In Creative, Design, Education, Merchandise

How to design a custom T-shirt?

The design on our T-shirt is something people notice immediately. The T-shirt you wear becomes a part of your identity, which makes them the ultimate advertising opportunity for companies and brands. Do you want to use custom T-shirts as a present for your loyal customers, to motivate your employees, or to sell to your community? With a killer T-shirt design you will definitely rock your goals! In this article, we explain you where to start if you want to design custom T-shirts.

Printing techniques

There are several options to decorate your T-shirts; screen printing, digital printing and embroidery. In this article, we will talk about screen printing as this is the most common printing technique for T-shirts. Screen printing is possible starting from 25 pieces and is ideal for big quantities and a maximum of 12 colors. However, we recommend starting from 50 pieces so you can have your own labels on your custom T-shirts. Labeling allows your T-shirt to be truly unique on the market, so if you want to create extra value for your customers and your brand, labeling is the way to go!

A couple of checks for your production partner:

  • Does your supplier provide premium quality products and printing?
  • Does your supplier provide ethical produced clothing (fairwear label)?
  • Does your supplier provide ecological garments (organic cotton or other biological fabric)?
  • Does your supplier have a long term vision for a customer relationship?
  • Does your supplier display knowledge and expertise on multiple fronts?
  • Does your supplier provide you the perfect service and knowhow?

Merchandise Essentials is an ideal & trustworthy partner by the way 😉

Now there are 3 more questions you need to ask yourself in order to get started.

  • What type of T-shirts do you want?
  • What designs do you want?
  • How are you going to sell your products?

What type of T-shirts do you want?

First you have to decide what products you want. There are many different T-shirt styles and colors, such as loose fit, plain color, heather color… Here’s some inspiration. Then you can start with a small collection to minimalize your investment. After the first collection you analyze the results and plan what you can do next.

What designs do you want?

Then it’s time to start thinking about the design you want. If you already have a design, it’s important to deliver it in a vector format. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you have a certain font for your design, that it might not be free to use.

Whether it’s a very simple and minimalistic design or a very graphical design, there are still some factors you have to watch out for:

  • Watch out for the size of your design, your design will look different depending on the size of the T-shirt. But our experienced account managers have the perfect knowhow to deal with this problem.
  • The amount of colors of your design will influence the costs.
  • Your print has to be minimum 2 cm of the seam.
  • A design or logo on the sleeve of the T-shirt can only have a size of maximum 3-4 cm.

If you have a design in your mind but you’re not very tech-savvy, then we have the perfect solution for you. Our in-house designer knows all the tricks and techniques to create the design according to your wishes, with some to-go-the-extra-mile touches to make sure your design will stand out in the crowd!

T-shirts on a clothing rack
T-shirts on a clothing rack

Did you know that…

Heavier textiles are not more qualitative?

How are you going to sell your products?

There are many ways to sell your products, whether it’s through e-commerce, a pop-up store, in physical clothing stores… It all depends on your story, your brand, your target group and what you are trying to achieve with your clothing.

To give you an example, read the success story of SMTH Smooth. We guided them from start to finish and they ended up with great success! With our partner, Storelaunchers, your ideas can also be turned into reality!


Merchandise Essentials is the most reliable partner on the market who will guide you through every process with a minimal investment. Our service guarantees a perfect solution to all your questions and problems. If you want to start designing your own custom T-shirts, feel free to contact us!

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