If you’re interested in starting your own t-shirt business but are stuck on what exactly to print on your t-shirts, this article will help you understand the 5 main types of t-shirt designs and where you can source t-shirt design inspiration from. The knowledge and resources in this article will help you improve your t-shirt designs with the intention of encouraging you to create t-shirt designs that meet your design goals and that your customers will love.
By gaining design inspiration from others you’ll be able to understand what makes a particular t-shirt design work more than another, and you’ll be able to gauge which of the 5 t-shirt styles you prefer and find the most effective. Overall, sourcing design inspiration is a great way to save time, gauge your preferences and know which mistakes to avoid.
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This design focuses almost exclusively on messages, phrases or slogans, with little-to-no images or photos on the t-shirt. The major characteristic of typographic t-shirt designs is written word. The creativity for this type of t-shirt design is in the development of the phrase, message or slogan on the t-shirt, as well as deciding which font, or pairings of fonts, to use. When developing typographic designs you’ll have to consider the fonts, the hierarchy of words and the spacing/arrangement of the words/sentences.
This t-shirt design is characterized by hyper-realistic images. T-shirts that focus on photography designs focus on an image itself, and any text is complementary. Since your image is the main factor of this t-shirt design type, the printing method is especially important so the image looks exactly as it should. The Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printing method is the best way to achieve good quality prints on your t-shirts, so it should be your first choice.
This type of t-shirt design has elements of both typography and illustration. The major design parameters include images that are usually paired with typography to create a stylized, illustrative t-shirt design that’s interesting and eye-catching.
This type of design is created with the sole purpose of promoting a product, brand, or a company. To create an effective branded design, you need to be well versed with your own brand and know exactly how you want it to be “branded”. This means knowing what font choices, color pallet, fabric, style of t-shirt and overall design accurately reflects what your brand is.
Abstract designs spark people’s interest by being repeated or nonsensical arrangements of images or text that don’t have a particular narrative, representation or meaning behind them. The focus of abstract designs are to be interesting, unique or aesthetic rather than meaningful and can be patterns, shapes, lines, or any combination of those.