Best T-Shirt Design Software: Top 8 Picks of the Year

Is your brilliant t-shirt design business idea keeping you up at night? Are you looking for alternative ways to promote your business? Is there a special event you’d like to commemorate? Whatever your reasons, to create the best t-shirt design, you need the best t-shirt design software. Back in the day, it was almost impossible to create impressive designs because most of the t-shirt design software available was clunky.

Those days are long gone.

Today, whether you are an expert designer or a beginner, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, with too many possibilities to consider, most designers have a difficult time deciding on which software to use.

If your goal is to achieve unique designs, choosing the right t-shirt design software is crucial to your success. You need to understand which options are available to you, which software would give you the best results, and how much you would have to spend to make your t-shirt design a reality.

What You Should Know About T-Shirt Design Software

tshirts of different colors, white, black, yellow, and red, hanging on hangers
Photo by Parker Burchfield

If it’s your first time creating t-shirt designs, it’s advisable to have some information about t-shirt design software so that you can make an informed choice. Otherwise, you might end up purchasing the wrong software for your particular needs. Here are some of the things you should know.

Does it matter which t-shirt design software you use?

Quality varies from one t-shirt design software to another. Apart from this, you might experience challenges that may make it impossible to create a fantastic design. For instance, if the software lacks user-friendly features, your creativity may be limited.

Not everyone has a degree in computer graphics design, after all. Therefore, your choice of t-shirt design software matters. You not only need to go for software that has a lot of features but also one that is easy to use and will help you achieve your end goal.

What makes a good t-shirt design?

Model with brown hair and eyes wearing a tee saying "not your baby" in cursive printed on white background.
Photo by Minh Bách Trương

Creating t-shirt designs seems like an easy thing to do until you begin the actual work. It is not enough to have the best t-shirt design software. Other things determine whether your design is phenomenal or bland.

While beauty lies in the eye on the beholder, the uniqueness, adaptability, innovativeness, timelessness, and memorability of the design will determine how good it is.

So, how do you make your t-shirt designs adaptable, innovative, timeless, and memorable?

First, you need to brainstorm.

Sketch your design and create a few variations of it as you consider which alterations you can make to improve it. It also helps to choose the right colors and keep your designs simple.

Another great way to come up with an impressive design is to consider your target audience.

If you are making the design for a relative or friend, there is no pressure. However, if it is for business purposes, you need to consider who your target buyer is.

  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they?
  • Which other brands do they like?
  • Where are they located?

Such information will give you a clear idea of what kind of design to create.

What should you consider when choosing t-shirt design software?

Photo by Tachina Lee

There are several things you should consider when looking for t-shirt design software.

Ease of use is the first thing you should think about. Do you have to be an expert or get some training to use the software? Good software is both expert and beginner-friendly.

Reliable t-shirt design software should be easy to integrate for printing purposes as well. You should also go for software that is compatible with multiple devices. Cross-platform compatibility makes the process more efficient.

Is cheap t-shirt design software reliable?

They say cheap is expensive. This statement holds true in many situations.

However, when it comes to t-shirt design software, the features and user experience are what determines whether the software is worth the investment or not.

Since it is almost impossible to know which software you can trust right off the bat, it helps to read user and expert reviews. Knowing what other people think about the software will help you know what to expect.

Do you have to be an expert to use t-shirt design software?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an expert to use t-shirt design software.

A good t-shirt design software should be beginner-friendly. Since professionals know their way around t-shirt design software, they wouldn’t have a hard time using one.

However, this is not the case for beginners. Therefore, good software designers should ensure beginners can use the tool without any previous knowledge. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

How We Reviewed

To come up with our list of the top eight t-shirt design software, we spent some time researching the most popular t-shirt design software on the market. We considered expert reviews and ratings from websites like PC Mag and Software Informer and also read user reviews.

Before making our final recommendations, we compared the software’s features to determine whether or not they are worth it. All this research allows us to make reliable recommendations.

Overall Price Range of T-Shirt Design Software

The general price range of t-shirt design software is $20 to $2,500 depending on the features and packages included. However, there is also some free design software that you can use.

Top 8 T-Shirt Design Software Picks of 2019

If you’ve been searching for reliable t-shirt design software without any luck, you will enjoy our top eight software recommendations. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, we have included some of the best tools you can use to create incredible designs.

1. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator t-shirt design software screen capture
Image via Screencapture

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best t-shirt design software if you want to achieve professional designs. The fact that this software focuses on vector images allows you to scale your designs up and down to fit your t-shirt without the loss of quality.

What’s more, this software is very reliable for screen printing as it allows you to create layered spot colored files required for that particular kind of printing. Besides, Adobe Illustrator has numerous features, fonts, colors, and shapes to work with. These features allow you to create impressive designs without any limitation.

As with most professional software, Adobe Illustrator has a very steep learning curve. If you are a beginner, it might not be the easiest t-shirt design software to use.

However, Adobe Illustrator offers tutorials that can help you get the hang of it. You can also take advantage of online templates that are downloadable to the software. PC Mag rates this software 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can get a monthly plan from $19 to $50 depending on the package you choose.

