As Ruslan Leyva
, a Cuban artist based in Venezuela and one of the best teachers I’ve ever had once told me “Don’t be afraid to imitate another illustrator’s style while finding your own.”
As if the creative path wasn’t tough enough, on top of learning a craft, you also need to find your signature visual language. Any person can learn how to use photoshop, paint and even design a logo for a personalised T-shirt, but not everyone has got that extra je nai sais quoi that can make a statement. What my teacher was trying to tell me was not to steal someone else’s work, but to gather inspiration from it.
That’s why we’ve decided to collect some of the most iconic fashion brands and try to explain their printing process. We’re not endorsing copycats, we only want you to expand on your style library and be stimulated by some of the best in the industry.
The Fashion Industry
Fashion changes every season. New collections come and go every three months (sometimes even less) and, as consumers, we buy into this system. T-shirt design, on the other hand, has a different rhythm. Though t-shirts are an important part of our everyday outfit, trends in t-shirt design often get less attention than other pieces of clothing, such as dresses, coats or even shoes. It’s okay, they are still loved from London to Shanghai and although summer is naturally the biggest season for it, being a complement for rest of the year is still good, isn’t it?
If you’re a t-shirt designer wanting to create your own clothing line, you probably don’t have access to the same resources – budget and production-wise – as a big fashion label. Therefore, it’s understandable that, even when printing in bulk (at least 100 units per t-shirt design), you won’t have much room for big expenses. Although bringing your t-shirt design to life has these financial and logistic limitations, it’s still possible to achieve a high-quality print at a reasonable price, which is important and will help you keep a good margin in the sales column and add value to your newborn brand.
Are you looking to add T-shirts to your clothing line? 👕 Printsome has over five years of experience printing garments for fashion designers. Visit our website to find out more.
A couple of tips
A while ago I wrote some tips for designing and selling your T-shirts. That article focused on different things you can do to create and promote your new T-shirt design brand, such as getting good quality promotional images, creating your own online store or even how to get good T-shirt design inspiration around the web. Of course, all the advice in the world won’t do much if you don’t have a good final product to sell. It is definitely possible to achieve high-quality t-shirt printing and get the most out of unit sales in spite of a low budget. For that, a little planning and good printing advice/consultation is all you need. That, and a good graphic designer, if you’re not one yourself.
Below, I’ll analyse how some fashion brands use t-shirt design and printing techniques to create their products, and hopefully, it can be of inspiration for your future custom clothing projects. Also, while reading, you need to always have in mind the three basic laws of T-shirt printing:
The higher the quantity, the more cost-effective if will be per unit.
Most designs require 100% vectored artwork in order to achieve a high-quality print, such as the one you get from a perfect screen printing.
The more complex your t-shirt design is, the more costly it will be to print.