40+ T-Shirt Design Mistakes for Beginners

T-Shirt Design Mistakes

Table of Contents

Many people take up the t-shirt design business in their ‘free time. They soon realize this like most enterprises, the t-shirt designing process also relies heavily for its success on the various key aspects such as researching the main skills, creativity, dedication, a lot of resizing time, and above all the desire to work very hard. So, devote the time, energy, and of course to the funds to run your t-shirt design and the printing business. Mainly your t-shirt design ideas are the key to the success of your business. If you know the T-Shirt design mistakes you can make your design perfect and professional.

So going through this you’ll get the most common mistakes people to do while doing a t-shirt designing process.

Choosing the Wrong Design Size

Choosing the Perfect Design Size

One of the most frequent t-shirt design mistakes we can see is selecting the size of your logo. The image or design of the t-shirt also. Society has always trained us to believe that size matters. The bigger, the better – right? But this idea doesn’t help in t-shirt design.

At the time of selecting the size of the logo, you should remember that bigger isn’t always better. Logos that are way too large can be overwhelming. Too much ink can make the shirt uncomfortable in wearing.

You must consider printing out the design on a sheet of paper. Then, hold it up to different sizes. So you can get a better idea of what size it will be at the time of screen printing.

Incorrect Placement

Picking the Right Placement

Now that you’ve come up with your custom design. where should it go now? The standard location for the work is across the chest and man. Does it really make a difference? Placing your design too low on your shirts, say around the belly area, is not flattering at all! So, picking up the right placement is a must.

Typography Mistakes

Typography Tips and Fabulous Fonts

When the matter comes to the design of the font. Even more importantly the placement in the custom t-shirt design is extremely important.

This also includes the font, font size, line spacing, letter spacing, letter capitalization. It also shows how to keep the text is broken up across your t-shirt design.

Some tips considering the designing of your custom t-shirt:

  • Think about the conveyed emotions with your font
  • Never use more than 3 fonts
  • Use all types of Caps very strategically in the design like Uppercase, Lowercase and more
  • Break up the long phrases into short different lines. For this, you can use font, capitalization, and size strategically

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Imbalance Composition

Composition in the t-shirt design has to do a lot with each element of your design. It is also connected to how the design is arranged in relation to each other. The creative composition can take the design to the next level.

The most common mistake we see in t-shirt composition is when the product elements are too spaced out. They are too bunched up and not even balanced on the design. The text can be read in the wrong order and this is another issue.

To come up with a truly awesome design, you need to make sure about taking time with each element to ensure the placement. You also need to ensure the proper spacing and organization are on point.

Complex Design

How Complex is too Complex

When your tent to design your custom t-shirt. We recommend Keeping It Simple. Sometimes we also get so excited about all the possibilities we add. This way too much text and images to the t-shirt design, making the design hard for people to read and understand.

Not knowing your target consumers 

It is totally a mistake to think that all the sections of a population will buy any kind of t-shirt if its design looks good. That is not the case that happened every time. People come from a variety of social norms. There are cultural and economic backgrounds and variations too. This also affects their buying decisions. A wise strategy for us is to create the designs for particular target customers. 

Ignoring the quality of material 

Ignoring the quality of material

Most of the designers assume that if they keep their t-shirt price incredibly low, it would be incredible. They thought that it is the key to running a business successfully. But research shows different things. They define the quality of the shirts as matters more to the buyers. A person s willing to pay a bit higher prices for t-shirts of high-quality material. It’s a big fact and you have to aware of it. 

Spending too much right away 

Spending too much right away

Most of the t-shirt businesses didn’t plan a proper way of using the resources. They pooled in their resources to collect dollars. When they plan for earning a big profit quickly. They ended up harming their business. They incur huge debt. This is a big reason for their failure. They must stop such way of approaching and give a big emphasis in this problem.

Ignoring the importance of relationships

In businesses, we need a solid foundation of relationships between the clients and end-users. Many entrepreneurs in this world wrongly think wrong. They thought a good t-shirt design will sell itself automatically. But when you promote your business among the target consumers. It makes a big difference.

Raising unrealistic expectations

Setting an unrealistic vision for your business will cause great harm. Many t-shirt business owners set a huge target for a year. Soon they face a variety of unexpected reasons. They come to know the bitter truth of reality. They knew that the competition is tough. So taking a shortcut is not working.

Having a low-resolution image 

Having a low-resolution image

The designers often ignore one thing. The resolution value of an image. If you want to correct this mistake, make sure that the image must be in high resolution. Preferable image resolution is 300 pixels per inch or dots per inch. Getting your images from social media like Facebook and Whatsapp is not so much advisable.

