Why might you want to consider designing your own T-shirts? There are a surprising number of reasons, actually. It might be as simple as wanting to create a top from a favourite photograph, or you may not be able to find something that quite reflects your tastes in the shops. You may have a business or event that you want to promote with custom clothing, or perhaps you're planning a stag or hen party and want to kit out party-goers with matching outfits. You could even design a witty T-shirt and sell it online to make a bit of cash.
But where do you start? You could go to a professional print shop, but this could well prove both expensive and limiting. A better option is to go it alone and use the right tool to help you out. Here we take a look at five of the best T-shirt design tools and services.
Spreadshirt is a very well-known name when it comes to creating custom T-shirt, and for very good reason. As well as giving you the option of creating your own items of clothing for special events, marketing, or just for fun, you can also browse through a selection of T-shirts and other items created by independent designers.
Despite the name, you can create more than just T-shirt – mugs, sweatshirts, aprons, phone cases and more are also available – and the online design tool itself is a joy to use. You can browse through a searchable selection of clipart-style images, or you can upload images of your own, and you're able to position text and images pretty much wherever you want to on a product.
Prices are very reasonable – even more so if you're buying in larger quantities -- and the price you see includes shipping. With European and US versions of the site available, Spreadshirt manages to have much of the world covered too.
Like Spreadshirt, there are various versions of Shirtinator, although it's limited to European countries. In addition to T-shirts, there are also other customizable products such as hats, mugs, baby clothes and bags to choose from.
There are numerous ready-made designs for you to browse through, and these can all be customised through the used of text, different positioning, and more – on T-shirts, for instance, text and images can be placed on the front, back and sleeves. In addition to pre-designed images, you can also upload images of your own, meaning you can create T-shirts using your favourite photos.
There's an impressive range of size and colors, and although pricing does not include shipping, it is still reasonable. Bulk purchase discounts are available, which is great news if you're buying multiple items for an event or team of people.
As you might expect from the name, ooShirts specializes in T-shirts. There are a range of different styles and sizes to choose from – as well as shorts and trousers – but none on the extras found on some of the other sites included in this roundup.
Text, clipart and uploaded image can be dropped into place, colored as required, rotated, resized and so on. The online shirt designer is a fairly simple affair, but it does the job, and lets you see what you will be ordering with a degree of confidence. If you're looking for sport-style shirts with names and numbers on the rear, there are templates available that will help you to create these quickly and easily; a nice touch.
Depending on how desperately you need your order, you can choose between fast or free shipping – so you can opt for speed for price as necessary.
4. Custom Ink
Custom Ink not only lets you customize T-shirts with clipart, text and your own image; it also offers a range of templates for quick and easy results. Like ooshirts, there are name/number templates for sports team inspired clothing. If you're placing small orders, you're limited to customizing the front and back of a shirt; if you want to add logos to sleeves, you'll need to order more.
There is a very handy 'notes' option, which lets you add information to an order – Custom Ink suggest that this could be used to provide precise details of colors, such as Pantone codes.
One of the downsides of Custom Ink is delivery. There are three options to choose from – two week (free) delivery, one week (rush) delivery or three day (super rush) delivery. If you need your order quickly, be prepared to pay something of a premium. If you're looking to save money, the key is to plan ahead rather than leaving things to the last minute.
Teespring is a little different from the other sites featured in this roundup. While it can be used to create and order custom T-shirts and other clothing, if also gives you the option of selling your creations through the site – be that as a means of promotion and brand-building, or just to make a little bit of money.
The beauty of the way the site works is that Teespring takes care of everything. Your customers can place their order via the site, and Teespring will manage payment, production and shipping for you –- and shipping is available in the US and the EU. It's beautifully simple. The range of good available is impressive. In addition to T-shirts, there are numerous other items of clothing available as well as posters, prints, custom phone cases and more.
The range of clipart and images you're given to choose from is not overly impressive, but if you're working with your own images and designs, this is not a problem.
- Get your photos ready to print with the best free photo editing software