The Ins & Outs of T-Shirt Design

T-shirt design at Threadbird is so much more than just picking up a design, plopping it on a plain white tee, and then shipping it off to you. We take a custom approach to everything we do and we want you to know about all the incredible options you have with us.

First of all, we offer six different kinds of printing styles for t-shirts and other apparel:

  • Premium Standard
  • Discharge
  • Waterbase
  • Plastisol
  • Process
  • Foil

You can read more about these on our Apparel Printing Styles page and choose the one that best suits your t-shirt design and material. For now, it’s just important to know that our standard style of printing, Premium Standard, is anything but ordinary and it blows our competition out of the water. Not to brag. But really.

Second, not only will your finished product be stellar, but we’ll also help you prepare your art for printing with product-specific templates, provide you with instructions on how to prep your art files and answer any other questions you have along the way.

And lastly, we also offer plenty of t-shirt design add-ons, like custom printed tags, sewn tags, hang tags, professional folding and bagging and more. So don’t hold back. Just let us know what you want and we’ll make it happen!

  • Threadbird - T-Shirt Design
  • Threadbird - T-Shirt Design

T-Shirt Design Tips

Get a graphic designer.

Let’s face it – some of us are artistically challenged. And there’s no shame in that. But when it comes to your business or your brand, you want to make a good first impression. And nothing makes you look like a few teens working out of a dimly lit basement more than poor quality t-shirt design. If it’s your goal to get professional quality custom tees, and you’re not an artist yourself, consider budgeting for a graphic designer. We also have some great recommendations handy for companies that can “transform” your art into usable, screenprint-ready vector files.

Limit the details. Sometimes.

On the other hand, you may be the greatest artist on the planet, but that still doesn’t mean your masterpiece will look awesome on a shirt. Complex detail can be great on canvas, but when it comes to t-shirt design, simpler is usually better. Try picturing your design on a shirt while you sketch it out and make an effort to simplify things without stifling your creativity. Process printing and halftones alike do an amazing job of capturing and creating detail with more complex designs – feel free to ask us more about that!

  • Threadbird - T-Shirt Design
  • Threadbird - T-Shirt Design

On the same note, there ARE certain times when detail is great. Like when you place your order. Give us any and all details you have – even if you think it’s too much. Does your design need to be off-center or center? What specific Pantone colors do you want? Do you have a preference on ink type? Will you have more than one print location on each shirt? Let us know! More is always better in this case and specific details will really help us expedite the process.

Stay on top of industry trends.

Certain kinds of t-shirt designs and styles are really in right now. For example, longer tees and pocket printing are currently trending. But what’s trendy now, might not be in five minutes. So if you’re going for a look that younger consumers will like, make sure to keep up with industry trends by following fashion-inspired blogs or fashion designers on Instagram. It never hurts to take note of what your competitors are doing.

Know your customer – and if you think you do know it all, dig even deeper.

Take the time to really get to know whatever market you’re in. Who is your consumer? What other kinds of brands do they like? How do they spend their time? What’s important to them? Answers to these questions will help you craft a t-shirt design that clearly resonates with your consumers while also distinguishing your brand from the pack.

Find a good GREAT printer.

When it comes down to it, a printer can seriously make or break your custom t-shirt design. Threadbird has won several awards for our high quality t-shirt printing methods and we have a long list of happy clients to attest to the great work we do!

Give us a call, chat with us on our website, or shoot us an e-mail today and let us help you create a custom t-shirt that will WOW your customers.


2 Undeniable Reasons Custom Clothing Always Comes Out On Top!

“I can’t find ANYTHING I like!” Sound familiar? If you’ve ever spent countless hours looking for new clothes and end up with a whole lot of nothing – it might be time to take things into your own hands. What better way to get something you actually like than to have the resources readily available to create your own custom clothing?

1. Creating Something Of Your Own Just Feels Better

Custom printing gives you the ability to look your best – regardless of what’s trendy at the moment. Want to rock a t-­shirt with your favorite quote, or maybe an image of a bear eating a s’more by a campfire? We can make that happen. Seeing your custom shirts worn by friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances or strangers can be incredibly rewarding because, well, that was all your doing! At Threadbird, we’re confident in our ability to give you the custom clothing you’ve always wanted and help bring your ideas and creativity to life.

  • Threadbird Custom Clothing for Kids
  • Threadbird Custom Clothing Ideas

That being said, it’s not just our ability to print unique designs on a wide range of apparel that makes our custom clothing at Threadbird so great. It’s also our wide variety of sizes. With apparel ranging in size from XS to 6XL, you can rest assured that your apparel will not only look good, but it will fit well too.

2. Work With Actual Human Beings

You heard us right – there’s a reason we have little-to-no automation in our process.  Every customer, every order and every need is unique and we have a deep understanding of that – no amount of automation out there comes close to the personalized, attentive guidance we offer.  Just starting out with your custom clothing idea? We’ll make sure every part of the process is crystal clear and will offer our expert recommendations along the way.

  • Unique Custom Clothing at Threadbird
  • A Unique Custom Clothing Design - Threadbird

Threadbird Custom Clothing

Have a question about how we can help you out with your custom clothing idea? Give us a call, chat with us on the website, or shoot us an e-mail. We’d love to hear from you and are more than happy to help in any way we can!