Not smoothing out the edges

 A good t-shirt design should not have pixilated edges. If you totally ignore the edges while printing. It will diminish the quality of your shirt. Despite receiving the image file in PNG. The image may have pixilated edges. You must remove them before printing them

Not converting the text 

When a designer gets the image in PDF, PSD, or AI. The file may contain text. The text should be converted to curves. Even if the text is got only one letter. You should ensure that the file font is compatible with the main design. So, convert the text of the image file may be having.

Ignoring the vector files

Ignoring the vector files

You need Vector format to store images and it is essential for some t-shirt printing techniques. It includes screen printing and vinyl. There are many advantages of vector files like you can resize them and you need not worry about the quality. You can resize a postage stamp size into a bigger size. You can do it by keeping its high quality of curves and lines. Vector format is also reliable in giving proper finishing to the material. So ignoring this is a great mistake.



The designers must pay heed to the colors of the clothing and file types. The design cost may escalate due to wrong decisions about the clothing colors. The design quality may also be suffered. You must be particular in selecting the file support.



In any portal artwork, contrast plays a vital role in its visual impact area. The contrast in a t-shirt design refers to the visual difference between the darker parts and lighter parts of the picture. It is not perfect always about achieving the highest contrast. Rather it’s about a visually pleasing balance.

It is not just about the colors that you need to keep in mind. It’s about the text, the dominant color, etc. If you have chosen bold colors for your design. Then the fonts should be in a state of contrasting shades. It is to enable readability and enhance the appeal.


Inversion is something fairly common work that needs to be done. It is done usually when printing white ink on black garments. Unless you’re in some kind of goth art band. You probably don’t want your image to look like an x-ray. Don’t you?

Borders, Masks & Edges

Many designs that we often print or feature one or more images. In a design, a photo just sitting on a shirt that is simply with plain edges can look boring. It can even look cheap and unprofessional. An easy solution you can do to this is to “put a border on it”!

There you get a lot of options when it comes to the talk of borders and edges. The most simple works on the border is a thin white or black border. It can instantly improve the appearance of the design. Be careful about it.

Low-quality fabric

It doesn’t matter for what purpose or occasion you are designing the t-shirt, quality always matters much. Ask yourself that same question – Should I wear a t-shirt that itches and feels uncomfortable? The reality is, everybody knows the difference between a good quality product and a cheap quality product. Plus, the recent market is now chock full of affordable as well as quality fabrics. It leaves you with no little excuse for choosing such a shoddy material.

This is especially more important if you’re a corporate holder. You have ordered custom design t-shirts for your employees or as promotional materials. These t-shirts designs and quality will represent your brand. So, when worn in the outside world which is not a good quality product. Then it can be a big matter of embarrassment!

Complex design

Complex design

Imagine a t-shirt and your audience can take in only some limited information. If you try to include there too many graphics. Truckloads of text. Multiple colors. Your design of the custom t-shirt will get the title of the perfect example of ‘things have gone wrong!’

You should include only relevant information in the design. Keep the graphics also simple and choose the color combination very carefully. The idea here is to represent the message across swiftly. And it should be without having a person rack his brains over what he just saw.


Get these tips straight – Your design is a t-shirt, not a banner! You should not copy some banner content directly. Just take a moment and select all the information that you will convey in your message. Keep it as crisp and catchy as possible. Ban the total ‘bannerisms’!

One Size ‘Does Not’ Fit All

If you’ve tended to place a bulk order of custom t-shirt designs in one single size. You’ve signed up for big trouble! Trust us. You will need to print your custom t-shirts in different sizes. Proper care has to be taken to ensure that, no matter what the size of the t-shirt is. The design should look perfect in sync with it.

Actually, it is not just the size that matters, but also it is about the print size also. It shouldn’t be too much small or too much large. The print area always depends on the print size. It also affects the placement as well.

Poor Image Quality

Poor Image Quality

It is very easy for you to get an image and use them for your design to make a haste one. There is often a glitch though. Have you checked the resolution? Images that we get on the web are usually low in resolution. They may look great on the screen. But they are not suitable for printing. 

If you want a professional-level design, the images must have high-resolution pixels. It should be in around 300 pixels. If you choose anything below, it will definitely leave you with blurred images. You cannot print them smoothly

Poor Fonts

Did you know that fonts have their own characteristics as well? Some fonts are huge ‘professional’ while some are totally ‘informal!’ Your choice of fonts will depend on the purpose of the design of the t-shirt. 

For example, if you need it for a corporate event, serif fonts will work well. But if you want it for the fun events. You can get some fun with the choice of fonts as well. Then, you can say, it is not just about the font. The way it is used, including the letter and line spacing it becomes clear.

