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How to create a best-selling t-shirt design?

Are you a designer trying to come up with a t-shirt design that will sell well? Whether you’re an expert artist or a T-Shirt design novice, there are a few universal rules to keep in mind to help you create thoughts and designs that garner likes, comments, shares, and, most importantly, sales.

Here are my top six suggestions for designing a best-selling t-shirt that people genuinely want to buy:

Be aware of your target market.

Excellent thoughts and ideas underpin the best-selling t-shirt designs, but you can’t have great concepts and pictures if you don’t understand your audience and their motivations. Take the time to delve beneath the surface of your target market’s expertise to understand what matters to them entirely. To build a design that resonates with people and is authentic rather than forced, you must put yourself in their shoes.

Make a tonne of t-shirt design concepts.

If you know your target audience well, you probably already have a few ideas for the type of design you’d like to build for them. However, it’s doubtful that you’ll get a direct strike right away. So, before you put pen to paper, come up with as many ideas as possible.

You can filter down your notions from this large number of ideas to a more manageable set of design ideas. If you’ve never sold a t-shirt online before, attempt to develop at least five different designs, each one well-suited to your target market (but with a different angle).

Choose the best of your ideas.

Look for concepts that lend themselves to a good style for your audience, such as humor, puns, wordplay, or parody (remember step 1). Only then should you begin developing. Isolate your most robust concepts — the ones that are most likely to resonate with your target audience.

Maintain a straightforward approach.

Simplicity is your best friend when it comes to developing best-selling t-shirt designs that sell. Your plan must transmit a message to your target audience simply and fast, which means no small fonts or too detailed visuals (unless that is what your audience is expecting). In a handful of seconds, your target audience should be able to view and understand your design. It’s up to you to decide whether or not sophisticated images and a lot of text are appropriate for your target audience, but for the great majority of top-selling t-shirt designs, simplicity triumphs over complexity.

Your color palette should be limited.

Almost all shirts were screen printed before DTG and print-on-demand technology became widespread. As a result, t-shirt designs with only a few colors became popular, as the fewer colors utilized, the cheaper your screen-printed shirt would be. You can use as many colors as you like with DTG and print on demand. However, I recommend restricting colors for a couple of reasons:

It has a more professional appearance and is more appealing to the eye. It eliminates complexity, allowing your target market to grasp the information more quickly. Even if the artwork is isolated, it indicates to the spectator that this is a t-shirt design (i.e., not mocked up on a t-shirt).

Bring everything together.

T-shirt designs that seem the most professional are cohesive collections of elements rather than patchworks of random bits and pieces. So, think about how you can introduce interactions and overlaps between your text and graphic elements when you’re designing.

Include background components where necessary, and try to avoid making your design look like a flat, 2d flyer or logo (unless that’s the style you want for some reason). In most circumstances, a client would prefer to wear a t-shirt that appears to have been adequately made rather than a logo or graphic that seems to have been slapped on a garment.

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