Get Graphic with Your T-Shirt

As the name, evidently suggests, graphic T-Shirts are those whose design is markedly enhanced by the use of graphics. It was the emergence of skilled graphic designers that saw graphics being used in T-Shirt designs. It was an artistic revolution that changed the face of T-shirt designing.

It was in the eighties, that artists found an extraordinary canvas in the T-Shirt. Graphic designers, who were on the look out for a new medium to display their talent, found an innovative new way to showcase their work. The eighties were the beginning of the extraordinary graphics craze. Earlier, graphics were secondary and the shirt was primary. Now, it was the graphics that sold the shirts. The price of T-Shirts has soared day by day, owing to the fantastic new graphics developed by designers. It was right after the graphics boom of the eighties that companies woke up to the fact that T-Shirts could be used as vehicles for advertising their products. The very fact, that people would not only display their company’s name on their chest and actually pay for doing so, was just too good to be true.

More and more people like event promoters and others had a realization that underlined the fact, that they could increase their bottom line by merchandising. They did this by marketing customized T-Shirts graphically designed to advertise and promote their events. The business of licensing is now a billion-dollar business and is still growing by leaps and bounds. This gives you a fair idea about the demand of graphic T-Shirts.

Graphic T-Shirts are an integral part of the billion-dollar T-Shirt industry. The unique designs that range from plain to absolutely spectacular, from cute to downright rude have taken a strangle hold on the apparel market. Buying a graphic T-Shirt is very much like going to a movie. Just like a movie tells you a story, the graphic T-Shirt tells your story to the viewer. It gives them a fair idea of the kind of person you are, your likes and dislikes, your views on a particular subject and so on and so forth.

Designing the contemporary graphics T-Shirt calls for a lot of expertise. Customers have increasingly become more demanding, as they are getting more and more aware of everything around them. They have strong opinions about the environment that they are living in. T-Shirt designs are a medium that gives full vent to their feelings. This is why graphic designers must be in-sync with whatever is happening around them and of course the needs of their customers. It is only then that there is an output of an extraordinary graphic T-Shirt. As can be seen, both the customer and the designer have to walk hand in hand on this one. Therefore, it can be said that a unique graphic T-Shirt is a product of the accumulated input of both the customer and the designer.

In the end, it can be said that graphic T-Shirts are potent vehicles of expressionism. May they survive and flourish!

Important Things to Consider Before Buying Online T-Shirt Design Tools, and Greeting Card Software

There are times when you need something totally unique to send as a gift or you just want to have something for yourself that is unlike any other in the market. It could be a t-shirt, a business card or a greeting card. For most people, creating such customized items can be a daunting task especially if they do not have the know-how.

If you find yourself in such a situation, worry no more. You can easily create customized t shirts and greeting cards with online t shirt design software and custom greeting card design software. The software turns any newbie into an expert in no time.

There are several providers of such software online. Before settling on any one of their graphic design software you should consider the following:

Ease of use
When choosing software to use, always settle on the easiest. Some software have complicated interfaces, which make them difficult to use. The best software is that which has an easy drag and drop user interface. It makes your work easy, as all you have to do is provide the graphics or choose some from their templates.

Cost
You should ensure that the charges for the software are within reasonable limits. However, it is also necessary to realize that the best software does not come cheap. You should therefore try to make a compromise between the quality and the cost. If your designs are not too complicated then most software can handle it effectively.

Quantity
When designing custom t-shirts and greeting cards it is important to factor in the quantity that you will require. Most software providers provide bulk buyers with very attractive discounts. There are also those who have lower limits on the quantity that you can order. It is best to make inquiries on the quantities before selecting software.

Quality
Always pick the provider with the best quality output. Compromising on quality could cost you in the long run. This is especially true for t-shirts. If you get poor quality prints then the t shirt will not last for too long. You can verify the quality by seeking samples from the provider before making an order for a large supply.

Design
Most providers can effectively handle simple designs. However if your designs are complicated you should choose the software provider wisely. You do not want to end up with an ugly greeting card or t shirt just because the software could not handle it. If you are not too creative some providers have very tastefully designed samples for you to work with.

Material/fabric
It is usually best to establish before hand the kind of material or fabric that will be used for your t shirts and greeting cards respectively. Once you do this, confirm with the software provider whether they have it.

Shipping
Establish what the terms of shipping are. Compare across several providers to ensure that you are not being ripped off.

Size
It is always important to determine the size of the prints that you require before hand. this may affect the quality of the output as you may have a very small image for a big t-shirt or vise versa.

Features/ capabilities
It is best to determine the features of the software before taking up any. Ensure that the software has all the capabilities that you will require to come up with your designs.

Time
Seek clarification on how long it will take to get your order. This is especially so if you have a large order. Ensure that the time given by the provider is reasonable.

The Fundamentals of Making Your Own Designer T-shirt

T-shirts are an essential part of modern clothing. Everyone has t-shirts amongst the clothes in their wardrobe. But what if you were looking for a t-shirt that you really wanted but just couldn’t find?

Designing and printing your own t-shirt is easy these days, especially if you’re a graphic designer.

