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Choosing the right colors for your design is crucial for creating an appealing final product. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a difficult or stressful process. Here are some guidelines to consider before starting your design:

With countless ink and shirt color combinations available, it’s important to carefully consider your ink color choice before beginning to ensure a great-looking shirt and cost savings. Some options include:

Single Color

Applying a single ink color to a garment is known as “single-color printing” or “one-color printing”. This option is best for simple designs and is typically the most affordable color option.

Halftones are an extension of one-color printing and can add interest without greater cost. They use shades of a single color and are easily set up.


“Full-color” refers to the use of multiple colors in a design. Despite its potential to create a lively outcome, there are several drawbacks associated with using full color:

  • It can be a more costly option.
  • Adding more colors may not enhance the overall design significantly.
  • It could compromise the design’s professional appearance.
  • It may not align with the target audience’s preferences.

Specialty Inks

Specialty inks provide a variety of options to achieve a distinctive look, with each ink possessing its own unique properties, such as:

  • Texture
  • Glow-in-the-dark
  • Metallic finish

Color Matching

Matching the design and shirt color with existing brand colors will ensure a clean, consistent, branded look.

Prints R Us offers Pantone Color Matching as an additional paid service. The Pantone Color Matching system is a standardized method used to create an exact match to a brand’s selected color scheme.

Alternatively, the Canvas color wheel is one tool that will generate a set of colors based on a sample. These include color types like:

  • Complementary
  • Monochromatic
  • Analogous
  • Triadic

Color Contrast

If you want others to see and understand your t-shirt design, the colors used must have adequate contrast. Contrast is the ability to clearly see the contents of a design by using different colors, so they need to be sufficiently different.


CMYK is a color model employed for printing, particularly for photo-realistic images and designs with a high color count. Commonly referred to as 4 Color Process, it utilizes four colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. It’s advisable to produce your images using the CMYK color process whenever possible. Otherwise, they will require conversion.

Achieving a great design entails organizing the elements (layout) and artfully arranging them (composition) to convey your message effectively. To assist you in creating t-shirts, hoodies, or other apparel designs, our design team has compiled several guidelines to provide you with a solid foundation.

Create Focus

Your shirt design may contain several elements, but there must be one primary focus. The focal point is your most important statement!

Keep It Simple

One of the most effective ways to enhance a design is by incorporating simplicity. The human eye has a limit to the amount of information it can process, and excessive details can impede the design’s ability to be easily understood. Hence, reducing the number of images, graphic elements, and text can often enhance the overall quality of a t-shirt design.

Be Complimentary

Assemble the elements of your design in a way that promotes complementarity between them. For instance, if you are designing a shirt with a Wild West theme, incorporate photography with a sepia-tone color palette that is commonly found in antique photos, pair it with an old west font such as Gold Rush, and add a distressed effect to the design to give it an aged appearance. By doing this, each element will complement the other, resulting in a design that is thematically consistent with the Wild West theme.

Other techniques that promote complementarity include using photos that are shot in a similar manner, incorporating similarly toned colors, and selecting fonts and design elements that are stylistically consistent.

Use Contrast

Utilizing contrasting colors is crucial in ensuring that the contents of a design are easily distinguishable. To achieve this, it is imperative to make sure that the design elements stand out by using different colors. Visibility becomes a concern when the color of the design elements is too similar to that of the shirt.

Create Visual Hierarchy

When creating a design, it’s crucial to establish a visual hierarchy that highlights the most important elements. The selection of appropriate fonts is a key aspect of establishing this hierarchy, which can also be achieved with images and graphic elements. In regards to using fonts, the visual hierarchy can be communicated through:

  • Order: Items placed first are generally perceived as more important.
  • Size: Larger items are seen as having a higher level of priority.
  • Color: Brighter colors with higher contrast tend to attract more attention.
  • Effects: Emphasis can be suggested by using outlines, underlines, or other effects.

Use 3 Fonts or Less

To add interest to a design without overwhelming it, it’s essential to balance the number of fonts used. Using just one font can be monotonous, while incorporating too many can make the design illegible and confusing. A good guideline is to use three fonts because it allows for:

  1. A bold or distinctive font to convey the main message, such as the title or business name.
  2. A smaller secondary font for delivering additional information.
  3. Another font for use with a tagline or less important information.

