Getting started your career as t-shirt designer

Getting started your career as t-shirt designer

Graphic design world offers infinite possibilities. One of the most profitable during the last years is related to tee shirt design. Today the tee market is growing up rapidly and these products are among the most selled through e-stores. So in this article I’ll provide you useful references that will show you the market opportunities and maybe will drive you starting your own successful business in this field.

Today starting a business in the t-shirt design field – like in the apparel one more in general – is relatively simple. But we have to make an important distinction: a thing is to sell a t-shirt using one of the tons free services where you upload your graphic and get the tee printed and shipped to the client. Something totally different is trying to establish a successful business. A successful business requires all the additional efforts that make the difference between a passive income and the main business activity: market research, a fully functional e-store, a strong brand, full control on product quality, a great shipping service and all those bureaucratic questions that may crash your head.

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This post is thought for all those who are approaching the t-shirt design world. You’ll find useful tutorials on how to create you own graphic, reference sites where to grab information and follow the new trends and other useful references, all organized into 7 sections:

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Learn how to create your own t-shirt design

Design Your Own Graphic Tee in Photoshop

Design Your Own Graphic Tee in Photoshop

As printing technology and methodology improve, designers are given more freedom to push the canvas – in this case a t-shirt – to its limits. In this tutorial James Davies will demonstrate how you can create a composite t-shirt design from photo assets and basic drawing techniques.

How to Create a Cute Vector Bear T-Shirt Design

How to Create a Cute Vector Bear T-Shirt Design

One of the great things about designing with vector shapes is that any design, especially characters, can be developed out of basic shapes, giving a simple and stylized style. Let’s get busy with Adobe Illustrator and design a cute bear character and surrounding scenery in just two colours, ready for use as a cool t-shirt design.

Photoshop T-shirt Design

Photoshop T-shirt Design

Photoshop is a great place to craft successful T-shirt designs that won’t break your budget. In this tutorial, we use a digital approach to create a deconstructed look and style

Designing Ultra SceneXCore Apparel in Photoshop and Illustrator

Designing Ultra SceneXCore Apparel in Photoshop and Illustrator

Grunge effects are very popular with today’s apparel designers. This tutorial takes you through creating a t-shirt design using vector graphics.

CREATE AN ICONIC T-SHIRT ARTWORK

Create an iconic T-Shirt artwork

Here Joshua Smith takes you through how he created his latest work, based around his regular motifs of skulls and swirls mixed with this spring/summer’s illustration icon, the owl.

Go Media’s Rapid-Fire Illustration Technique

Go Media’s Rapid-Fire Illustration Technique

The technique showed by William Beachy from GoMedia is a little illustration short-cut. When you need to create something with that hand-drawn look but you’re on a tight time line – this is one way to do it fast.

Super-Slick, Screen Printing Separations with Illustrator

Super-Slick, Screen Printing Separations with Illustrator

For today’s designer a versatile range of mediums exist to get your artwork seen. The problem with this versatile range of mediums is that they do not all exist on hi-res monitors. In this tutorial, we will explore the process of taking your design from the screen to the shirt.

Create a balanced T-shirt graphic

Create a balanced T-shirt graphic

In an era of tough T-shirt design competition, Jared Nickerson shows you how to make sure your threads are quality.

Screen-print effects

Screen-print effects

Screen printing is a tricky, messy process, but it’s the less than perfect areas that create that distinctive look. Here Derek Lea reveals how to simulate silk-screened imperfections in Photoshop

Create amazing T-Shirt designs with HYDRO74

Create amazing T-Shirt designs with HYDRO74

US designer Joshua Smith -aka Hydro74- shows you how to create a killer T-shirt design using a 3D object as a starting point in Illustrator.

Spot Color Separations In Photoshop

Spot Color Separations In Photoshop

Jimmy Heartcore shows you how to separate a flattened jpeg into a layered, print ready PSD file. Fun fun!

4-Color Process Separations In Photoshop

4-Color Process Separations In Photoshop

Jimmy Heartcore shows you how to separate a flattened file for four color process in photoshop.

Start selling your designs

designbyhumans

DesignByHumans

DesignByHümans is a place for people to submit, discover and buy amazing custom t-shirt designs created by artists from around the world.

Zazzle

Zazzle

Zazzle is the world’s leading platform for quality custom products. Zazzle’s proprietary technology enables individuals, professional artists, and major brands, including Disney and Hallmark, to create and offer billions of unique products for customers worldwide.

Threadless

Threadless

Threadless works with artists around the world to produce amazing tee shirt designs. Submit your design for a chance at getting paid $25000.

laFraise

laFraise

Created in 2004, laFraise is now Europe’s largest t-shirt design competition and receives over 100 daily submissions from graphic designers and illustrators all over the world.

Interesting readings

An In-Depth Look Into the Graphic Tee

An In-Depth Look Into the Graphic Tee

Today, we would like to discuss the popularization of the graphic tee in some detail; first, with a brief history lesson, then a quick round up of some popular t-shirt designers, and finally with an interview of Dirty Velvet.