A commonly used shortcut to designing a t-shirt for the less able or experienced is to find fonts on the internet with the images that you need already drawn for you. You can manipulate these images by changing their size, shape, color or orientation with such tools as Adobe Illustrator. You can also combine these images with text if you like, to produce for yourself your t-shirt graphic.

Once you have produced your graphic, there are a few things you should know before you continue with printing it depending on the type of printing you need. There are three main types of t-shirt printing that should be considered:

Screen-printing

Screen-printing involves producing a screen for each color that appears in the graphic and pressing ink with these colors through the screen onto the t-shirt, one screen after another. The result is bright and long-lasting colors on the t-shirt which can be felt as a layer of ink. With this method, small details and color gradients aren’t reproduced well, and your graphic should be divided into layers, each color into a separate layer.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is the latest innovation in t-shirt printing. Graphics with complex color schemes and intricate details can be reproduced at little cost, except that digital printing is not very good at handling bright colors. It isn’t recommended to print digitally on dark t-shirts.

Heat Transfer

Heat transfer is very similar to digital printing except that there are more chances of having blurred images due to badly placed heat transfer paper onto the t-shirt, and it is also slightly more expensive that digital printing

Once you have designed your graphic according the printing you require you can send it off to a printer to have it made for you, or if you prefer, you could even submit it to a t-shirt website and earn some money for your efforts by having it sold on their website for a commission. You might even turn out to be an upcoming designer.

T-Shirt Design

The fashion industry woke up to the importance of T-Shirt design, sometime in the last decade or so. Till then nobody had cared to give the designing of T-Shirts much forethought. If there was a great idea that could be put on a T-Shirt, then well and good, but if not, then no sleep was lost over it. T-Shirt design emerged as a major component of the fashion industry when the designing world saw the coming of skilled graphic designers. Over the years this trend has gained in popularity and T-Shirt design is fast becoming a major money-spinner in terms of the designing business.

By using innovative graphics to design T-Shirts, graphic designers found a new medium to showcase their wares. Using spectacular artwork, they made T-Shirt designing a whole new form of art. Moreover an increasing focus on personalizing items that were used daily, saw the popularity of T-Shirt designing gain by leaps and bounds. The inherent desire to advertise your thoughts, desires, likes, and dislikes on articles of daily wear has meant that we are seeing highly innovative, fantastic, and sometimes scandalizing T-Shirt designs entering the market. Today, you not only see customized T-Shirt designs but also get to see personalized car graphics, accessories and even mobile phone covers.

You might just be of that generation when ‘sloganeering’ was very popular. This was the time when you wore your slogan on your tees, also called ‘slogan tees’. Though simple in nature, a witty slogan was generally printed on these T-Shirts. These T-Shirts are now not in-sync with what is usually termed the ‘generation next’. The limelight is now being stolen by more adventurous and complex T-Shirt designs.

The popularity of T-Shirt design can be gauged from the fact that it has now evolved into a venture that is community driven. There is extensive collaboration between consumers and designers, whereby a kind of non-formal product testing takes place before the products are finally produced for the market. The latest technology has enabled unspecialized people to undertake the designing and printing of their own T-Shirts.

Many companies have now formed online communities. The purpose of these communities is that members can contribute their personal designs to a particular product. T-Shirt aficionados have also got into the act now and have created blogs that cater to the specific needs of the consumers. Here, ‘expert consumers’ guide other members as to what design they must go for and what is hip and what is not.

Moreover, these experts have industry contacts and are in-sync with the latest brands available in the market today. They have their own networking groups and also have an idea about the latest T-Shirt designs that are available in the market. T-Shirt design is a million dollar industry today. If you are looking for a great T-Shirt design then you definitely will be spoilt for choice. So go buy your T-Shirt that has a design suited just for you.

How to Design Your Own T-Shirts

Designing your own T-shirts and other apparel is a fun process and can be pretty simple. The first thing you need to know is what printing method you will be using for your T-shirts. The second thing you need is the appropriate software. As a graphic designer, I highly recommend the Adobe software. For the methods outlined in this article, you will require Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Types of T-shirt prints

Transfers is a simple but cheap method of T-shirt printing. It consists of printing on a special sheet of paper and then transferring the design onto the t-shirt using a heat source such as a house hold iron or T-shirt heat press. This method is cheap and the transferred design will not stay very long. Sometimes you will notice chips and cracks after just a few washes. The advantage of this method however is that you can print full color designs in raster format.

The best method of T-shirt printing is Silk Screening. Silk screening consists of ink being pressed through templates called screens and applied directly to the T-shirt. This process is done once per color, so if your T-shirt has 3 colors, it must pass through 3 color screens. Once all colors have been screened on, the T-shirt passes through an oven of sorts where the ink dries and becomes permanent. Since inks are applied individually, the silk screen process requires vector graphics with a pre-determined number of colors. Usually no more than 4 colors otherwise your T-shirt would take way to long to produce and your production costs would go up considerably. Silk screening is also the best method for mass production since large printing companies have large silk screen machines that can produce many shirts in sequence.