Pair Fonts Carefully

Since each font has its own distinct personality, it’s crucial to carefully select complementary fonts that help convey the intended message when using multiple fonts. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Seek Contrast – Choose a font that catches the viewer’s attention and another that provides support.
  • Avoid Clashing – Stay away from fonts that visually or thematically clash. You’ll be able to tell when they don’t work well together.
  • Steer Clear of Too Much Similarity – Using fonts that are too similar can make it hard to establish a clear visual hierarchy.

Choose Appropriate Fonts

The choice of fonts can significantly impact the interpretation of your design, making it crucial to select the appropriate fonts. When choosing a font for your custom apparel, it’s essential to consider the intended purpose of the shirt, the preferences of the wearer, and how the font will be perceived by those who see the shirt. It’s important to ensure that the font chosen is compatible with the purpose of your design, avoiding any visual clashes.

Use our library of clipart to create a personalized and eye-catching design.

We’ve assembled a list of our clipart options, as well as some tips & tricks for use with them.

Multiple Images

Multiple pieces of clipart can be added to create a unique design.


Clipart elements can be rotated to seamlessly fit your design.


Designs with multiple pieces can be layered to emphasize the desired elements.


The sizing of elements can be adjusted to make design composition easy.


Applying color to clipart can transform a lackluster design into something much more eye-catching.


Applying a weathered treatment can add an interesting visual effect to an otherwise basic piece of clipart.

Tips for Using Clipart

Choosing and arranging clipart may seem straightforward, but there are fundamental tips you can follow to improve the design of your t-shirt, hoodie, or other apparel items.

1. Keep it Simple

Simplicity is a key component of effective apparel design. Often, designers make the mistake of including too many clipart, text, and color elements that can blur the primary purpose of the design. We suggest using one main image or idea and removing anything that competes with it.

2. Consider Placement

When placing clipart, it’s important to consider how it will interact with the elements of the garment. Some general clipart placement guidelines to follow are:

  • Front Designs: 2”- 4” from the collar
  • Seams: At least 1” spacing
  • Back Hoodie Designs: 6” from collar to avoid the hood

If you want more guidance on placement, check out our Logo Placement Guide.

3. Balance Shirt and Print Color

Choose shirt and print colors that provide enough contrast to ensure design visibility. This includes avoiding the use of colors from the same color family.

4. Manage Size and Scale

Using oversized clipart in a design is a common mistake. Modestly-sized elements will produce a better result. Although our Design Studio provides guidance with a set of guides, we still recommend staying 1” – 2” inside the bounding box for best results.

Prints R Us provides a variety of customization options that can enhance the appearance of your personalized apparel. Whether you want bold and bright colors or unique treatments, our special effects can add a touch of individuality and make your design truly remarkable.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a widely used method in the apparel industry that enables the application of various effects when creating custom t-shirts, hoodies, and other types of clothing.

Specialty Inks

In addition to screen printing, specialty inks can take a good design to the next level. These creative options can add a fun and unique touch to your customized apparel.

Have questions about how you can use our screen printing methods or specialty inks? Contact our Design Team now at (904) 752-1515.


Embroidery offers a range of benefits as an option when creating special effects for apparel, like style, durability, and design flexibility. We offer a range of options.

Specialty Threads

Turn classic embroidery methods on their heads with threads that create special effects.

Direct to Garment Printing

DTG is a popular printing process that produces highly detailed, full-color designs at an affordable price. It offers several big advantages.

To achieve the best results in incorporating images into a design, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can negatively impact the resulting print. Based on our experience printing millions of t-shirts, hoodies, and other pieces of apparel, we recommend the following tips:

Use high-quality images

The use of low-quality images is a common issue that leads to poor print quality. We recommend using images that have at least 200 DPI (300 DPI is even better) and are full size. For example, if you are creating a center chest design that is 9 inches wide and 7 inches high, the image should be 9 inches by 7 inches with a resolution of 200 DPI.

