- mostly in cases where their brand is not so prominent. T-Shirts are also a great way to promote musicians.

Music is already an art, and there are few design constraints on what a band t-shirt must convey. It should be more than your band logo or album’s network slapped onto it. But you would need something similar to an album cover that evokes a sense of mood or theme of the music itself, whether its abstract or computerized or the 70’s and 80’s metal.

T-shirts for schools and universities

Though we can’t make a necklace out of our degrees, we can adorn school apparels that express education pride. All of us have worked hard for it, so why not show off? Your school and city’s pride go hand in hand; your t-shirt design can pay respect to both of them with some brilliant illustrations. If you really want students to take your message home, you should consider t-shirts that convey it with a touch of uniqueness. In the case of younger kids, you have to be more creative ( do a lot more work to show them that school is more fun than their latest video game).

T-shirts for clubs and organizations

Usually, clubs are places filled with people that have similar interests and hobbies. So, a communal t-shirt is the perfect option that can go a long way in reinforcing those social bonds—just like teammates wearing uniforms. Giving your members cool threads to wear around town will help spread your club’s message through word of mouth.

But you need to be aware, as matching design can sometimes be hard to sell. You need to make sure it’s a great one. Your t-shirt should set the tone on how you want to be perceived. If your club is a bit nerdy, a splendid t-shirt is what it takes to build a cool image. For instance, a “Join at your own risk” kind of challenge would inspire people to take part in the challenge.

T-shirts for NGOs and Charities

Sometimes we are drawn to some tees for its statement rather than just fashion sense. Of Course, no one wants their closet to be a capitalist advertising space, but it’s a totally different scenario for a non-profit cause. Although a t-shirt might not solve all the worldly issues, the design’s central location on the chest is a space for promoting awareness. Though the subject matter is heavy, the design need not be. NGO’ main focus is to help others, and a cheerful design can bring that positivity.

Graphic tees for retail

Be it pants, jackets, shirts, or any attire- they all tend to be patterned or solid colors. But your t-shirts with some creative artworks can stand out and look next level. And this is the reason all love them. The most important thing to keep in mind while designing graphic tees is its shape and placement. Round and organic shapes give a natural touch than a square or rectangle. Shapes like square and rectangle are for photo frames and not for your body. Also, don’t resist your designs to back and front when you can use the whole t-shirt as your canvas.

Depending on how an illustration can draw an eye, you can even print it on the bottom, in the upper right corner where there is a pocket square or just all over it. Sky’s the limit with graphic tees, as there is limitless space for creativity.

Also Reading=>> T-shirt-prices

For an outsider, t-shirt designing may seem like a fun activity to do. But in reality, it’s the right strategic design that has all the effects. It can also be considered a valuable marketing tool. Whether you are designing t-shirts for professional use or personal use, make sure you give your customers a t-shirt that is unique and cool. Now that you know some design ideas, it’s time to sell them to your community. But wait, how are you going to price them? Which is the right price? Will people buy them at that price?

These are some of the questions which might make you skeptical while fixing a price for your t-shirts. In this guide, we will seek answers to all these questions and clarify the right selling price, which is worth the hard work you have put in.

The art of pricing your t-shirts is nothing but balancing the profit you expect per shirt with your audience’s amount you would be willing to pay. If you set your selling price, that will turn off the people who buy.

So, there are three questions you need to ask yourself before fixing a price:

What are your sales goals?

Step one is coming up with a sales price by evaluating the goal you want to achieve from selling them. Is it just the profit or selling more t-shirts? If you are not for profits, keep selling at a low cost close to the base price of the t-shirt. But if you want to make money out of it, think about the ideal profit you want to make.

How much can you spend?

If you have already anticipated your campaign’s target audience, you can decide how high the price can be set. If you have a younger audience, you have to keep your selling price low. If you still have trouble finding the right price, have a survey with a small set of audience.

Does the making price or base cost of the shirt align with these goals?

This is a very important question that needs to be answered. If you suddenly figure out that your base cost is much higher than you want it to be, you would need to simplify your design.

Due to the process involved in screen printing, the base cost increases if you have more colors in your design, as you print on two sides instead of one. So if your goal is to make profits with a reasonable selling price, it is wise to stick to a one-sided t-shirt design with 1-3 colors.

Here are some tips to help you fix a price

Know how much you would be spending

The first and foremost thing to consider while pricing is how much it would cost to produce them. Of course, you want to keep it low, but that should not blow down on quality. A universal fact is that people would be willing to pay more if they are impressed with the quality. So, if you pay $1 or $2 more on the front end, it might enable you to charge $10 more at retail. Do not be scared to price the t-shirt for their worth. If you’re selling a high-quality t-shirt, make sure your price says that. If you’re price it less than their worth, your buyers are going to consider them as less than their worth. Price them as they should be and let the product speak for itself.