Designing for Silk Screen

As mentioned previously, silk screen method requires vector graphics. To create vector graphics, you need a vector imaging program such as Adobe Illustrator. The problem is, many designers prefer to design in Adobe Photoshop as opposed to Illustrator, but Photoshop is a raster imaging software, not vector.

Luckily, there is a workaround. You can design your t-shirt in Photoshop at a very high resolution, flatten your image, copy and paste it into an Illustrator canvas and then use the Trace tool to convert the graphic into Vector. From there, you can separate your colors and save it in a Vector format such as .AI or .EPS. The trace tool is not perfect but works quite well for this application.

Designing tips

When designing your T-shirt in Photoshop, make sure you stick to only a few colors. Avoid any shades and gradients in your T-shirt design.

When creating your canvas in Photoshop, fill the background layer with the desired color of your T-shirt

When using the Trace tool in Illustrator, set the amount of colors to the number of colors on your shirt + the background color. Once the design is vectorized, delete the background color.

10 Ways to Make Cool Graphic T-shirts

1. CONFUSE. Create a graphic t-shirt design that forces people to look again. It can be a simple design, but one that is just too silly to not look at one more time, or something so difficult to decipher yet catchy enough that people keep looking at your torso while they speak. The graphic t-shirts that have most caught my attention are those who have large lettering to get you to start reading, but contain a kicker in small letters that you must read from up close to figure out. Treat graphic t-shirts like billboards in the subway: if people don’t somehow feel confused they probably won’t try and figure out what the rest of the tee says. Another way to confuse people is to use a graphic design that just makes no sense. One t shirt I saw showed a triangle trying to escape from between rows of bars – multi-color bars. It just made no sense, but definitely forced me to look at it.

2. FUNKIFY. Make graphic t-shirts that have funk written all over them. Not literally. It is a trend for now, but it is an effective way to making tshirts that are cool. Take a cartoon image – say of an astronaut listening to a boom box – add some colors behind him, with an 80’s touch to it – and you will have a funky-looking graphic tee. Curvy lettering, hot colors, simple designs all can give you a funky feel. Design your graphic t shirt while you listen to some Maceo Parker and that should help too.

3. GO RETRO. Take it back in time with a graphic tee design that reminds people of another epoch. Right now, the 80’s are hot. Until recently, it was the 70’s. What does this mean? Plenty of overuse of multiple color schemes meant to bring out lettering, 3-D effects, rock star band t-shirt designs, and Madonna. American Eagle has been using a lot of retro-looking designs in its shirts, using distressed screens to print some of them so that they have an old look. Their designs are getting old though, now that graphic t-shirts are cooler when they look like they’re from the 80’s.

4. BE IRONIC. Design a tshirt that is simple enough that people can interpret and that is incongruent with the situation. The surrealists were the masters of this. Follow Duchamp’s lead and design a graphic t-shirt that says something that is clearly untrue or that just makes no sense. Retro-irony used to be funny, but is now being used less often. By retro irony, I mean an old advertisement that has a new meaning today. Some graphic t-shirts still have these designs.

5. BE UNCONVENTIONAL. Take a common graphic t-shirt design and do something else with it. Take a design that people are accustomed to – say a rainbow – and make it drip like wet paint. Take unicorns and show them having sex. Just whatever it is, make sure it pops with creative thought. Your tee should send a message that is not lost in translation, that breaks some barriers.

6. BE SILLY. Design a graphic tee that will put a smile on everyone’s face. A bunch of fingers on a hand visit their injured partner the thumb, a bear watching TV in the middle of the forest, telling stupid raisins to stay out of your cookies, and two lemons helping another lemon cut in half, carrying him on a stretcher… (lemon aid). Silly graphic t-shirts get messages across easily and effectively, often without offending, which is a good quality to have. It is all too easy to make offensive graphic t-shirts.

7. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Simplicity in a graphic t shirt can sometimes be the most effective tool to convey a message – that is, if you have one. Graphic tees can be made just to look cool, and not to pass any kind of message at all. A giant circle with splotches of paint around it, or just common vector images that do not really say much more than “I like colors.” Sometimes one or two words will do the job. Being vague is important in graphic t-shirts to draw interest and simplicity is the key to being vague.

8. TALK ABOUT YOURSELF. Graphic t-shirts that ridicule others are easy to design. However, what is more interesting is to ridicule oneself. I have seen some funny variations on the idea. There are many tshirts out there that make drunk jokes about the wearer of the shirt. Of course, you can always wear graphic t-shirts that says something about you without doing so directly. If you wear a skull t shirt, it could signify that you are into gothic.

9. USE 3-D. Three-dimensional graphic t-shirts are part of a return to the 50’s with an extra dose of Warhol. These graphic tees don’t necessarily work if you wear 3-D glasses but sure look like you need to in order to understand them. The main use of this type of graphic tshirt is on gangster-type tees that show explicit scenes that are better left in 3-D.

10. CALL TO ATTENTION. You can get someone to look at your graphic t-shirt in various ways. You can draw their attention with an arrow, because usually that means you are pointing something out around them that they may be able to relate to. You can address them by using “You” in your graphic t-shirts. In any case, it must engage your viewers in some way.