Outdated Styles

You want to hit the intended audience with your custom t-shirt. The style must be appeal to them. Nobody wants an outdated design!

Get with what’s trending and make sure about it. You should look not just at the type of t but also at the t-shirt. You also have to look over the fonts, designs, and colors! This will help you a lot to come up with an amazing custom t-shirt. It will have also the required impact.

Not Having Time And Energy

Not Having Time And Energy

Yeah, when you have time, it is enjoyable doing everything. You especially like it most when the design and quality coming out. It meets with a lot of positive approval from friends and family. And after that, they are encouraging you to make this a business. Even that they will also support you.

 Any kind of business, especially a startup demands a lot of your working time. In the beginning, you need to overcome many difficulties. Again, there will need a lot of effort to make it devoted. To set up, research, and plan also.

In setup, you should identify where you want to locate your printing shop. Once, all this is done, you will have to close the lease (assuming you will be renting). You need to undertake renovations (if necessary). Then apply for the necessary permits.

And while you are doing all these tasks, you will have to research the following:

  • Your target niche market. Their expected demands and requirements,
  • Your target competitors within the proximate area,
  • Your assuming product offerings to serve in the market,
  • Your sole supplies for the product offerings,
  • Your total equipment and labor requirements (keep this as simple as possible at the start).

You need almost a perfect plan to grow this business as you want it to. This may be a marketing plan. Where you will get a strategy on how to get consumers. You also need a plan on how to support the expected growth. So be energetic before starting this. 

Not Following The Plan

Congratulations, for you, have made the journey here. This means that you have the proper time, energy, and desire to go through that business.

  Just follow it through the plan formed and agreed upon.

  However, being cautious about the plan here important. But being cautious first is more important even with a plan wouldn’t hurt. 

You may consider yourself running the shop initially. Instead of fancy marketing materials and getting an own store, online marketing and trade fairs would be a wiser decision as to the first step.

 Of course, you have to remember that this is just the beginning. You can have some additional help enlisted. Once you encounter the right situation to expand when you get the proper opportunity.

Making Wrong Equipment Choices

Starting here, we will share tips on how to avoid those kinds of mistakes that hamper your printing operations.

  And we start with the equipment first. We strongly make the suggestion that a perfect startup should start with brand new equipment.

The new equipment will not break down easily. And if it does, there must be a warranty or extended service agreement to cover this up. So, now you can compete for any kind of printing job out there.

Getting No Training With Equipment

Getting proper training with the latest equipment is a must.

Suppose you got those brand new equipment. And you did not bother a little to go through training with the service person who installed it. Trust me, you made a big mistake.

Bad Relationships With Vendors And Suppliers

Bad Relationships With Vendors And Suppliers

We have already made a note that how important it is to have a piece of quality equipment and supplies. This now relatable to the companies who are supplying these things. This is about your suppliers and vendors.

You need to maintain a more than average relationship with them. You cannot treat them like dirt. If you have done it will haunt you later. When you belong in the midst of that big printing job.

Treat them very nice and they will definitely return the favor to you.

keeping Inventory And Reorder Point Low 

keeping Inventory And Reorder Point Low

Well, we can start with the inventory. For this is a key factor to consider for the smooth operation going. Anticipating demand is a special good skill to have in growing in the t-shirt printing business.

 You should know that. there is also a significant relation to the previous section on having good relationships with your suppliers.

A thoroughly beneficial relationship with the supplier will lead to a good project. To have enough supply of the inventory on hand to meet the demands of your business. This supplier can work real hand in hand with you in checking and ensuring enough supply. 

Making An Over commitment

Making an overcommitment is just the most foolish thing you ever made. This can bring disaster to your business. In this way, you cannot satisfy your consumers. And when after making an overcommitment, you just failed to deliver them at the right time. This will bring a huge bad impression on the career and to your face value.

 There are many printing outlets out there, which is their desire to generate a new business, will promise the same customer everything. You must consider it running the business smoothly

Having Inferior Designs

I cannot stress this hard enough. You simply need to invest in having superior and visually pleasing designs. Having an interior design is not something appreciated.

We have mentioned this earlier. When we dealt with very difficult client design demands. The key to this is having more capable freelancers who can come up with these wonderful pieces of artwork. 

Not Proofreading Your Designs

Not Proofreading Your Designs

Nothing bothers people more than seeing their default names or lucky numbers getting misspelled in their t-shirts. It is totally careless as well as plainly unacceptable and irresponsible.

Can you imagine yourself wearing such a t-shirt where your name’s spelling is incorrect? 

If no, then take time to proofread your designs. Just to make sure you can run a spell checker program.