Research the market

Taking a look at the current market for determining what your retail cost should be. Getting to know about how your competitor is pricing is a great jumping-off point. This isn’t for you to price them the same or keep it a dollar less than your competitors. But it is for you to know what other people are charging for their product when you are trying to make your customers choose you.

There are three main tactics from which you can choose from

Keeping price above market average

The best way to outrun your competition is by adding more value to their shopping experience. You can do this by including extraordinary gifts or personalized messages or go for high-quality visual presentations ( professional images, store design, etc.)

Pricing the same as the market

Opt for this safest option if you wish to cover a broader target audience and still make a profit. This will keep you in the same league as your competitors, and you will also be able to attract the same set of audiences as they do.

Pricing below the market

That way, you can undermine your potential competitors with more attractive prices and possibly steal their customers.

Determine your profit and set your profit

Once you have the base price, you can calculate the price with the profit you wish to achieve. An Entrepreneur article states that most retailers would want to shoot for a profit margin above 50%. Using this 50% margin, you need to multiply the cost to produce by two and get your retail price. But if you aim for any other profit percentage, this is the formula you need to incorporate.

Retail Price = [(cost to produce) ÷ (100-profit %)] x 100

Quote for people and not numbers

The next is an important point, which often gets forgotten while pricing a product. It is, “People aren’t rational always.” If people are rational, the pricing would be fairly based on formulas. You could easily plug your cost into equations, get a price that people would agree, and start selling. But people aren’t like that. They are emotional, and whether you think about it or not, the price you quote will trigger your customers’ emotional response.

Great pricing consists of taking note of human behavior and emotions to find a soft spot to persuade people to choose your t-shirts. Here is a quick tactic that will help you optimize your price for emotion over logic with all this in mind.

Set your price with a non-round number

Yes, you are right! Avoid zero and five and stick to non-round numbers. The reason is when people are scanning through information to make a decision; they tend to get lazy. So, even though the difference between $50 and $49 is just $1, it feels like a lot more. And people make decisions based on that feeling.

Offer a combo and give a price break

Rather than selling all your products individually, think about giving a combo deal as well. If you are selling two different t-shirts at $20 each, consider giving an option to buy them together at $35.

Many experts have already spoken about how creating a combo can increase your revenue, and in short, all they say is, “When it is applied right, it works”. You can sell more t-shirts with minimal effort; also, your customer gets to save money. It’s a win-win overall.

A key to setting a combo is to make sure you offer people an option to buy individually. Some customers might want one, and in that case, it helps. When you offer individually, your customer gets to see the offer they get by getting a combo.

Use Anchor Pricing

This means show the original price (struck off) and then show the price you are charging for it ( which is obviously lesser than the original price. A brand that does great use of anchor pricing is Huckberry, an eCommerce which focuses on men’s wear. They offer exclusive offers to their customers through partnerships with other brands. For example, they sell a branded t-shirt for $30 at $24.98. This makes people want it as they have a deal. Also, they keep a non-round number.

Another excellent use for anchor pricing is when combined with the combo tactic. So with the same example, purchasing two t-shirts would cost you $40, but you are giving them $35. This way, customers know the value and see how much they’re saving.

Shipping costs too counts

If you are an online seller and see people from around the world interested in your t-shirts, you should calculate the shipping costs. You need to consider the kind of shipping you are going to offer your customers. If you offer free shipping, it would definitely boost your sales. Actually, it’s a fact that customers are 4 to 5 times more likely to buy something if you offer free shipping. But this also means high product costs as you have to cover the shipping.

Remember, at the end of the day, you are selling your hard work. You would have spent several days thinking of color schemes, typography and curating a unique design that stands out. It doesn’t end with just that. Then there is this huge process of selecting the best yet affordable fabric and giving it to the right printer for getting them done. All of these should be worth the price people pay for. It is imperative to keep all this in mind while determining the price of your t-shirts.

If you offer people the best, of course, they will love it and would be willing to spend on that. So, make sure you never give up on the quality factor, as it might also turn out to be your selling factor.

If you are a business that has in-house designers, there is plenty of software you can use to ease your t-shirt designing process. They are cost-friendly and user-friendly, so you can explore as many designs as you want and choose the best.

Here is the list of the softwares that we recommend for creating stunning t-shirt designs

Designhill T-shirt maker

If you are a beginner and looking to design custom t-shirts, Designhill is the excellent option. It is a one-stop solution for all your t-shirt designing needs. It’s absolutely user-friendly. You can see the design being created on one side while you are adding the texts and other elements. You can change the colors, font, and placements. Also, add customized logos, images, and drag or drop elements to see how it works in real-time.

