How To: Make an Outstanding Stand-Out T-shirt
Say sayonara to standard shirts.

Design Master

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I’d bet my life you’re wearing a T-shirt right now. I’d also bet a lot of your T-shirts are pretty standard. Well no more of that!

T-shirts have become almost a uniform and are acceptable attire in just about every situation (with a few exceptions like weddings and black-tie events). Despite the popularity of the T-shirt, it’s very hard to get your own creation noticed.

So you want to make a T-shirt, but how do you make it stand out from the crowd? Here are a few things to consider.

Part of a T-shirt’s success will depend on its style. There are all sorts of styles — the classic, the long-sleeved, the polo or the ringer — and each has special features that will appeal different buyers.

Even if a classic tee is usually the safest path to tread, you should consider more than just the default option before choosing. Picking the best-suited style for your product will greatly influence its end.

How to Make a T-shirt that Stands Out 1


Start by sketching a few ideas and develop those that have a chance to make a greater impact. If you’re not sure if it will work, perhaps it’s not memorable enough! Be inventive. Not only should the design of the T-shirt look cool, but it also should have a touch of uniqueness.

Quirky, ingenious creations are usually those that strike people’s fancy. If your design requires it, include a slogan or a punch line to make your T-shirt even catchier.

How to Make a T-shirt Stand Out 2


Colors are a substantial part of the T-shirt’s look. The hues you select should be inviting to the eye, but most of all they should go well together.

Avoid strident colors or use them only in moderation. You want people to wear your T-shirt, not to be blinded by it. Discordant colors can ruin even the most stylish design. When in doubt, keep it simple.

How to Make a T-shirt Stand Out 4


A lot of T-shirts are very traditional and have just a front design, often placed around the chest area. That’s perfectly fine in many cases, but an original placement can sometimes make a greater impression.

For example, featuring the design not only on the front but also on the back can be very appealing. Choosing an off-center placement — bottom, extreme left/right, sleeves, and so on — or filling the available space while playing with creativity can also lead to very interesting results.

How To Make a T-shirt that Stands Out 4


This should be obvious, but you want to have an extremely high-quality product. Invest in thick, resistant cotton that will keep its shape, vivid color printing and a design that won’t peel off after a couple of washes. Check out our comparison tables to find the best value and quality printing.

Cheap, shabby cotton fabric and poor printing will perhaps save you some money at first, but they will lose you buyers in the long run.

Classic or unconventional, illustrations, photos, logos, type or a mix of all four, short- and long-sleeved: T-shirts offer endless possibilities and there is the chance for anybody willing to spend some time and resources on developing an original idea to be rewarded with a winning tee.

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


  1. While making a few rounds of shirts for my shop, i have found that the colors of the shirt make the most difference.

  2. On second thought, we did have a shirt with a really catchy graphic on it thar also got a ton of attention. guess it just depends.

    • Kenny Austin
      Kevin Austin (

      Good thoughts, dober_jake. I think it a combination of great colors and eye-catching graphics make for the best shirts.

  3. rfrankel (

    What colors do you think help the most?

  4. Kenny Austin
    Kevin Austin (

    Great question, Ryan! Bright colors are usually a better choice than the standard black and white, however when used correctly (such as the example in Step 4.), almost any color can work well.

    I would recommend starting with a few bright, contrasting color choices such as red/green, or blue/yellow.