Blog, Industry Tips, Marketing, T-Shirts

Creative Ways to Enhance Personalised T-shirt with Typography


Here are a few simple tips on ways to combine typography to create your own personalised t-shirts, whether you’re ordering a batch for a hen party, or equipping a team for a marathon, there’s definitely something in this for you

fallingThe Typographic Composition

Inside out, upside down and round and round. You’re not writing a formal letter, but creating a form of wearable expression and direction is everything. Depending on the quantity of text you’re going to use, you can really play with different compositions. Characters can really come to life just by being moved around the canvas and take on different meaning, concepts and forms. Express yourself!

Frankie says “Relax”

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with your typo-tee. Some of the most epic t-shirts of all time have just been a simple statement. Just remember that if you’re going to wander around wearing it, make sure you’re comfortable with what it says.

glyphsPoster Inspiration

Sometimes it’s tricky to know where to go for inspiration, especially when you’re trying to come up with that design that says everything you want to say at a glance. Not only that, but the composition of text, especially with longer words on t-shirts isn’t always easy, due to the chest width especially when you need to maintain a certain level of legibility and visibility. Try using some of the typography art movements for ideas.

Big is beautiful

Type isn’t just words, fonts come with a whole character map which can include some quite fun glyphs. Whilst making smiley faces out of brackets is fun, don’t forget to play around with some of the less common glyphs – you can make some quite creative compositions and give a whole new meaning to to the type. Here for example, I’ve just used a mathematical symbol to create my t-shirt composition. And size does matter. Big is beautiful. Easy!

ayl-logoYou’re just not my type

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different fonts. As every designer knows, a bold sans serif can go nicely with an elegant serif, depending on what you want to say. Experiment first of course, you never know, some of the most innovative designs come from accidents. Here, I’ve chosen to mix chalk and cheese with this unlikely duo.

Say what you see.

We’ve been talking just about expressing ourselves textually so far, but there’s no reason why we can’t bring image into the mix to make that message as clear as a bell. Using type as a frame for your photography is also an interesting way to bring your type t-shirt to life, and works well with DTG and transfer printing techniques. So go on! Get snapping, cos texty is sexy.


It might seem pretty obvious, but don’t forget to use colour to help you to convey your typographic message. With t-shirt printing, there are a huge range of interesting blending options that can work well with type. This doesn’t mean that when printing the inks are necessarily overlapping, but there are a various ways you could achieve a similar effect, whether it be through DTG, transfer or screen printing, depending on your budget and requirements.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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