The Best Software For T-Shirt Design

Angie Renner
Published by
Last updated: August 15, 2022

Have you ever wanted to dip a toe in t-shirt design? While this used to be a considered a niche hobby that only those who were seriously into art tried, new technology is making it easier for more people to put the designs from their minds onto a t-shirt.

As far as t-shirt design software, you have tons of different choices – including basic graphic editing programs. If you’re looking for help figuring out which t-shirt design software option let you make great designs without having to spend too much time or money, take a look at some of our top picks.

T Shirt Design Software Comparison Table

PRODUCTFREE TRIAL OPERATING SYSTEM SPECIFICALLY
FOR T-SHIRTS 
COST
Adobe IllustratorYesWindows, MacNoCheck Website
InkXENoWebYesCheck Website
FatPaintN/AWebNoCheck Website
Adobe PhotoshopYesWindows, MacNoCheck Website
SonicShack Design StudioN/AWebYesCheck Website
GraffixPro StudioYesWindowsYesCheck Website
CorelDRAW Graphics SuiteYesWindowsNoBuy on Amazon
GIMPN/AWindows, Mac, LinuxNoCheck Website
T-Shirt Factory DeluxeN/AWebYesCheck Website
Flash T-Shirt DesignYesWebYes$$

T-Shirt Design Software FAQ

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1. How does t-shirt design work?

When you design a t-shirt, you’re essentially using a blank t-shirt as a piece of paper for your design. Once you’ve got a design you like, you can take it to a print shop or some other place where you can have your design printed on a t-shirt. There are also many online websites that allow you to submit a design and buy a custom t-shirt. There are also home t-shirt printing machines available.

2. Why use software?

Like we mentioned previously, designing a t-shirt essentially means drawing out a design on a blank t-shirt. However, t-shirts are fairly expensive so practicing designs on a real shirt isn’t exactly ideal. Instead, it’s best to use software that allows you to draw on a digital version of a blank t-shirt which can be restored to its original blank state at any time.

3. Is t-shirt design easy?

The ease of t-shirt design depends on what route you choose to take. If you’re planning on using dedicated t-shirt design software and using stock images and fonts from the web as the base for your t-shirts, designing shouldn’t be much trouble. However, you may have a much tougher time using a complex graphics editing program like Illustrator or Photoshop to create your designs from scratch.

4. How expensive is t-shirt design software?

Because t-shirt design software varies in its intended audience – some are professionals while others are simply hobbyists – the price varies quite a bit as well. You can find basic t-shirt design software for a reasonable price, but you’ll have to spend a lot of money on high-end, professional software like Illustrator.

How We Reviewed

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Everybody has different needs when it comes to t-shirt design software, so we did our best to choose the best software to fit everybody’s needs. We have some options on our list for beginner t-shirt designers who simply want to make the projects in their head come to life, plus more advanced options for the power user who wants to create a professional-quality design at home.

To help us choose from all the different t-shirt design software on the market, we looked at numerous factors, including price, general features and ease of use. While we want to bring you high-quality choices that can produce awesome designs, we also understand that not everybody is a design professional and learning some programs takes a lot of time.

While the exact software you choose will depend on what you’re looking for, you can rest easy knowing that every bit of software on this list is designed not only for high-quality creations but also for ease of use.

Overall Price Range

Everybody has different needs when it comes to t-shirt design software, so we did our best to choose the best software to fit everybody’s needs. We have some options on our list for beginner t-shirt designers who simply want to make the projects in their head come to life, plus more advanced options for the power user who wants to create a professional-quality design at home.

To help us choose from all the different t-shirt design software on the market, we looked at numerous factors, including price, general features and ease of use. While we want to bring you high-quality choices that can produce awesome designs, we also understand that not everybody is a design professional and learning some programs takes a lot of time.

While the exact software you choose will depend on what you’re looking for, you can rest easy knowing that every bit of software on this list is designed not only for high-quality creations but also for ease of use.

Best Top 10 T-Shirt Design Software

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator CC Icon 300x292 1
5 Stars

Adobe Illustrator is the true top dog when it comes to designing t-shirts, but that’s because it’s not a t-shirt design program at all. Illustrator is actually a graphics editing program that offers tons of great features that make it arguably the best tool no matter what kind of design work you’re doing.

Pros

  • Adobe Illustrator is by far the most full-featured t-shirt design software on the market.
  • Not only is Illustrator one of the more expensive options on our list, but it also has one of the steepest learning curves.

Cons

  • Not only is Illustrator one of the more expensive options on our list, but it also has one of the steepest learning curves.

Pricing

Adobe Illustrator CC is currently priced at a whopping $.

Where To Buy

You can buy Adobe Illustrator CC directly from Adobe.

Warranty

There is no warranty provided with Adobe Illustrator CC.

InkXE

InkXE 300x300 1
4.5 Stars

If you’re more in the market for software that allows you to run a print business, InkXE is what you’re looking for. You can use InkXE to allow customers to create custom designs for just about any product you can imagine, then purchase them online.

Pros

  • InkXE is easy to use while still offering solid features

Cons

  • As a business-facing program, InkXE is going to cost you a bit more and require more setup.

Pricing

The standard version of InkXE costs $$ and the more expensive version costs $$$.