These types of tiny mistakes are an embarrassment to the printing process. It is also so much costly for you to repeat this order at your expense. No right customer with mind intact will pay for this out of their own wallets.

Other tiny mistakes that you have to aware of are:

  • Use low-resolution images,
  • Not paying attention to the proper color type requirements,
  • Not taking an extra effort to smoothen the edges in designs,
  • Failing to convert the texts to curves, and
  • Failing to take some advantage of vector file formats for image manipulation purposes.

Not Taking Care Of Screen Mesh Issues

There are two main important things while using screen mesh.

First, you need a variety of screen mesh available in the printing shop. By default, these 110-mesh and 125-mesh are used quite regularly. However, this may not allow fine detail artworks to be seen from your shop. You can lose a lot of flexibility in the t-shirt market for this.

Have 160, 180, 220, 280, and 205 mesh count screens and get them ready for all types of requests. 

Not Paying Attention To Curing Times

Always remember the mood of water. Water-based and plastisol inks have their own curing time. They also have their temperature requirements. Most often than not, this lapse is the main cause behinds those cracks which are showing in the design on t-shirts.

 Having a very good dryer will help you address this issue.

Weak Skill Set

Learn The Skill First

Learn all the ‘how’s first before venturing into this business world. You need to learn the skill at the very first. People thought that they might be a king after entering this business world without knowing its pros and cons in detail. They thought that after starting the car they can learn how the wheel works.

Maybe it sounds funny but without knowing much or getting skilled in this field. Moving here will look like the above situation. You must know the ins and out of this business world. You should know the struggle too and that’s will help you to get a wonderful mindset, so go and learn the skill first.

Cleaning Equipment

This is probably one of the most notorious flaws with the first-timers in this business. In all that cool excitement they forget to clean their tools and go on to the next step.

Remember you are dealing with a lot of fabric ink and other complex substances that need cleaning before being used for another project.

For this cleaning, you also need some proper equipment. If this is not properly cleaned by using the proper tools. There will often remain residue that will mix into your next print.

Do A Test Print Always

Do A Test Print Always

As a beginner, you need to learn a lot. There is a saying, learning through mistakes. But unfortunately, in this case, it will cost you money.

Many beginners feel overconfident with their newly acquired skills. They directly started printing t-shirts before checking the quality and accuracy of the print. For this, they will suffer in the long run.

Artwork Errors

Get it straight and right from the design to the print. When you make mistakes while making the design. That will reflect in the final product. So be very careful about it. Be it typographically wrong color shades. It is exactly what will be printed next. And then nothing will recast this mistake.

Initial Over Investment

Initial overstatements are like a buzzing problem for the newcomers. This is very common when a first-timer feels overconfident about the concept. Then, he has this in his mind and does not expect anything less than success. This is quite normal.

Such a person would normally end up investing way more than needed in the entry-level. This can include overstocking on materials or, purchasing heavy-duty equipment, employing excess staff. But be careful. Don’t be so much excited about that and firstly make a small step.

It has got to be accepted in the first move of yours into the market before you go big.

Listen To The Market

Many beginners never try to understand that they are making a product for others and not for themselves.

You cannot force the designs and your ideas down a consumer’s throat. You have to look around and made some research. You must see what people are trending in and look for such a gap in the same.

Your creativity, your and a bunch of ideas have to fall into this space. Your designs, quality, and prices must be accepted by the target audience.

Take your time patiently. Consult on the market to give the best product.

Make Advancements With The Time

Make Advancements With The Time

You should know that the market is dynamic. That means it keeps changes depending on various market forces. It will also affect the kind of products which moving with the time.

It does not matter if your t-shirts have been in a great position in the last year. It had been selling big for the last year or more.

If you notice a sudden change in the market. You need to find the cause and adjust immediately. If you don’t do it, your product will slowly go in vain and stop moving.

It may not seems necessary to your design or quality. But it shouldn’t have been compromised. Other reasons may be caused by the slump in sales like a brand new product in town in terms of design or material being used.

Find out the newness and lay strategies to counter the same process. Don’t fight with the market dynamics as it may cost you your business.

Get Out And Market The Product

It really does not matter how good the product is. You will have to let people know that it exists. No one will come and look for you to sell them the t-shirt.

You need to go out and let people know about you that you have a new product. That you think they will be interested in this product.

Let them know about the strong points about your product and services. Why they should buy this product when similar products are available in the market. So never hesitate about that.


All these types of mistakes being mentioned here are mistakes picked up from different experiences in the past. It is up to which of them you needed to take note of them. You can go all through also if you are starting a new business. And you are new in this arena.

However, the dynamics of this world are constantly changing and is even more important that you keep your eyes fully open for any flaws in your t-shirt printing operation and seek possible redress to the same.