Rise & Design: Tuesday Inspiration

Looking for some inspiration to jumpstart your creativity this week?  Hopefully they brighten your day and inspire your creativity!

DKNG Studios

The guys at DKNG do great work. Being music lovers here at Threadbird, we love what this print is communicating. Music is beautiful. Coupled with a great, old-timey vibe.

revivalists

Zaib Ali

Check out Train Crossing on Dribbble, and don’t miss the rest of Zaib’s work. It was hard to pick just one for this week’s post. This piece has a real dreamy element, with the glare of the setting sun casting it’s shadow.

train

Eric Ressler

Maybe it’s because we love the West Coast, or because this Santa Cruz Design really would look great on a t-shirt. But, Eric is definitely onto something with this minimal take on Santa Cruz and the 3 natural elements of Trees, Mountains and Water.

santa cruz

 


Rise & Design: Tuesday Inspiration

Creativity a little low this morning? Check out these projects from some designers we discovered this week. Grab that cup of joe and check out today’s design inspiration.

Jennifer Hood

We love this project because it features the creative process and the variety designers can create for one simple idea. This designer also includes a number of great little touches that make the logo design options all something different and unique. Notice her touches like the descender on the X in the top left design and connected t and F in the top right that create cohesive looks.

Gallant Fox

Sergey Shapiro

This project looked great from early on in the process and we love the final design that this designer created for a yoga label. The bold and curvy lettering is just our style. It’s perfect for a hip screen printed t-shirt.

Gustavo Zambelli

This design made the cut for two reasons: first, pizza. The Threadbird team can’t resist it. In any form. But more importantly, we love how this fingerprint-esque design breaks down a common image in a whole new way. The digital strokes and colors result in a design that sparks both creativity and hunger. This one inspires us to see things a little differently today.

lines-recipe-cropped

 


Rise & Design: A Little Inspiration

Mornings can be tough. We get it. Some days coffee just isn’t enough to get the creativity flowing, so we’ve decided to help you out!

We’re kicking off this series of super cool designs to get the creative juices flowing with designs from some of our very own Art & Mocks team! So grab that cup of joe and check out today’s inspiration.

Josh Metts

“I’ve always been impressed by the illustrations of Ed Roth, so I wanted to do something in the same vein and a little out of my style for a friend of mine. I always start with pen and paper and bring it to digital for the coloring.”

josh

Michael Hoss

“The process behind my skull art was fairly simple. I was in the mood to do something different and found some inspirational pieces online. I mimicked a few different styles and meshed it with my own. I’m a fan of brighter colors, so I thought it would be interesting to mix that into a seemingly dark and grungy illustration.”

Check out some more of Michael’s work at michaelhoss.com.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.25.34 PM

Scott Simpson

“This illustration from BBC’s hit show, Sherlock, was created w/ Illustrator. I love playing around with different styles and really wanted try my hand at a more vectorized style.”

Check out some more of Scott’s work at scottsimpsondesign.com.

sherlock


How To: Getting the Best Screen Print from Your Design Files

So you’re ready to place a garment order. What’s next, you ask? There will be a number of steps to make sure we have everything you need, one being “high resolution or vectorized artwork”. What the heck does that mean? Well, allow us to explain.

High quality artwork is crucial in the screen printing process. The design you print is a major selling point for any clothing brand, band or retail company. It’s the reason your customers want to buy it from you, and we want all of our customers to succeed. Below we’ll answer some of the top questions that our customers have about artwork files.

“What’s a vector file?”

A vector file is a scalable art format that is most commonly associated with Adobe Illustrator. It’s a file that can be sized small enough to print on a baby onesie or large enough to fit on a billboard without any degradation or loss of clarity. It’s the favored file format of screen printers because it can be easily resized should the artwork require it.

“What does ‘high resolution artwork’ mean?”

It means that when zoomed in at 100% on an image, it has well defined, crisp lines. The two images below help illustrate that. On the top you see two seemingly identical images, but when you zoom in on the two images you’ll see the contrast between the two. The left image is muddy and not well defined. The image on the right, however, is clean without any blurriness or distortion.

  • Low Resolution Artwork File
  • High Resolution Artwork File

In order for a design to be printable it absolutely has to have sharp, clean edges. If it is even a little blurry the screen that the image is burned onto won’t pick up on the fine details and the final product won’t look right. For more information on the process of screen printing and more specifically burning a screen read our previous blog.

All vector artwork is high resolution, which we covered. But let’s say you created your artwork in Photoshop, Gimp or another design program. What then? What steps can you take to prevent your artwork created in those programs from being unusable?

  • Design everything in 300dpi. Dots Per Inch, or dpi, is literally a measurement of how many dots of color are in every square inch of a design. It’s the industry standard for almost any kind of graphic art as it produces a very crisp edge and is easily translated to print.
  • Create your project at the desired size you want it printed. When creating a new photoshop document with the intention of designing a new shirt, always favor a larger canvas than a small one. You can always shrink it down to work on the garment but you can’t ever stretch it out to make it larger without pixelating the artwork.

setup

These rules definitely are not common practice for even graphic designers, but when dealing with screen printing they make all the difference. Taking these steps will help to not only make your artwork printable, but the best quality you can get. They will make everybody’s job easier and guarantee the best final product!

Ready to order? You can go here or contact us at printing@threadbird.com with any additional questions! You can also find answers to some other file prep questions here.