Tips On How To Design The Perfect T-shirt

T-shirts and other apparel are among the most popular ways in which people express their love for a particular artwork or design. So it comes as no surprise that T-shirts are one of the most highly sold products on Paintcollar. Given the popularity of T-shirt art, it makes sense to understand how to create the perfect T-shirt and put in a little extra effort to make sure that your designs come out great when printed. Here we have put together a collection of simple tips and tricks that you can use to create fabulous T-shirts on Paintcollar. Any designs you create using these tips can also go on other apparels like hoodies that are available on Paintcollar.


T-shirts look best when your design has a transparent background and the colour of the T-shirt comes through. If you have a background colour it will be printed as a rectangular block and will not always look good. Here’s an example:

As you can see, the image on the right looks much better on a T-shirt than the one on the left. The one on the left might work on a black T-shirt but not on other coloured T-shirts while the one on the right will work well on many different T-shirt colours.

To fall in the Awesome T-shirts category, always upload a PNG image with a transparent background. Since designing on a transparent background can be hard, you can fill the bottom most layer with a colour and hide it before saving the design.

If you have a hand painted artwork that you want to upload on a T-shirt, you will first have to digitize it and remove the background before uploading. You can either vectorise your artwork using Adobe Illustrator and then remove the background or if your artwork cannot be vectorised you can view this step by step tutorial to remove the background and save as a PNG file.

Colour modes

You might have noticed that sometimes the colour that appears on a printed T-shirt is a bit different from the colour you used in the original design. This happens mainly due to the difference in colour modes. Here’s how you can understand and solve this problem.

RGB and CMYK are the 2 major colour modes available to designers. The graphic below shows the range of colours available in each of the colour modes.

As you can see, out of all the colours visible to the human eye, RGB mode covers the most while CMYK covers a smaller range. If you are designing something that is going to be viewed on a screen, RGB is the best mode to use. However while designing for printing on apparel it is highly recommended that you use the CMYK mode. That is because printing on apparels happens only in CMYK.

If you design in RGB and look at the design printed on a T-shirt (in CMYK) you may notice some difference in colours. The colour wheels below show how RGB colours look in CMYK mode.

As you can see, the bright blue, green and yellow colours have changed the most upon conversion to CMYK. To avoid such differences between your design file and printed product, Paintcollar recommends that you design for apparels using CMYK colour mode.

However, please note that designs created in CMYK colour mode cannot be saved in the PNG format required for apparel uploads. After designing you will have to change the colour mode to RGB before saving in PNG format. There will not be any change in colour when you do this since the range of CMYK colours falls within the RGB colour range. When we print your design we will convert it back from RGB to CMYK. There will be no change in colour with this.

Image size

Paintcollar’s recommeended image size for T-shirts is 2125 x 3000 pixels. This means that an image of this size will exactly cover the maximum T-shirt printing area as illustrated below.

You can use the Scale feature in the Creation Engine to scale the image down to fit within the bounding box if required. Note that the scale feature will only enable you to reduce the size of the design, not increase it. Or if your artwork is quite detailed and you need to work on it in a larger size, you can reduce the size before saving and uploading.


Placement of your design on the T-shirt is another important factor you should consider. Your design might be great but if it is placed awkwardly it might not get any takers. When you upload an artwork by default it goes in the center of the bounding box. If your design is in a portrait aspect ratio this default placement might work well for you.

If your design is closer to being square or circular in shape or has a landscape aspect ratio, it is advisable to move it towards the top. This will ensure that the design is printed on the chest region. If you keep the default placement for such a design it will be printed on the stomach region which looks awkward. You can adjust placement by clicking and dragging the design within the bounding box. The difference between the two is shown below

We hope this guide helped you design your next T-shirt perfectly. If you have any questions or would like to suggest a few more points please feel free to write to us at

Happy Designing!



Originally published at on August 29, 2017.