How to come up with awesome t-shirt design ideas

Angie Renner
Published by 
Angie Renner
Last updated: 
January 30, 2024

T-shirt is more than just mere clothing. Since rising in its popularity in the 1960s, they have been worn by every human being alive- from kids, grannies, office workers, to rockstars. They’re simply the new billboards; the mobile billboards where you can easily some virile advertising or precious brand recognition.

Having an outstanding t-shirt design is the key to achieving a great t-shirt that passes whatever message you want to put across to the public. The greater the design, the more attention grabbing the fabric will be. And the more people will be interested to look at it.

So, how do you come up with great t-shirt design ideas to ensure you remain at the top of the game?

Come Up with T-Shirt Ideas

Surprisingly, this is one of the most searched questions by t-shirt designers on Google. Almost all the T-short printing platforms have this question raised by a couple of tee designers.

By the end of this post, we’ll gave taught you the key considerations to make for unique t-shirt design ideas that everybody would love to wear.

Let’s get started with getting some great t shirt ideas:

Key Considerations For Unique, Eye-Grabbing T-shirt Design Ideas

1. Imagine Your T-shirt As Piece of Artwork

The basis of your t-shirt is simply the graphic design it carries. You not only want your t-short to represent your particular brand but also to stand from the rest. This could be a daunting task, given that there are millions of t-shirt graphics out there as there are t-shirts themselves.

Try to come up with something original and distinctive.

Start some conversations if possible.

2. When And Where Will People Be Wearing The T-shirt

Another quite important factor to ensure you come up with a better design is keeping in mind the people who will be wearing your t-shirt.

When and where will they be doing it?

Ideally, you would want to design something sleek for the street-strutting moments, instead of big old’ night shirt seen by the wearer’s partner only.

3. Make Your T-shirt Cool and Exclusive

Yes, the reason why you are reading this post is to know how to come up with tee design ideas that will make your end product cool and exclusive. But besides that, you’ll also want to ensure that as many people wear as possible wear your shirt.

Luckily, you can achieve this by focusing on your target group- the group of people you intend them to wear this t-shirt. They could be children, males, females, young, or old. Does the design you are coming up with look applicable to your target group? If no, you would want to reconsider the design.

4. Simplify The Line, Color and Texture

As you know, these aspects will come into play in the printer you are using, and can easily narrow or widen your possibilities (not to mention the budget). In general, the more complex your design appears and feels to you when doing it, the more cost it will need.

Just focus on creating clean lines, use more solid colors and stick to less shading.

For the color part, we highly recommend all the short designers to consider using PMS colors in their designs. Typically, you might handle all your artwork in CMYK and RGB color modes. But you need to ensure more accurate colors with silk screener, and this is where the PMS color mode comes into play.

Besides, the mode makes color separations a whole lot easier and more accurate.

Note that the printer shouldn’t charge you more for the PMS color mode. This is just an old fashion to acquire more cash since you area actually doing your clients a big favor by being more specific for the color accuracy.

5. Convert ALL The Text To Outlines

At times, your design might need a pretty obscure font- or even a custom designed font. When you finally transfer your artwork to your fabric, the last thing you want to look at in the final product is a substitute font.

If you convert all the text in your design to outlines, any computer that will open the artwork will view all the text present as an image. Thus, no substitutions will be necessary.

6. Always Use Vector Artwork Whenever Possible

There’s no argument over the raster vs. vector. Just make sure you use vector artwork as much as you can in your design.


Simply put, it makes the process of color separation real easy. Plus the final print comes out more vivid and clear- in the small details.

As a side note, consider this as the rule of thumb for everyday design job- not an automatic in all circumstances.

7. Dark Outlines For Bold Impacts

Looking to achieve a bold impact in your t-shirt design? If yes, you need to involve dark outlines in your image.

8. Source A GREAT Printer

As a final tip, you should consider using a really great printer for your artwork. You might have properly worked on your design and finished it successfully, but the tee you imprint on will only look as good as your printer.

We recommend using the best heat press machine for this purpose. Try once and you won't regret.​

You can even consider contacting a reputable company or your local printer in this situation.

But before that, take time to learn about the type of shirt you want to imprint. The size, labeling options, weight, cost, etc, affects your final product.

Final Thoughts about T Shirt Design Ideas

It doesn’t matter what you are working on. It could be a simple logo stamped on the shirt’s chest pocket or you could be handling a clients t-shirt design project.

If you want your t-shirt design ideas to stand from the rest that fill the streets every day, you need to get a bit more creative. Play with your design while keeping in mind all the key factors we have discussed above.

That’s the only secret to coming up with as many unique t-shirt designs as possible.