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How to prepare your t-shirt design for printing

by Andy on September 28, 2011

how to prepare artwork for printers

Blake from YouDesignIt (who guest posts here from time to time) has written a guest post over at Design Juices explaining to people that are new to the t-shirt game how to go about preparing your file for the printers, which is something that may not be immediately obvious to everyone. It’s by no means an exhaustive guide, but it definitely sets you along your way.

3 Helpful Tips to Get Your T-Shirt Design Print Ready


improving facebook engagement

When I’m putting updates on the HYA Facebook page sometimes they get a good response from the 2,700+ fans, and sometimes they don’t. I had always presumed that it was because I just wasn’t interesting sometimes, and that is probably the case, but apparently there’s a bit more to it than that. Mashable put together a post that if you own a t-shirt brand is absolutely invaluable to improving how well you engage with the people that follow your brand. If you don’t own a brand you might just want to move on or wait for the next post to go live (in 4 hours or less). The post explains how the time of day and what day you post updates on and how they can be beneficial for you. Some of it is common sense (writing about the NFL will be more popular on a Sunday, for example), but it certainly does give some good pointers and get you thinking about how you can improve response to your updates on Facebook, and by extension other social networks.


press release advice

I get sent a lot of press releases, some are good and some are bad. I think that most of the bad ones come from people who are just getting started in the business and think that they need to have a grand press release that shows they’re the latest and great people to put their name on a shirt, but don’t really think about it’s going to be read, or if it’s any use to the person reading it. has a list of 5 things that you’ll want to avoid when writing up your press release. It was written by a guy that works at Serious Eats, but all of the points do apply to people with a t-shirt brand, which is of course why I felt the need to mention it here.

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t-shirt blogger advice

Print-on-demand service Fibers have put together a really good guide telling their t-shirt designers (though the advice applies to anyone) about the best practises that they can use when contacting t-shirt bloggers to get their designs written about by guys like me.

The main takeaways are very sensible; have a good promo picture, write clearly and plainly making things simple for the blogger, offer them an incentive like a coupon code or maybe a free t-shirt, and don’t expect them to respond immediately, or perhaps even at all.

I should have something comprehensive like this myself and I’ll think about putting something together because I think it would be very useful. Of course, it needs to be read for it to be useful and in my experience with the submissions I receive most people just do what they want anyway and don’t necessarily follow any of the instructions on a site (my number one request is that people address me by name and it often isn’t met, so I know people are just sending out a form e-mail, and if they don’t give me that shred of respect why should I bother with their pitch?), but hopefully this information will get through to a few people.

Guide to Submitting Designs to t-shirt blogs


This is actually pretty cool. Yes, you could pretty easily do this in Photoshop but some people don’t have Photoshop, and this is a very quick process if you want to mockup a shirt in about a minute. You upload a jpg, scale it, rotate it, refine the colour of your shirt, and you’re done, a near instant mockup.

There is one problem for me in that if you use a jpg file then it isn’t transparent, so you end up with a white box around the edge of your graphic, but you can of course work around this by matching the colour of your graphic to that of your intended tee colour, or by using a transparent gif.

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250 Beautiful Typography T-shirts

by Andy on August 18, 2010

typography t-shirts

Typography t-shirts are probably my favourite category of t-shirt design styles, you know why? They get a reaction, they make you think, and they can be some of the most beautiful tees you’ll ever see. I have literally hundreds of t-shirts in my wardrobe, but if I’m in the mood to wear something that people will comment on it has to be a text tee, I’ve literally been stopped in the street to ask where I got some shirts, and that only happens with text tees because when people see text on a tee their eyes are drawn to it. Hmmm, did that last sentence make it seem like I’m desperate for attention? Validate me! Love me, love me, buy my t-shirt (that I persauded myself I shouldn’t include in the list despite it’s custom typework)!

It’s actually quite surprising that with my love of this style of t-shirt that I waited so long to post a ridiculously long list of typography t-shirts. I have no reason, but clearly in my mind people would rather see robot and Star Wars t-shirts (and even a list of t-shirt lists) before typography tees. I have bent the definition of a ‘typography t-shirt’ a bit here, I feel that in their pure form a typography shirt should be composed of great typework, and be about typography, but because that is a bit of a limiting category, I’ve decided to include t-shirts that display good and interesting uses of type.

