7 Best Tips for Creating Personalized Shirts

by Carter Toni

Over the last 25 years, 12.9 million net new jobs were created by small businesses. There are currently around 33.2 million small businesses in the US today.

Starting your own business is a great way to work towards financial security in the future. You can choose from many viable business ventures, but if you’re creative, you may be interested in a home business selling personalized shirts and other apparel.

If your interest has been piqued, here are seven of the best tips for creating outstanding personalized shirt designs.

1. Size Matters

One of the first elements you need to consider when designing personalized shirts is what size your design will be. Design sizes translate differently depending on the size of the garment. When designing your customized t-shirts, you want to ensure the size of the design fits the garment design for the best results.

If you offer customized shirts in several sizes, scale your image according to the clothing size. For example, reduce the image size on the smaller clothing options. Finally, match your design to the available print area. If you can print an image 8″ wide, don’t make your design 10″.

2. Location, Location, Location

The next element to consider is where you will place your design. Some clothing may only offer one printing area, so knowing this before designing will help you see if you have any limits to work within.

If there is more than one option for printing areas, you still want to be cautious in your design placement. For example, designs that span only the belly area may not be as flattering as designs across the chest area.

Standard locations offered on most garments are full front or back, sleeves, and left chest. Additionally, you typically want to keep your image centered on your custom shirt because designs that don’t follow specific visual guidelines can look off to your customers. This can cause them to pass over your products in favor of another shop.

3. Know Your Target Audience

Doing marketing research before you begin designing is a great way to ensure your design speaks to your clientele. For example, designs may look vastly different depending on who buys them. If your target market is mature women, you want to offer something other than designs or clothing styles that will appeal to teenagers.

There are several methods you can use to find your target audience. For instance, asking questions like the below examples may help you narrow it down:

  • What hole in the market does your product fill?
  • Who would wear your product? (i.e., age and gender)
  • Why would they want your product?
  • What other brands are they buying?

4. Budgeting Considerations

Another element to creating winning personalized t-shirts is your budget. Calculating your expenses will allow you to work within your means. For example, a design that uses twenty colors will cost more than a design using only three, so knowing your costs beforehand will save you from making costly design revisions.

You also want to consider what printing method you will be using. Some printing methods will be better suited to mass production, while others are on a per-unit costing model. The type of apparel you choose will also impact your costs, so consider what clothing style you can afford to include in your product line.

5. Printing Methods

When designing custom t-shirts, understanding your printing methods will help you create designs that work with your garments. Some printing techniques include:

  • Screen Printing
  • Direct to Garment (DTG)
  • Transfer Printing
  • Sublimation Printing
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl
  • Heat Transfer Printing (DTF)

Each printing method will have its own guidelines and limitations. Some printing techniques are best suited to specific fabrics, and some methods will be better suited for intricate designs. For example, DTG printing only works on cotton fabrics, while Custom DTF Transfers can work on cotton and poly blends.

6. Winning Words

Another way to create winning t-shirt ideas is to use winning words in your designs. You’ve probably heard the adage “humor sells,” so utilizing humor in your creations can be a great way to grab your customers’ attention.

People are likelier to purchase something they can relate to, so using humor and wit means your potential designs are virtually endless. Pair up your text with some carefully chosen typography, and you may have a winning design. Play around with the direction of your text and use color to highlight certain words for a more significant impact.

7. Take Inspiration

Finally, don’t be afraid to take inspiration from outside sources. For example, take a peek at what designs are in your competitors’ “most popular sales” category.

While you never want to use your competitors’ designs directly, you can take inspiration from them to create your own in your style. Other elements you can take inspiration from are:

  • Design colors
  • Image placement
  • Types of materials offered

You shouldn’t typically use your competitors’ websites to draw inspiration, but others, like Pinterest, can be a resource. Remember, never take someone else’s design and pass it off as your own, or you may run into copyright and other legal issues.

Design Banging Personalized Shirts Today

Selling custom-designed t-shirts and clothing is a great way to earn extra money on the side or a fantastic full-time career. With so many printing and design options, your design potential is endless.

However, before printing your personalized shirts, understanding what goes into a winning design can help save you a lot of money and double your sales chances. Finally, knowing your target audience can help you create custom t-shirt designs they’ll love.

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