It’s not cheap, but you’re getting a powerful program from a leading developer.

2. T-Shirt Factory Deluxe 3.0

If you are in search of a beginner-friendly t-shirt design software, T-Shirt Factory Deluxe 3.0 is an excellent choice. This software is easy to use and load, and you do not need prior computer knowledge to use it.

If you don’t have any idea of what to print onto your t-shirt, this software offers 6,300 ready-made designs. If you prefer to create your own designs, there are more than 20,000 premium quality, royalty-free clip art images to work with.

T-Shirt Factory Deluxe 3.0 works with Microsoft Word and also allows you to scan pictures and print them out as t-shirt designs. To get your designs onto a t-shirt, you need to transfer a mirror image of the design onto a transfer paper using an inkjet printer. Once you’ve done this, all you have to do is to iron the image onto your garment.

Although T-Shirt Factory Deluxe is a great choice, it has one limitation; you can only use it on older versions of Windows Operating Systems such as Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Software Informer rates this t-shirt design software 4 out of 5 stars. It sells for $25 to $30.

3. Fatpaint

Fatpaint  t-shirt design software logo via screen capture from the website.
Image via Screencapture

Fatpaint is an excellent choice for novice designers. This online design tool is not only effortless to use but also free of charge.

Whether you want to create t-shirt designs for personal use, perfect your designs, or create t-shirt designs for business, this is the best t-shirt design software that’s free to download. Unlike most free software, Fatpaint has numerous features, flexible design templates, and excellent responsiveness.

The only disadvantage of this t-shirt design software is that you can lose all your work if your browser crashes since everything is web-based.

PC Mag rated the software at 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommends it for individuals who do a limited amount of image creation.

4. SonicShack Design Studio 1.0

If you are in the t-shirt design business, you will love SonicShack Design Studio 1.0. The SonicShack t-shirt design software not only gives you access to numerous design features but also gives you an opportunity to grow your business for free.

The Sonic plug-in is an I-frame that can be added to web pages, blogs, and websites. This feature allows you to share and sell your t-shirt designs online.

Furthermore, it allows your website visitors to create t-shirt designs on your site for purchase. SonicShack Design Studio 1.0 is easy to use and very reliable. However, similar to Fatpaint, you might lose all your work if your browser crashes because the software is online-based.

Software Informer users rated this t-shirt design software 4.1 out of 5 stars.

5. Inkybay

Inkybay logo t-shirt design software image via screencapture from the website
Image via Screencapture

Inkybay is also an excellent t-shirt design software. Several things make this software one of the top options. For starters, the software is great for business because it has been designed in a way that allows your customers to customize their own designs right on your website.

What’s more, it supports various types of personalized products. Apart from t-shirts, you can design team jerseys, mugs, business cards among other things. You also get access to a powerful and easy to use admin panel that allows you to manage everything from the Shopify backend.

Inkybay sells for $2,400 to $3,500 (yes, you read that correctly). Shopify users rated this software 4.7 out of 5 stars.

6. GraffixPro Studio T-Shirt Design Software

Graffixpro studio t-shirt design software logo via screencapture
Image via Screencapture

If you are looking for a t-shirt design software that is suitable for direct to garment printers, GraffixPro Studio is worth checking out. This software comes with a vast array of templates and artwork, barcode scanning, and a rich image library to enhance your creativity. GraffixPro Studio software is also a great choice because it offers a smooth learning curve compared to other complicated software like Adobe Illustrator.

Currently, this software does not have any reviews. Nonetheless, based on its features, it is an incredible software to try. The company offers a free trial version, but you can get the full-feature software for $850 to $900. However, this product is only available in the U.S. at the moment.

7. Inkscape

t-shirt design software Inkscape
Image via Screencapture

Inkscape is also an excellent alternative to Adobe Illustrator. The fact that that this t-shirt design software offers you flexible and powerful features at zero cost makes it stand out as one of the best for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Thanks to its vector graphics feature, you can scale images up and down to fit your t-shirt. It also features numerous fonts, colors, and clipart that helps you take your designs to the next level.

Users rated Inkscape 4.3 out of 5 stars on G2Crowd.

8. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

Similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW Graphics has a steep learning curve. Nevertheless, this artist’s software has some incredible features that experts and beginners alike would enjoy.

It features a vector graphics program that allows you to create designs for any garment you want. It also comes with numerous color options, clip arts, and fonts that you can use to better your designs.

The only disadvantage of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is that it is only compatible with Windows operating systems.

PC Mag rates this software at 4.0 out of 5 stars and recommends it to professionals and beginners as an alternative for Adobe Illustrator. It’s available at CorelDraw and Office Depot from between $469 and $499.

Make Unique Designs with the Best T-Shirt Design Software

As you can see, there are a lot of different kinds of software available for both novice and expert designers.

However, professionals would benefit the most from Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, and CorelDRAW Graphics Suite because these have the best and most advanced features. If you are just starting out or you want to design t-shirts as a hobby, simpler and more cost-effective software like SonicShack Design Studio 1.0 and Fatpaint are excellent options.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy bringing your imagination to reality and please let us know your thoughts in the comment section!

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