Crop Images

Images often include elements that are not critical and distract focus from the main subject. Reducing the size by cropping the image places emphasis on the subject.

Adjust The Image

Images often have minor imperfections like scratches, spots, shadows, or other defects that may negatively impact the printed design. As a result, we recommend adjusting the image to eliminate those imperfections to get the best print possible.

Size the Image

Image size should be relative to the garment, otherwise, it may overwhelm smaller garments. Therefore the image must be scaled to ensure a consistent appearance.

Use a Standard Image File Format

There’s a broad range of image file formats and RushOrderTees’ Design Team can use practically everyone. However some produce better results, so we recommend using the following:


The choice of fonts can greatly influence the perception of your design. Fonts not only convey written information, but they also establish the mood and communicate deeper meanings. Drawing on our expertise, we suggest the following suggestions for enhancing your designs with fonts.

Explore Various Fonts

To effectively convey your message, it is essential to choose a font that aligns with it. Although it may take some effort to find the ideal font, it can significantly enhance the overall cohesiveness of your design. Take a moment to contemplate how the font selection for each category below adds contextual significance:

Make Your Message Easy to Read

Communicating the message contained in your designs is of primary importance, so selecting fonts that are easy to read and understand is important.

Some tips to make your message easier to read include:

  • Use Decorative Fonts Sparingly
  • Don’t “Shout” at People by Using All Caps
  • Scale Fonts Proportionately to Avoid Stretching
  • Create Visual Hierarchy Using Font Order, Size, Color, and Treatments

Choose Fonts That Are Appropriate

Fonts convey meaning and create an important first impression, so select fonts that are consistent with the message of your design. For example, a font applied to a non-specific movie title can set dramatically different expectations about what the film is about:

Use Three or Fewer Fonts

The use of multiple fonts can add visual interest and create a visual hierarchy, but a rule of thumb is to use no more than three fonts. Here’s one example of how impactful this simple rule can be:

Generally, we suggest selecting fonts as follows:

  • A large, decorative, primary font to communicate the most important message
  • A medium-sized, less decorative secondary font to use for supporting information
  • A smaller, plain font (if necessary) to convey less important, detailed information

If you want to take your apparel from ordinary to exceptional, embroidery is a great way to achieve that. It adds a more sophisticated and professional touch to various types of clothing, such as hats, jackets, and polos. However, there are some essential considerations to make when seeking the most out of custom embroidery. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Simplicity is Key

Less is often more when it comes to embroidery designs. Simpler designs are more legible and produce better results than complex ones. The detail in intricate designs often does not translate well to embroidered designs, as the thread size used is standard and cannot accommodate fine detail. Remove any extra words, dates, phone numbers, or unnecessary details to simplify your design.

Choose the Right Product

Although embroidered elements look great on various products, some yield better results than others. Generally, products made from thicker fabrics tend to be better candidates for embroidery. These include hoodies, sweatshirts, pullovers, jackets, polos, hats, beanies, and towels.

Be Mindful of Lettering

To achieve the best appearance possible, choose lettering that is bold, clear, and simple. When creating your design, consider these factors:

  • Size: Lettering smaller than ¼” is rarely legible and does not produce good results.
  • Font Style: Use simple, clean fonts. Sans-serif fonts work best.
  • Case: Uppercase letters increase readability.
  • Avoid Shading and Color Blending
  • Applying a shadow or using a blended color can lead to inconsistent results in embroidery, so it is not recommended. Since individual colored threads are used to produce color blends, the result can appear fuzzy and less polished.

Size Matters

Smaller embroidery designs yield a more refined appearance and generally produce better results. While larger embroidered areas may work well on sports jerseys and jackets, they can lose detail and feel heavy when applied to most garments.

Match Colors

Businesses with established branding, use colors that closely match their established brand to maintain a professional appearance. This can involve Pantone matching, or simply selecting colors that approximate their color palette.

Placement is Crucial

Selecting a location that acentuates the strengths of an embroidered design will yield better results. For instance, we have found that the chest, sleeve, or back of the neck locations are suitable for presenting simple embroidered elements well.