Printful-idea for free Mockups

If you want to create high-resolution mockups, then Printful is here for you. The best part about Printful is it doesn’t charge you for downloading the designs. You can design all kinds of clothing from hoodies to accessories and much more. After picking your t-shirt style, you can even upload your artwork or create from scratch using the software’s basic font and clipart options.

The software somewhat limits you to the front and back design of the long sleeve, ¾ th sleeve, or regular t-shirts only. It also offers you the liberty to add texts to both the sleeves with an outside label. Once you get the exact design you want, you can send it for printing.

Adobe Illustrator for professionals

This is not recommended for beginners as it requires some prior experience. But, if you are already a professional illustrator, this is the best tool to come up with high-quality t-shirt designs. Since the software focuses on vector images, you can easily scale up the sizing without compromising on the quality. Your designs will look stunning as they look on any paper canvas. If you opt for the option of screen printing, Illustrator simplifies the creating layered, spot colored files that your printing shop wants.

As any other software, Illustrator also offers a steep learning curve. It also publishes tutorials with sample files for new users to get started. There are plenty of sites that offer such templates that you import directly into the software.

GraffixPro Studio

When compared to other t-shirt design softwares, GraffixPro has little more to offer. It’s a paid version, and you can contact their team for a demo. This has a lot of advantages for people who are in the t-shirt printing business. This is also best suited for those who would love to make t-shirt printing their primary income source. There are more than 45 fonts and 350 images and, most importantly, numerous t-shirt templates that can excite you.

The software is also easy to use. Even if you are a beginner, you can try your hands on them. Its amazing features include creating a distressed look, playing with artworks, and adding shadows. You can either use your artwork or select from its library of ready-made designs. Meanwhile, it also has other features such as quote generator, barcoding, and inventory management.


If you feel you are unable to afford expensive t-shirt designing softwares, here is Inkscape for you. It is a vector-based designing tool with the same features as Illustrator but at free of cost. This t-shirt design software is available for Windows, Mac, Linux operating systems. It even lets you turn an existing bitmap image into a vector format with the help of a tracing function. The scale-up and down function lets you size the elements as required and export it in a suitable format for screen printing. Besides, it also provides raster image formats like .jpg and .png.

If you are a startup or don’t have enough investment to own an in-house designer, you can outsource your t-shirt design work to some websites which do a great job. You also get plenty of offers with super-fast delivery. Here are the websites you can trust to outsource your t-shirt designs.


Designhill is an ideal website for sourcing your custom t-shirts. This is a boon for startups, small businesses, and individuals as they offer a wide range of t-shirt designs at affordable prices. It gives access to some of the best designers. You are just supposed to post your requirement, and you would be reverted back with plenty of design ideas. Also, it is one of the cost-effective methods. You can design your custom t-shirts; however, you like to convey your brand’s message.

Custom Ink

It is one of the leading platforms to design and print custom t-shirts. You have the choice of placing orders for all kinds of t-shirts like long sleeve, short sleeve, men’s soft tri-blend, and kids. It also offers you quality designing software if you wish to create your own design. Another useful and unique feature is that this site helps in fundraising. You can put the t-shirt up for sale and raise money for a cause. You get all your orders delivered within 14 days.

Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti is another site you can depend on to design your custom t-shirts online. It already has some t-shirts for occasions like Mother’s Day or Father’s day. Most of their designs are ready-made. You just need to customize the shirts with text and graphic elements that you want to add. Also, their quality is top-notch. They get it delivered within 1-2 days.

Cafe Press

If your choice of colors, texts, and other elements are already sorted, CafePress is the right place to get your custom t-shirts done. The site has plenty of customizable pre-designed templates that help you in quickly deciding what you want. They offer a preview option to your design to decide before finalizing. CafePress takes 6-13 days to deliver an order.


Zazzle has hundreds of options to customize t-shirts for men, women, kids, and even babies. You can design the t-shirt as per your brand identity and then place your order. There is no restriction like a minimum quantity; it’s up to you to decide whether it’s one hundred t-shirts that you want them to design for you. They take approximately 3-6 days to get your t-shirts delivered.

Before ordering your custom t-shirts online:

  1. Make sure the place gives you assured high-quality printing services and design solutions.
  2. Compare them with other sites before going forward.
  3. Go through the catalogs, price, approach, and design tools before placing your order for printing.


Whatever your business focuses on, t-shirts can be a timeless tool that could be the most effective marketing way. Whether you have an in-house designer or looking forward to outsourcing your design, make sure to keep your creative juices flowing. Don’t worry if you are an amateur, as there are plenty of videos online to help you step by step. Start with the basics, and you are sure to climb the expert ladder soon.

November 10, 2020
10 min read
8 reads

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