Blog, Direct To Garment Printing, Industry Tips, T-Shirts

Killer T-Shirt combinations that actually work


Getting quotes and deciding which style to go with should be part of the creative process as well, so it makes it important to know how it works to print t shirts. Here are some of the best combinations which can help you when creating your design, and some tips about their most suitable print methods:

dtg-vintage-photo-collagesFaded garment + vintage lettering

Everybody loves a new vintage T-shirt that looks 20 years old, so you’ve probably seen this lot! One important thing to consider if going for this kind of design is to make the lettering work beautifully with the selected colors; a good tip is to use complementary colors for both garment and design. Organic cotton T-shirts give a soft touch as well.

Big photos or collages

Probably the favorite with fashion brands, everything is basically allowed! Those big celebrity faces or colorful collages with words and shades can be found at 9 out of 10 stores. Its most suitable printing technique is DTG, with time it gets a bit faded just like that cool T-shirt you loved when you were a teenager. The tricky part with this one is creating the artwork with resolution enough to print with a photographic quality.

T-Shirt BAndUse funny + keen illustrations

Everybody loves a funny T-shirt; especially if it has animals on it wearing sunglasses and a tuxedo, maybe even drinking tequila! The important thing is to be original and keen about what you’re printing on this one. The most suitable methods would be DTG as well as screen printing, if you’re serious about having those for sell and knows how to manage vectorial files to separate the colors into layers.

realistic-teesVintage Fonts + Pastel colors

There’s just something nostalgic about pastel colors in itself and when you add a vintage font, the effect is only enhanced. White and black t-shirts take longer to look “worn” while pastels colours can have that effect from the get go. Their softer shades make you wonder if they’ve always been like that or if they have faded. The printing technique will vary depending on the design.

Hyperrealist Illustrations + Bold Flat Fonts

In a similar fashion to the plain print on top of the texturised fabric, the flat design on top of the hyperrealist image makes the first one “pop up”. The human eye will always be drawn to the simple design instead of the complex one, that’s why on animated films we usually see plain characters drawn on top of intricate backgrounds.

All-over print + Crew neck

All-over print has revolutionised the world of fashion. It used to be a design on the middle of the t-shirt, but thanks to this new technique the possibilities are almost endless. When you put crew neck t-shirts and all-over printing together, you get an interesting combination of the most classic of tees with the most radical of printing techniques. For this particular combination you’ll need a printer that specialises in all-over print.


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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