T-Shirt Design Process

Over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of designing a handful of t-shirts for a local print shop. Because of the inherent limitations of ink, and the printing process in general, it has been a great way to learn the ins and outs of special techniques for this type of design.

First, all designs must be created in vector format (read more about that here), therefore using Adobe Illustrator is a must. Secondly, based on the type of printing press used, you may be able to use the full CMYK color gamut, but more than likely you’ll be limited to 1-4 process colors only. It really affects a design if you’re limited in the number of colors you can use – so it’s best to know these restrictions before you start designing!

The first two examples below show you designs promoting Owego, New York’s “Strawberry Festival” — a day-long arts, crafts, food and music fair. Each year the theme of the festival changes:

2014 Theme: “Strawberry Smiles”

2015 Theme: “Sweet Strawberry Spectacular”
The next two examples show you designs created for two chapters of the Boys Scouts of America:

Camp Barton // Theme: “Mad Party”

Camp Tuscarora // Theme: “Pirates of Tuscarora”