Here, we are explaining on what is the basic process to design a t-shirt, as well as guiding you a little bit on the print & production. Let's find out!


A t-shirt is no longer a primary clothing type. Now, we can even customize these basic shirts with different logos, pictures, and more. Blank canvases are no longer the problem when we decide to design a t-shirt. We don't stop in limiting blank canvases as only the white-colored bases for drawing and designing random things to our clothing. We can use other solid-colored canvases to design a t-shirt.

Tees are the most versatile clothing types to apply in different solid colors. Red, black, yellow, and blue: These are some of the popular solid colors for the canvas. At some points, there can be two or more color components in the canvases for designing a t-shirt. Here are the ways you can do to design a t-shirt from a blank canvas:


People design t-shirt products for commercial markets most of the time. Perhaps it's because the market is willing to pay more than individuals. A custom-made shirt doesn't only have the cheapest price range in the market. 

When people say "design a t-shirt product," they also announce the most freedom. After all, tees have much more design varieties than other clothing types.

For example, if 5-12-year-old children dominate your market, you might want to opt for softer and brighter blank canvas colors. Decorations such as clouds, stars, sleeping teddy bears, and more are crucial in decorating the t-shirts. Such decorations and color themes won't apply for markets from other categories as in young professionals. Even though most people design the clothing for markets with broader scopes, many are pleased to create one for themselves. People who customize for themselves tend to prefer a t-shirt that accentuates their sense of self. 

Choosing the most compatible typographies is imperative for these types of people. Often, the blank design canvases only have one color. The soft colors are usually for self-care messages, while people tend to use bright or dark colors to accentuate either sunny or powerful messages.



Now that you know for whom you are creating or customizing the t-shirt design, the next step for designing a t-shirt from a blank canvas is to choose the drawing canvas. When thinking of the customizing canvas, people may think about the colors.

However, colors aren't the only elements you should consider in opting for the most suitable drawing canvases for your t-shirt products. Nor that you only pay attention to the patterns, logos, pictures, typographies, and more.

Those are the tinier details that form the nuances for your products. Even though no words can define nuances, we trust there can be examples to describe the nuances closer than we ever think. We will disclose some of the inspirations on this point.

When thinking about a blank design canvas with multi-color striped patterns, we may think about vibrant colors. Such thoughts emerge from us because those designing canvases often come with bright colors, like hot pink, lemon yellow, and more. 

Nonetheless, the vibes will change if the stripes' colors are combinations between red, black, grey, and (sometimes) white. Most of us might start to think those "nuances" in our t-shirt canvases bring out the alpha dominance vibe instead of the more cheerful and outgoing vibes.



The first two points involve knowing who you want to direct your t-shirt designs and determining what kinds of "nuances" your blank design canvases will have. These are for the planning phases in the ways to design a t-shirt from a blank canvas.

Planning alone is not enough when it comes to creating a compelling design for your t-shirt products. All drawings, pictures, decorations, and more, need to be executed. That's why we need to get in action. We will start with the most crucial thing in realizing our t-shirt blueprints: The materials for our clothing.

Materials are almost always all about the durability you'll need for your clothes, including tees. 

Polyester dominates the primary materials for all clothing types, and tees for both genders are no exception. This domination is no surprise because polyester is one of the most durable materials. Additionally, polyester-made shirts have more possibilities to design and decorate when compared to tees or shirts with other materials.

Nonetheless, polyester-made shirts tend to have the most flaws in the printing qualities. We can see the printing qualities in the base colors that our shirts have, the pictures, logos, and other decorations on our shirts.

Leathers are yet other materials that you can use to design a t-shirt from blank design canvases. You can use either one of the authentic or faux leathers for the arm parts of your shirts. However, you can't use leathers on the center parts of your shirts since such occurrences are unusual.

Cotton is yet another popular material for designing a t-shirt from blank canvases. There are many types of cotton you can choose for your shirt's design, ranging from Japanese cotton to Supima cotton. All kinds of a cotton feel smooth on the wearers' bodies, and the durability is equal to the more mainstream polyester materials.



When t-shirt designers design a t-shirt, most designers will use typographies to accentuate the wearers' personalities. Many personality-based tees fall into this category, and MBTI, Enneagram, or Socionics-based tees are no exception.

Nevertheless, personality-based shirts aren't the only shirt types that people can apply the typographies. Motivational-based shirts are yet another tee type that tends to have 80% of the shirts' surfaces painted in typographies. The remaining 10-15% spaces usually consist of either one of small-to-medium-sized pictures or smaller patterns. Then, again, tees are the clothing types that are customizable and also strongly related to typographies. 

Even though your themes (or "nuances") are not related to personality theories or motivational quotes, you can still apply the typographies. The only thing that you should put concerns when you design a t-shirt is the typographies' fonts and colors.

Flowing fonts, such as Monotype Corsiva, are more suitable for feminine shirts with soft color hues. When you design a t-shirt of these kinds, you can use more firm colors for the fonts to balance with the softer-colored backgrounds. People usually use black or dark grey. Yet, you can use dark blue, dark red, or other similar "powerful" colors for your design.



Colors are everywhere once you plunge yourself into the "design a t-shirt" world. Not only the "canvases" that need colors, but the design ornaments in your t-shirt products also need to have colors so the "personalities" or "nuances" will shine more.

In some cases, your t-shirt products can have multiple colors at once. These shirts are not necessarily "too bright" or "too noisy" for people, but rather, "rainbow" could be the central theme. However, such cases are rarer than tees with more solid color combinations. In a custom design t-shirt product, you'll most likely find up to three color combinations.

The design that the tees' bases have usually consist of one color at the center part. We can even observe some decorating patterns around the center part. One example is a white t-shirt with black-colored dot patterns on the bottom-left corner and the brand's logo on the contrasting side (usually on the top-right corner). 

