Take time to explore your concept
Sketch your T-shirt design out, go for a walk, create a few variations, have something to eat, do a full brainstorming process. Then sleep on it. And do it all over again. If it comes to you straight away, great. But explore other creative options just in case.
Imagine the design on a T-shirt
Having worked for both print and web over the years, I know the vast difference between design on screen and a printed piece. Don’t be afraid to mock up your T-shirt design on a photo of a model. Print it out if necessary and place it on an actual tee. Make sure you see your artwork at actual size.
Detail is king but keep things simple
Everyone appreciates great drawing ability and attention to detail. There’s nothing better than seeing a really well executed masterpiece on a tee, which you can study for hours.
But, equally, some of the most classic T-shirt designs are the simplest – and get the message across through their simplest form. Anywhere in the middle and you may struggle to deliver a successful design.
Consider your market
This is an important one. Are you designing for male or female; young or old? At the end of the day you’re designing a product that you want people to wear.
Like a good brand designer would do, write down the exact person you want to attract to your T-shirt design – who they are, what they like, what other brands they like and go from there.