Custom screen-printed T-shirts can be a great way to show team or group spirit or to attract attention to your business or organization. But designing T-shirts isn't as easy as it looks, even if you have some experience with graphic design. If you want an extremely detailed design, you may need to talk with a service, like Absolute Screen Printing. But if you want to go the DIY route, take a look at some tips that can help you successfully design a picture or logo that will look great on a custom printed T-shirt.

Consider Colors First

Are you going to use shirts that are all the same color, or do you want to offer a variety of different colored shirts with the same design? This is an important question, because determining the colors that you want to use in your T-shirt design depends largely on what color the fabric is going to be. And if you plan on printing the design on several different colors of fabric, you need to be certain that the design is going to look good on all of them.

For example, if your design is going to use the colors black and red, you may not want to print it onto black or red T-shirts. If you do, the black parts of your logo are going to show as negative space on your black T-shirts, and the same for the red parts on red T-shirts. If your design uses a shade of green that has a lot of blue in it, you might need to skip both blue and green T-shirts. Of course, sometimes negative space or pairing colors that are close in tone can create a neat effect, but that depends on the design. Spend some time experimenting with different color pairings on your screen so that you know exactly what they look like together, and decide which design and fabric colors you want to use before you finalize your design.

Outline Your Text

If you're going to use words in your T-shirt design or logo, you not only have to consider design and colors, you also have to consider font. What you don't want is to go to all the trouble of choosing a font, or even creating a custom font, and having the T-shirt come back with a different font.

To avoid this problem, make sure to convert any text that you use in your T-shirt design to outlines before you send the design off to the printers. This will ensure that the printer's computer picks up the font as an image, instead of converting it to a different font.

Stick With the Actual Size

When you're creating your design, work with it in the size that you want to see on the T-shirts. If you're not sure what size your design should be, figuring it out is easy – grab any T-shirt out of your closet, grab a ruler, and measure out the size that you want the design to be. Then use those measurements while you work.

There are a couple of good reasons to work in the actual size you want for your T-shirt. For one thing, it will help you see exactly what you're working with and how much detail you can include in your artwork. For another thing, it will eliminate any chance of a mistake at the printers. You don't want to end up with a much smaller picture than you planned because you forgot to note that they needed to change the size before printing. Working in the actual size you want to print eliminates the chance for this kind of human error.

Designing great T-shirts takes creativity and a little planning as well as a great printer. If you have those things, you'll end up with terrific T-shirts for whatever your needs happen to be.