6 Tips for Better T-Shirt Artwork

The Easy View® Online Designer makes creating artwork for t-shirt printing easy and effortless with its’ thousands of layouts and clip art and tools to create awesome designs. With it’s customization tools comes some freedom in changing the way the layouts and designs look so you can create one-of-a-kind, professional designs for your customers’ custom apparel. To give you the tools to create the best art for apparel possible, here are 6 tips to help you create better t-shirt artwork using the Easy View Online Designer.

“Right and wrong do not exist in graphic design. There is only effective and non-effective communication.” – Peter Bil’ak, typeface designer

Even though there is no right or wrong when designing t-shirt graphics, there are still some things to avoid to make the designs look their best.


Avoid using fancy lettering like script fonts in all capital letters. It makes legibility difficult.

1) Don’t Use All Caps in Script Fonts

Avoid using ALL CAPS when using fancy fonts (typestyles) in Easy View. If you need to use All Caps like in acronyms or abbreviations, stick with simple, basic fonts. Otherwise, if you’re using a script font, keep with the Title Case style of Upper Case as the first letter, and the rest of the word in Lower Case.












2) Use Contrasting Colors

Using contrasting colors is one of the key principles of graphic design. In most cases, you’re looking for your design to stand out so others can read it clearly. So to help others keep from straining their eyes when looking at your customer’s message on their apparel, use a color of ink that will have a high contrast against the fabric color.

In the top example, the red ink in the design doesn’t have enough contrast against the grey background. If your customer is set on red ink, suggest using a black shirt instead. Or if your customer is set on red ink on a darker grey shirt, suggest using another bright color to help the design stand out.







3)  Invert Color Placement of Clip Art When Working with a Dark Background

One of the most common mistakes we see in creating art for t-shirts is the color placement in clip art or text being “inverted”. Remember the old days of photography film where the camera film would be a “negative” image where the lightest areas will appear dark, and the darkest areas will appear light? It’s not until the film is processed that the correct color placement of the photographed image is made.

In the Easy View designer, the layouts and clip art that are available to use are originally made to be a dark color on a light background. When the decorator chooses to change to a dark background with a light color ink, the clip art becomes inverted, or the “negative” as in photography. In the example on the right, the top image is a soccer ball with an inverted color placement. Traditionally, soccer balls are white and black. So in the design, we would expect the light areas to stay light, and the dark areas to stay dark.

The next time you’re designing in Easy View, keep an eye out for inverted clip art. There’s a fix for this, simply switch the color placement of the ink colors. For more examples of inverted colors and how to correct this problem, watch the video at the bottom of this blog.




4) Avoid Squishing Text and Clip Art

When we talk about “Proportion” in design, we are referring to the relative size or scale of a graphic element. If we have a design that is a circle, and we need to make the circle fit into a smaller area, one might squish that circle. If this happens,  it’s no longer a circle, but an oval. We have just changed the “proportion” of that clip art. Now if we need to keep that circle a circle, we want to make a smaller, “proportional” circle. 

This is the case with other design elements also. To help your design look it’s best, avoid sizing text and clip art unproportionally. We see this often when a designer in Easy View is trying to fit as much on the transfer paper sheet as possible, as in the example to the right.







5) Add an Outline to Help Design Elements Stand Out

Creating an entire t-shirt design layout, there are going to be design elements that overlap each other. When working with a single color, making a design where the design elements stand out and are easily seen and legible is difficult. However, there is a simple way to help the elements of your design stand out in Easy View. Simply add an Outline Effect around the text or clip art to separate it from the rest of the design. In the example to the right, the text is blending into the shapes in the background and the clip art isn’t as defined as it could be. Simply adding an Outline Effect will help separate the element from the rest of the design to make it easily readable.







6) Add an Outline Around Patterns

This tip goes along with #5, however since the pattern isn’t necessarily overlapping other design elements, we figured we’d make it its’ own tip.

In the Easy View designer, you have the ability to add one of many Pattern fills into simple Text and Clip Art. From zebra print to polka dots, Patterns can make a really unique and fashionable design. However it’s common for a word or clip art to not be easily legible or seen when there’s a busy pattern inside of it. One simple fix is to add an Outline Effect around the design to help it stand out. If you’re not sure how to add an outline effect, check out the video below.