It should be noted that I would not describe myself as an expert when it comes to typography, far from it, and that isn’t me being modest, I genuinely don’t know the principles of ‘good’ typography, or even if typography should be described as ‘good’. However, I do know a good looking and interesting t-shirt when I see it so hardcore typographers will hopefully not be too disappointed by the selection I’ll be listing today. Similarly, these shirts aren’t ranked in any order, the numbers are just there for reference, in fact I think this is one of the strongest lists I’ve put together, there’s real quality all the way through it, so it’s well worth clicking through to the next page (you thought I was going to put 250 t-shirts on one page?).

Okay, enough waffle, let’s look at a huge amount of t-shirts!

[click to continue…]


10 facts about t-shirts

You Design IT have put together a cool infographic explaining a few things that I didn’t know about cotton and t-shirts, it’s not exactly mind-blowing but I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading it if you’re anything like me.

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Stop mocking me!

by Andy on January 22, 2009


See that t-shirt up there, that is not a t-shirt, that, apparently (and I am skeptical) is a mock up. It was made up (I think) by Jeff Finley from Go Media (you’re probably more aware of their blog if you’re the kind of person that designs rather than hires designers), and I’d really like to see a tutorial about it because if this is a relatively simple process then I’d love to see it being used by more designers.

You’ve probably gotten bored of the amount I complain about poor mock ups and photoshoots of the tees and hoodies I feature, and partly I bitch because I want to have good looking images on my website, but I also mention it so frequently because on the internet we can only judge clothes by the way they look on the screen (though I’d like to think that my reviews help to give a more accurate impression of the companies that send me tees), and if your mock up doesn’t look good, you aren’t representing your own hard work well, and you aren’t giving t-shirt buyers a reason to buy your t-shirts, and I find that really frustrating.

Hoo, I feel better after that little rant, now get out there and fix your damn mock ups.


So you want to start a clothing line, huh?

by Andy on January 14, 2009


I’ve never started a clothing line, so coming to me for advice on the nuts and bolts of everything would be, to be frank, risky. So instead of writing up some pointers for you that might not necessarily make any sense, I’m going to point you towards a few links, that may be of help.

How To Start A Clothing Line is a blog about European literature in the early 19th century, well, if you can’t work out what that blog is about then I’m amazed you were able to get on the internet. It is written by Jon Kruse, the guy behind Mediocore Clothing, who happened to turn 25 yesterday (Happy Birthday Jon!), and features pretty much every aspect of starting your own line, from boring admin stuff to designing and printing tees, as well as marketing so that you can actually sell the tees after putting so much time and effort into them. There’s also interviews with other people in the industry.

Fuel For Design is an ebook by Gino from Color Overload. If you can get over the excited(!) marketing speak on the website, I have it on good authority that it’s worth the $37, I’m sure I read other reviews saying it was good, but I can’t remember where they are now, although Rude Retro questions whether Gino has the experience to write such a book.

The Art of Apparel. This blog is like a regular tee blog, but with more of a focus on the industry side of things, recently got caught up in major drama for posting an interview in which someone said what they thought.

Emptees. Sometimes you’ll get absolutely nailed by forum members that would rather make a joke than help you (they’re mostly harmless though), but if you want to know pretty much anything about the tee biz then the answer can be found here. Make sure you use the search function before asking a question though.

T-Shirt Forums. Like Emptees, except without the Lolcats.

That should probably get you started, if anyone can think of any more wonderful resources please let me know in the comments.

Update: I happened to come across a couple more resources you may find interesting/helpful:

47 Essential Resources for T-Shirt Designers at GoMediaZine

23 Great Apparel Related Design Articles at My Ink Blog [via… someone, I can’t remember who, if you’re a tee blogger that posted this please let me know and I’ll link you up]



Eric Terry, the man behind Linty Fresh (that’s him up there!), held a video webchat on Sunday evening in which he would answer people’s questions about the indie tee industry and share his experiences. With the time difference between the US and UK Eric’s Q&A sessions are on a little late for HYA’s bed time, but by all accounts they’re really useful and people are getting a lot out of them.

