July 10, 2017
When coming up with a design for your first t-shirt, overthinking the process can take its toll on your imagination. But sometimes it’s the simplest design that sets the t-shirt apart.Whether its the iconic Rolling Stones lips and tongue or the classically simple I love N.Y tee.These iconic t-shirts all have the same things in common; t-shirts allow the wearer the ability to communicate a message without saying a word. These shirts have a long lasting appeal that has lasted for decades.
1) Knowing their audience.
While it may seem effortless, knowing your target audience can be the biggest make it or break it moment when designing your first t-shirt. Knowing exactly who you’re marketing to is a must. Marketing a skateboard shirt to foodies wouldn’t help you sell any t-shirts. So knowing who your audience is and where they are is just as important as its design. Milton Glaser created his iconic design I Love N.Y logo by expressing how he thought every New Yorker would feel.
2) Use of color.
Almost every iconic t-shirt is a simple 1 or 2 color design. These color choices are often used in combination with a saying or to give a simple image a pop. Using bright inks on dark shirts or dark inks on light shirts is something all iconic shirt designs have in common. Finding a good-quality contrasting color scheme for your design can save you money and time on your budget and production, and still create a highly visible product. Nothing stands out like color, without words, any fan can relate those big red lips and huge tongue to Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.
3) Great design.
A simple phrase or bold centered image can speak volumes and draw in an audience on it’s own. So picking the perfect spot on the shirt for your design is a must. Nike and their famous slogan “Just do it”still stands as one of the most recognizable slogans ever. Even though Dan Wieden created the slogan after the final words of a death-row convict, some times things are best said simply.
You have to make a shirt people actually want to wear. You have to ask yourself if you would wear this shirt. If you wouldn’t, they wouldn’t either. So make sure that the colors and design you choose have that timeless appeal to them, nothing that can become dated or turn people off. This in no ways means you can’t push the envelope or test the boundaries of what people consider stylish, it just means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Something as super simple as Napoleon Dynamite’s “Vote for Pedro” t-shirt has more appeal to it than the movie itself.