How To: Make a Band T-Shirt
Create some cool swag for your fans by following these rockin' steps.

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Creating a rockin’ band tee can be harder than you think. On average, people purchasing band T-shirts are very demanding. They will gladly spend money on official merchandise to support a band, but in return, they expect to get something that will be well worth the money. Can you blame them? Those shirts are expensive!

If you are going to make a T-shirt for your band, here are some important tips below.

Step 1. Brainstorm Ideas

It may sound obvious, but to make a good band T-shirt, you first need a good idea. However, a good idea doesn’t just happen. Creativity takes time, so make sketches (lots of them) and develop only the ideas that look promising, while dropping those that are so-so.

The best band T-shirts are those showing a compelling concept. Just sticking a photo and a few words in a random font on the front doesn’t make for a memorable tee.

How to Make a Band T-Shirt 1


Step 2. Start Your Design

Your design must speak for the band and its music, but at the same time, it should be a beautiful visual work itself. The T-shirt should be something worth wearing besides for its reference. Band T-shirts that are particularly appreciated by fans are often quirky, unconventional, and daring.

A unique approach is sometimes the result of experimentation: Challenge your original ideas, play with them, try variants of the same design, and alter elements like arrangement, lettering, and color scheme to determine which combination works best.

How to Make a Band T-Shirt 2


Step 3. Pick Your Fabric

If it’s true that fans are eager to splurge on exclusive merchandise by their favorite bands, it’s also true that many of them are avid T-shirt wearers and can tell the difference between a poor-quality T-shirt and a good one.

Even if money is tight, quality is a priority — if you want to sell, that is. Quality cotton is one of the most basic requirements you need to fulfill. Select the best that your budget allows. By picking flimsy fabric, you may be able to save at first and sell a couple of T-shirts now and then, but in the long run, it will be a bad investment.

How to Make a Band T-Shirt 3


Step 4. Select a Printer

The same goes for quality of printing. Poorly-printed T-shirts are not appealing at all and even if you think people will hardly notice, they will.

If you are thinking about letting a professional printer do the job for you, ask for samples ahead of time. If you are using one of the many online apparel customization and printing services (the various Zazzle, Café Press, Spreadshirt, and so on), you should assess the quality of the final product to make sure it will meet your standards.

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Step 5. Adding Extra Designs

If you can afford it, be a little enterprising and give your fans more than a single option to choose from by making your garment available in different colors and fits.
Don’t just offer the classic white T-shirt. Instead, be a little creative with tints. This may also require fine tuning the original design to the color of the shirt. In addition, flatter your female fans by having a ladies tee.

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Quality Really Does Matter

If you value your music, your T-shirt should reflect it. Don’t try to outwit the fan by investing in awful T-shirts, hoping to make awesome profit with cheap merchandise. This approach does not work! Quality may cost more, but investing on first-rate materials and the best printing service is usually the best promotion technique.

About the Author
Kenny Austin is an expert of print quality and accuracy, product analysis, and print production processes.
Kenny and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


  1. our band was just looking for some new shirts but we need a logo. How do we get a killer logo made to put on the shirt?

    • Kenny Austin
      Kevin Austin (

      ranger_rick, great question. There are many graphic design services around the web that would be happy to create a logo for your band. Also, even some online t-shirt printers offer design services in addition to printing. Check out our t-shirt printer rankings to find the company that will work best for you:

  2. that shirt on 4 is sick