Where To Buy

You can buy InkXE at inkxe.com.

Warranty

There is no warranty on this software.

FatPaint

Fatpaint
4 Stars

If you’re looking for a free graphic design tool that lets you bring your t-shirt designs to life without much graphic design experience, FatPaint is a good choice.

Pros

  • FatPaint is incredibly easy to use, so even novice designers will find it user friendly.

Cons

  • Because this software is designed for ease of use, it’s not as full-featured as some other t-shirt design software.

Pricing

FatPaint is completely free.

Where To Buy

You can download FatPaint at fatpaint.com.

Warranty

There is no warranty included with this product.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Logo
4.5 Stars

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful graphics editing programs you can buy for a PC, but you’ll need to spend some time learning it before you can create great designs.

Pros

  • Photoshop is great for using existing images and fonts to create designs.

Cons

  • Photoshop isn’t a drawing tool like Illustrator, so it’s not the best for making from-scratch designs.

Pricing

You can pick up Adobe Photoshop CC for $.

Where To Buy

The best place to buy any Adobe software is directly from adobe.com.

Warranty

There is no warranty included with Photoshop.

SonicShack Design Studio

SonicShack Design Studio
4 Stars

SonicShack is a web app that allows its users to create t-shirt designs online and sell them through the SonicShack store.

Pros

  • The ability to design and sell t-shirts through SonicShack makes it a great all-inclusive t-shirt design software option.

Cons

  • SonicShack is designed for ease above all else, so you won’t get the same great features that programs like Illustrator offer.

Pricing

SonicShack is free.

Where To Buy

You can download this software at sonicshack.com.

Warranty

There is no warranty on SonicShack Design Studio.

GraffixPro Studio

GraffixPro Studio Screenshot
4 Stars

It may be one of the more expensive options, but GraffixPro Studio gives you a great compromise between ease of use and great features.

Pros

  • This software is relatively easy to use but still allows you to create stellar t-shirt designs.

Cons

  • Although it’s entry level, this software certainly isn’t priced like it.

Pricing

GraffixPro Studio will cost you $ for the premium version.

Where To Buy

You can buy this software at graffixprostudio.com.

Warranty

There is no warranty with this software, as is usually the case.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

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4.5 Stars

CorelDRAW is similar to programs like Illustrator and Photoshop but is designed with beginners in mind, so it’s a great t-shirt design software if you’re looking for powerful simplicity.

Pros

  • Tons of great tools allow you to do nearly anything with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

Cons

  • You can pick up Adobe Illustrator for about half the price and Photoshop for about a quarter of the price.

Pricing

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2018 costs $.

Where To Buy

You can buy this program at coreldraw.com.

Warranty

There is no warranty on the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite.

GIMP

GIMP Logo
3.5 Stars

GNU image manipulation program, or GIMP, is a powerful free tool that allows you to do pretty much anything with images. However, it’s not quite as full featured as an expensive program like Photoshop.

Pros

  • GIMP is free and allows you to work with layers and other effects like fancy graphics editing programs.

Cons

  • There is a very steep learning curve to GIMP, so it’s not great for beginners.

Pricing

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2018 costs $.

Where To Buy

You can buy this program at coreldraw.com.

Warranty

There is no warranty on the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite.

T-Shirt Factory Deluxe

T Shirt Factory Deluxe Page
4 Stars

Another dedicated t-shirt design software option, T-Shirt Factory Deluxe is designed to give you an affordable way to make t-shirts without having to be a design professional. The result is a solid t-shirt design tool.

Pros

  • Design t-shirts, tote bags, aprons, sweatshirts, and just about any other article of clothing you can imagine.

Cons

  • Since this is free software, it’s not the most capable, and you won’t get the same support you get when you buy software.

Pricing

T-Shirt Factory Deluxe is completely free.

Where To Buy

You can download this program at t-shirt-factory-deluxe.software.informer.com.

Warranty

There is no warranty for T-Shirt Factory Deluxe.

Flash T-Shirt Design

If you’re looking for the most capable t-shirt design software that doesn’t force you to learn a complicated graphics editing program like Illustrator or Photoshop, Flash T-Shirt Design is probably the best choice on our list.

4.5 Stars

Pros

  • You can really do a lot with Flash T-Shirt Design, and you don’t have to be an expert to do it.

Cons

  • You’ll have to spend a whopping $$ on Flash T-Shirt Design software, so it’s not ideal for everybody.

Pricing

At $$, this is tied for the most expensive option on our list.

Where To Buy

You can download this software for free from numerous websites, but it’s unclear which websites actually sell the software.

Warranty

There is no warranty on Flash T-Shirt Design software.

The Verdict

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At the end of the day, there’s no replacement for a skilled designer when it comes to creating great t-shirt designs. However, that doesn’t mean those of us without years of graphics design experience can’t get in on the fun too.

Any of the software on our list will do. If you’re looking for power and don’t mind learning, CorelDRAW, Illustrator and GIMP are both great. If ease of use is your primary concern, you’ll probably want to opt for something a bit simpler like FatPaint or SonicShack Design Studio. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong with something from out list of the 10 best t-shirt design software options.

Featured Image by Skitterphoto via Pixabay.com

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