Sometimes, the arm parts can have different colors than the ones at the center part. The design for a white shirt product may emphasize having contrasting colors, such as dark blue or dark red, for the arm parts. In addition, we can even find a tee design in which arms have tinier decorations than the ones at the center of the design areas. Smaller lines with only one color, such as magenta or orange, are usual.

When you design a t-shirt from a blank canvas and paying attention to the colors, you'll need to master the RGB colors first. After knowing the palettes for the RGB mappings, the CMYK color systems are the next systems that you should know.

The RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue. These three are the primary colors, which means every other color is from these three colors. On the other side, CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key. These four colors are the secondary colors that come from mixing colors in the RGB systems in different hues and gradations.

Knowing the RGB and CMYK in designing a t-shirt product will let you color the tees' bases and the decorations without requiring you to preview the designs. This situation happens especially when you can memorize the color codes in both coloring systems.



Some t-shirt designers differentiate between pictures (or images) and logos when they design a t-shirt. Logos tend to resemble the brandings that a design company has. As a result, logos' dimensions are usually smaller than pictures.

Even though pictures usually have larger dimensions (and scales) than logos, there are chances that the images can take less than 20% of the whole tees. Stickers are some of the examples. Such conditions apply to all pictures in a t-shirt design when people design a t-shirt regardless of how they print the images.

A part of the "hows" to design a t-shirt is to make your tees' pictures, and logos stand out. Unless you want to create a tee design that focuses only on the typography, your pictures and logo should be able to tell the stories behind your tees when you design a t-shirt. But then, such conditions are getting rarer in the custom t-shirt industry over the past three years.

It doesn't matter if your pictures and logos don't dominate the design parts. When you design a t-shirt, your images and logo should be related to one another. These two things should also blend with the blank canvases' nuances, colors, materials, and more.

An idea for designing from blank canvases that you can take is a collection of images that consist of a dog, a cat, a peace symbol, and a love logo, printed in 100% black colors over a hot pink blank canvas. 

Such pictures, colors, canvases, and logos remind the wearers to keep the peace around them. Then, the audiences will capture the same messages. Thus, the story will affect the environment they are inside.

There are lots of other pictures and logos that can be your inspiration to design a t-shirt. When you chose to design a t-shirt, make sure you only use the images and logo you find on the internet as a reference. Even if you found some free-copyright pictures, it's always better to create one of your own. Then, assemble it and tell a story about it.



You've now gone pass through the planning phases in the ways to design a t-shirt. You also have paid attention to the elements in designing a t-shirt product: The "nuances" of the blank canvases, materials, colors, pictures, and logos. 

Consequently, you can mix and match between these design elements to create a one-of-a-kind tee that both matches your purposes and the "nuances" or the "personality" that your tees have. Still, you can't keep the rough sketches for so long. Even though some artists maintain the manual drawing styles, it is the actual t-shirt product that will be visible to everyone.

Creating a t-shirt design requires plenty of programs to start. Most of them will only function well when you paid some money for them. Programs here consist of the software and the ones on the websites. If you've just started to design a t-shirt with zero capitals, this can be a problem.

Fortunately, you can use some built-in software to design a t-shirt. Adobe Photoshop and CorelDRAW series are two of the most well-known designing software. Even though the software is paid software, many devices have already got these two software. At some points, you can even use Microsoft Word to design a t-shirt by sketching the front and back sides and coloring the shapes according to the settings.

Many of the software is available in the Cloud version now. Many websites these days provide you with options to design a t-shirt and directly sell from the same website. The majority of these websites integrate with social media widgets. 

In such ways, you can sell your custom tee on the website, your social media account, and the company's social media account. If you're a part of the affiliate program for designing a custom tee, you'll have bigger chances to earn money.



The final part of the ways in designing a t-shirt from blank canvases lies in the printing phases. In other words, when you've reached this final step while you design a t-shirt, you will have to choose the ways you should print your products.

At some points, when you want to mass-produce, you'll have to have a team of people who are willing to help you to do the printing jobs. If you create a shirt on any of the custom clothing websites, it's most likely that you won't find it difficult to reach out to these "helpful people" in the industry.

If you're creating a product sketch on any of these websites, you will find out that the printing teams are always ready as long as you've made a payment. The same thing also happens when you look at the "About Us" or similar tabs on the websites.

If you experience any difficulties in the creating or the finishing part, you can always reach out to the customer service team. In contrast, you will have to do it all by yourself if you choose to print the custom clothes on your own. That's why knowing the printing techniques and the equipment are equally important.

Printing techniques are the integral parts when speaking about your decisions to print your tee products. Additionally, you will need a couple of printing equipment to realize the printing techniques you want to use. Some of the most popular printing techniques are screenprinting, DTG printing, and dye-sublimation printing. 

The DTG one is only for cotton-based t-shirts. Meanwhile, the dye-sublimation one is for polyester-based t-shirts or any customizable products with some polyester percentages in the blended materials. On the other side, screenprinting is a great printing technique for vibrant-colored t-shirts with small-sized pictures or logos.

There are many kinds of printers for printing your clothes. Screenprinting requires one of the most economically-priced printers to make the technique work because it directly prints the pictures, logos, typographies, and more to the blank canvas. 

The DTG printing technique uses smaller-sized printers for printing a shirt, but they can be some of the most expensive. At the same time, be prepared to use some of the largest-sized printing devices if you decide to use the dye-sublimation printing technique for printing your clothes.



Now that we've provided you the ways you can apply to design a t-shirt from a blank canvas, are you ready to design one? After all, creating your unique tee can be both a fun and interactive experience. So, hope you can enjoy the whole creative process!