Unfortunately, the show was not recorded, however, Coty transcribed the who thing (on the fly as well, from what I gather), and has the whole thing on his blog, so head on over there and get some learning done.


Go Media’s Hoodie Design Package/Templates

by Andy on December 19, 2008

I know I’m venturing into unchartered waters here, but I’d like to think that HYA has a duty to help out clothing designers as well as clothing buyers (yes, very much overlapping groups, but you know what I mean), and if it means that I don’t have to post pictures of poorly mocked-up hoodies, then I guess that everyone is a winner.

I don’t know whether $50 is a lot for a bunch of hoodie templates, but if you consider how much time these would save you, and that the results almost look like real printed hoodies, in my rather uneducated opinion they’re a pretty good deal.

Go Media have also put together a video about the package (feed readers may need to open the page to see the video):

Revolutionary Hoodie Customization Package from Go Media on Vimeo

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See the sites, hit the bars

by Andy on September 30, 2008

Picture 154

[I don’t know what that sign is about, I took this photo in Manchester!]

I’ve got a bit of random site news to bring you, and since they didn’t seem quite big enough to mention on their own, this post is packed with not one, not two, but three things that you might want to look at!

1. I Am The Trend – I’ve been trying (and failing) to build a directory of t-shirt shops and blogs for at least a year, clearly someone has had the same idea and unlike me, they have the skills to pull it off. I Am The Trend may well sound like the name of a scene band, but its actually an online directory of indie companies which users can rate and comment on. They focus on clothing art an music, and whilst the directory isn’t huge at the moment I can see a lot of potential. If you run a tee site it might be a good idea to get yourself listed now because after Christmas they’re going to start charging for ‘Pro’ listings.

2. How To Start a T-shirt Company – Jon Kruse, the guy behind Mediocore Clothing has set up a new blog (which actually has some old content from when he was starting Mediocore) which, as you may well have guessed, it all about how to start a t-shirt company. By his own admission he’s still got a fair way to go before you can learn everything about getting your tee label off the ground on the site, but its certainly not the worst place to start if you want to start making t-shirts for fun and profit.

3. Buy-Tees T-Shirt Toolbar - I haven’t had a chance to play about with this yet (just installed, but I need to restart Firefox and with about 20 tabs open that won’t be happening anytime soon), but it looks pretty cool. The t-shirt toolbar, put basically, is an easy way for people to find t-shirts, reviews of t-shirts, videos of t-shirts, and even chat about t-shirts. In lieu of a proper review from me, MilitantGeek has given it a good look and I’m afraid its a thumbs down. **** Apparently there are ‘serious problems’ with the installation of the toolbar, so its probably a good idea to not install it.


Are you a t-shirt designer? Read this.

by Andy on August 1, 2008

I think its well established that I’m not good at drawing (see), but I know that there’s a fair few designers amongst you, so I thought that you guys might benefit from checking out a series on Go Mediazine called ’15 Awful Mistakes Made by Designers in the Music & Apparel Industry’ especially if you’re just starting out in the industry and aren’t too sure about how everything works. There’s insight and advice from designers such as Rob Dobi (Full Bleed), Jimiyo, Derek Deal, and Jimmy Heartcore, amongst others, so I guess you could say these guys have been there, done that, and designed the t-shirt…. ha!

15 Awful Mistakes Made by Designers in the Music & Apparel Industry [thanks notcot]


Johnny is the one on the left

That title is fairly well laced with snark, but its only meant in jest, Johnny Cupcakes is an inspiration to a lot of small clothing brand owners, and he seems like a nice guy too.One of the nice things that he does is give out advice to pretty much anyone that asks. The latest example of this can be found on Emptees, where Johnny has posted about how he runs some parts of his business. If you follow JC (the man and the brand) as closely as I do then there probably won’t be too much that is new to you, but if you’re thinking “who on earth is this man/delicious baked treat hybrid?” then click on through, but be warned, its a pretty long read.

Johnny Cupcakes lays some knowledge on Emptees [Photo Credit: Sean Future]

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