Getting your own t-shirts printed is a great way to express your individual creativity and get one of your own designs made into a real life product, usually at a cheap price. Some of the quality of the finished article will undoubtedly come down to the actual materials used, including the method of printing and the quality of the t-shirt itself. However, with most professional t-shirt screen printing companies in the UK, anything is really possible. Graphic design for t-shirts means everything, so where you can influence the end results is through your artwork creation.
Here are a few tips that should help you get the best outcome.
1) Select your software – If you’re using software to produce your design, which you almost certainly will need to, there are a few options. Adobe programs are most likely the best choices, and Illustrator is the most appropriate for designing from scratch. Photoshop’s emphasis on layers rather than vectors can make it more difficult to increase the size of your design elements later, if needed.
2) Get your settings right – Once you’ve chosen your program, ensure your document is set up correctly. Use RGB 8-bit colour mode to accurately plan what your colours will look like. A resolution of 300 DPI is a good minimum to maintain, so make sure your canvas is big enough for this. An all-over image for screen printing should be about 40” by 35”.
3) Choose your design’s shape – This should be obvious, but you need to consider the shape of your garment and design if the overall product is going to work. Make sure you edit your artwork in such a way that it is correctly positioned on the shirt, it doesn’t get cut off and it looks in proportion when you’re wearing it.
4) Plan your colour scheme – Some colours will work better on t-shirts than others. Your material might make it tricky to print on, although screen printing is a better process than some for avoiding this problem. Even so, black material is hard to print light colours on accurately. Your colour scheme should be decided in advance so you don’t waste time changing it later due to design limitations.
5) Let the professionals separate the colours – With screen printing, each colour ink is different (unlike the method used by a standard colour printer on paper), so they are applied one at a time. This means the image must be separated into layers of different colours. However, the exact process for doing this may vary depending on your printer, so let them manage this themselves rather than trying to do it yourself.