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Tshirts, Anyone?

In the few weeks, I’ve been on a tshirt designing stampede. Kinda like these elephants:



I really enjoy apparel design. It isn’t always easy, but there’s something about seeing what you made being worn around.
Like, Hey, this is cute enough that I don’t feel like I can only wear it in the safety of my own home.
That, my friends, is winning 🙂

Here’s a few of the little tees I’ve been up to:



I managed an event for college students called Love Night at the end of February. And yes, I’m making a cameo there. The shirt was really simple, but the heart came in either pink or blue and they were only $7.50 a piece. Bam!

Easter 2013 Whitney-Brian.Oxenham_130331_2025-M


I did these shirts for Bayside Church volunteers and staff members to wear at events this spring. We chose a variety of shirts from American Apparel in both v-neck and crew neck. Really simple, just the church’s hand written logo (so trendy right now) merged into a circle! There wasn’t time to have these sent out for screen printing, so the printer used the least amount of ink possible on the design. Turned out well!

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 8.14.30 PM

(Image is a screenshot from my desktop)

These haven’t gone to print yet. This design is one of my favorites that I did for the Thrive Conference 2013. I say one of because I did 15 mockups total for this tee. But, it was a good learning experience involving a preexisting logo and working with a whole bunch of people on one piece of apparel – something I’d never done before.

And that awkward model? He’s with NextLevel Apparel, my fav brand of shirts to print on…other than American Apparel, of course 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 3.19.03 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 3.18.52 PM

These are waiting for client review and are based off branding done for First Covenant Church’s Children’s Ministry by my friend Renée Hong. The top design has some extra height to avoid the potentially awkward placement some tees deal with when printed as…erm…unisex apparel. The bottom look is less mind boggling 😉

Here are a few things I’ve learned about tshirt design:
• Go with digital printing when possible! This is a fairly new process of printing, but it doesn’t require the ink overlay necessary for screen printing and allows you to use more color and detail than screen printing does. Checkout all the differences here.

• Avoid the boob bandaid. Yes, seriously. A shirt with a “one liner” across the chest is not unisexually flattering.
That was an awkward sentence.
Height is essential to tshirt design. If you’re using a narrow, horizontal design, consider placing it in the left hand corner of the tee near the collar.

• Simpler is better. This is more of an opinion I guess, but I really think this is important. I don’t like to use a lot of color in a tshirt design and it’s even a necessity if you’re trying to keep costs down. Some printers charge extra for multi-colored prints. And the more complex a shape is, the less crisp it will look in a screen print because the ink is literally applied (via stenciling) to the surface of the shirt and then the access is squeegeed off.

Now, here’s my question – what do you like to see in a tee? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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