Designers’ Guide to the Apparel Printing Industry

Designers’ Guide to the Apparel Printing Industry

The guys at GoMedia talked to five major players in the apparel printing industry to shed some light on that critical component – printing- and they took time to share anecdotes & advice they’ve accumulated while working in the industry

Apparel Printing Techniques

Apparel Printing Techniques

Here is a list of 30 printing techniques. If you really want to work in this field, you need a “technical education”, starting from the knowledge of how your graphic will look once printed (in according with the printing method used).

Product Presentation and Packaging

Product Presentation and Packaging

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “First impressions are everything.” Well, in the world of indie clothing companies, this couldn’t be more true. First impressions can make or break a new brand, and most first impressions in this industry come in the form of a package on the customer’s doorstep.

10 Things You Didn't Know About T-Shirts

10 Things You Didn’t Know About T-Shirts

Funny info-graphic containing 10 interesting tips about t-shirts.

How to Break into T-Shirt Design

How to Break into T-Shirt Design

A new design phenomenon has taken firm hold online, and it’s giving thousands of designers worldwide an extra revenue stream, as well as being an enjoyable way to reignite creative passions. I’m talking about T-shirt design.

Create your own store

Big Cartel

Big Cartel

BigCartel is a simple shopping cart for artists. It’s easy to use, customizable and awesome.

Spreadshirt

Spreadshirt

Spreadshirt is the worldwide creative platform for personalized apparel. They allow you to create your own online store for free.

CafePress

CafePress

CafePress offers some of the best selection of personalized gifts and unique t-shirts, clothing, mugs, art & posters. They have millions of designs from shopkeepers around the world that range from funny to cool to promotional.

Useful links

T-Shirt Forum

T-Shirt Forum

T-ShirtForums.com is a friendly environment for sharing and researching t-shirt information. T-Shirt merchants and t-shirt buyers are encouraged to participate by asking questions about anything t-shirt related and/or answering questions about their area of t-shirt expertise.

emptees

emptees

Emptees is about the art of tee shirt design. A place where the world’s best designers and tee enthusiasts can come together on common ground to show off, talk about, and love tees.

Mock up templates

Men Tee Shirt Templates Vol1

Men Tee Shirt Templates Vol1
We’ve released 10 shirt mock-up templates to allow t-shirt designer to show a preview of their works. These items are perfect if you have an e-shop and want to show your products to your audience before printing, or test how your graphics look on different tee colors.

Ladies Tee Shirt Templates Vol1

Ladies Tee Shirt Templates Vol1
Here is another amazing stuff for our members: 10 ladies t-shirt templates. Each item is provided in Photoshop with a useful organization: 3 layers, the first is the t-shirt, then the layer for your design and above the other two is the “shadows” layer, that creates the tee folds effects over your design.

Examples of inspirational e-stores

Resist Today

Pyknic Clothing

Dirty Velvet

Long Clothing

Brass Tack Apparel

Tee Shirt Axid

Ript Apparel

Dirty Coast

Chop Shop

Chicago L-Shirts

Killer Brigade

MySoti

W+K Studio

Shirt Fight

Yellow Bird Project

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Sebastiano

Howdy! I'm a self taught graphic designer who loves to create amazing stuff using every kind of media. I'm currently living and working in Italy.

17 Comments

(+add yours)
  1. Wow! Really amazing post. “Getting started…” wasn’t the right title for this post. I would suggest “Everything you need to know about …” cause it has so much information in it.

    Thanks for sharing all this!

    • Glad you find useful info here, Dennis ;-)

  2. Thanks A TON guys! This is just what I need to look through!
    My biggest dream is to design t-shirts for a living. I keep looking at threadless, zazzle, cafepress and others, but couldn’t find time to actually get into it. I’ve got like 10 designs that, I think, are worthy to be submitted. Wish me look :)

  3. This is an awesome start on getting the knowledge to starting your teeshirt business. Also I wanted to add for the stores or building your own shop look into “Storenvy” as well.

  4. One of the most complete post about this subject! thanx for gathering all this info. really helpfull

  5. Jessica

    I love this article! It’s very detailed and useful. I can tell you spent a lot of time to post this article. Thank you for sharing good resources!

  6. This is the perfect blog for everyone who would like to find out about
    this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost
    hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa).

    You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic that has been written about for a long time.
    Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

  7. Ruben

    Your site is the best so far on t-shirt design and information I truly greatly appreciated.

    Thank You

  8. PARIMAL VYAS

    I WANT TO SELL MY T SHIRT DESIGN HOW CAN I DO IT

  9. oh ya

  10. Salam sob…. Saya tau sudah… Hehehe…. Saya belum aktif rupanya html hehe…

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  14. kamika

    Hello i would like to design my very own shirt’s but i would like to speak verbally to a rep first! 4439484610

  15. You can get your custom shirts printed at http://www.yourdigitalcreator.com/t-shirt-printing.html Graphic Designers can even have there shirts drop shipped to your customers. There is a drop ship tab on the site you can read more about it

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