Art: T-Shirt design, Do's and Don't's?

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    T-Shirt design, Do's and Don't's?

    Hi. I have the task of designing some spiritwear for my school and I have a pretty good sketch being worked up and just needs some refinement, but I need some help when I go digital.

    I have only gotten one t-shirt printed and I don't really know what I am doing. When I make a digital design for the t-shirt, should I be working in CMYK or RGB? Also, I see many t-shirts in many different shades and some only in block colors. Are there different methods where only 2-3 block colors are possible, or are all shades possible of 2-3 specific colors? I'm fairly certain I will need to find a relatively cheap way to print the shirts (maybe $15-$25 per shirt) and we will probably be sending it off to a company like customink.com.

    I'm expecting to be making a woods scene with a bear and some rushing away tourists along with some text, so I will need browns, greens, and flesh tones at least. Would this be possible?

    I'm hoping you guys could give me some insight to this as I have been looking EVERYWHERE and I can't find a single thing to give me some answers. Thanks

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    Infuriatingly, I just spent a long time writing you a detailed account of how the latest shirts I did were made. Then I clicked 'submit' and the forum said I would have to log in again, and all my careful typing was lost! :'(

    So, in far less detail:

    For your budget, it sounds as though you require screenprinting. This is the first time I've done a design specifically for t-shirts from beginning to end (the only other t-shirts were copied from the LP artwork I did, so the shirt printing was completely out of my hands that time).

    Speak with your printer. They should be happy to answer your questions so that you get things running smoothly.

    300dpi or 600dpi (300 is fine). Work in RGB and convert to CMYK if necessary. Our printer didn't need it converted.

    Work in Photoshop/Illustrator on separate transparent layers, one for each colour. You ask if all colours are created from a few colours; I assume you mean a CMYK kind of system. They're not: each colour is a strict Pantone hue. Your printer can probably supply you with a list of the colours they use, and will select the closest Pantone to each of your colours if you haven't already specified which ones to use. Some shops will mix two Pantones to create a custom hue if you require it.

    You will be charged per colour.

    Do not allow the colour on any layer to overlap the colour on any other layers. The print would be too thick and likely to crack. Together, the layers must "slot in" to each other. To help with this, I created my design using Pencil (not Brush) so that there would be strictly no anti-aliasing. This may not have been entirely necessary but it seemed like a good idea, and it made life easier for me in many ways.

    Ask your printer if an underbase layer is required for printing onto dark-coloured shirts (i.e. dark blue or black). Ask if you'll be charged for this as an extra layer. Find out if you need to make the underbase layer in your PSD file, or if the printer will do that for you. If you have to create it, it's easily done - simply duplicate all layers, merge the duplicates and convert to white.

    Plan your design logically too. In my case, the client didn't want the shirt to scream his name, so I made a design which was eye-catching but featured his name discretely so that it would draw in the viewer's eye but you'd see his name secondarily. Think about an order of visibility in your design - what do you want people to see first?

    Try not to make your lines too thin for the print. Again, your printer can help you with this.

    Here are my designs (t-shirts down the page):
    http://www.behance.net/gallery/Amon-...llpaper/638549

    If you want to see better screenshots of how my layers are stacked up, I can upload some for you.

    Last edited by Doubleclick; August 22nd, 2010 at 01:54 AM.
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    That is exactly what I wanted to know, so thank you a lot , but I still have some questions. So like in your design you have a few different shades (I counted 3-4). Would those require separate colors? Also, I still don't understand the slotting in you are describing.

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    Yes, they're separate colours (four).

    I couldn't find the most recent, properly coloured version of the t-shirt file but this one's pretty much ok. I neatened it up a little after this.

    T-Shirt design, Do's and Don't's?

    T-Shirt design, Do's and Don't's?

    So the point here is that none of the colours overlap. On the cream-coloured shirts, this means that in effect there's an even, single dose of dye. The dark shirts include the underbase layer, so those will have a double layer of dye. Had any of the colours overlapped too, I'd be getting three or more layers of dye where these overlaps happen.

    Last edited by Doubleclick; August 23rd, 2010 at 05:40 PM.
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    For one, the styles that you would make or find online have been originally placed in RGB environment. RGB stands for the colors Red-Green-Blue. This set up is standard in digital designing. The spectrum of RGB setting is capable of coming up with lots of color combinations, while CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) range is also capable of producing lots of choices but different from those of RGB. RGB is used on digital printing applications thus having them printed on your shirt would be not so nice.

    For best results, see to it that you work in CMYK setting while your are making tshirt designs. Using this technique, your results would be more nice.

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