Top T-Shirt Design Tips – 5 Secrets For Perfect T Shirt Text (Plus One Bonus!)


If your funny t-shirts are turning out funny-looking, the situation might be your text. Irrespective of how awesome your cool tee shirt designs are once you imagine them, if your text is poorly designed, your shirts will always look unprofessional. But don’t fear! With these 5 tricks of professional graphic designers, you can quickly turn those amateur custom t shirts into perfect and polished works of tee shirt art.

Whenever choosing a font for your tee shirt text, ensure that you pick the one that supports your message. As an example, if you’re designing a funny tee shirt, select a font that has a funny feel to it. If you’re designing an attractive tee shirt, select a font that has an attractive feel to it. And if you’re designing a tee shirt for a significant, professional law firm, you almost certainly don’t want to utilize that font with letters shaped like kittens.

While this could sound like good sense, many new tee shirt designers and would-be tee shirt entrepreneurs skip this step and just pick any standard font they might have lying around. Unfortunately, it’s obvious in their results; what might have been an enjoyable tee shirt design ultimately ends up being boring and amateur-looking. If you’re careful to choose a font that represents the information of your words, however, you can avoid this fate and your shirts can be one step ahead of your competition.

All of the time, when font text is typed into a computer program, the spaces between the letters and words are a little uneven, and often a tad too wide. This extra and uneven space not just makes your text look a bit awkward and unprofessional, in addition it makes it slightly more difficult to learn because what don’t visually hold together as units. Even if the viewer doesn’t notice it, a person’s eye and mental  Long Sleeve Shirts performance need certainly to work a bit harder and that extra bit of difficulty provides the viewer a subconscious feeling of unease.

Tracking has regarding adjusting the average spacing of letters across entire words, sentences, or selected ranges of letters. By adjusting the tracking, the tee shirt artist can either decrease the average spacing between all of the letters in the selected range (making the spacing “tighter”), or else increase the average spacing (“opening up” the text), depending on what’s needed. Because the raw, unadjusted spacing varies from font to font, you’ll have to decide which one is required for your particular tee shirt design. But a good trick utilized by professional tee shirt designers is to begin by tightening the font a lot of (so the letters are too close together) and then slowly increasing the tracking until what look right.

Kerning is very similar to tracking, but with one important difference: in place of adjusting the average spacing across a whole array of letters, kerning only adjusts the spacing between two letters at a time. This enables a larger degree of control than tracking, and allows a tee shirt artist to fine tune the spacing between single letter pairs that also don’t look quite right, even with the writing has been tracked.

After the letters of a tee shirt slogan have now been properly tracked and kerned, the next important step is to adjust the spacing between the words. Adjusting word spacing is very similar to tracking and kerning — actually, it’s done exactly the same way as kerning and is truly just kerning the spaces between words rather than letters — however the guideline for proper spacing between words is just a little different, and so word spacing is just a whole step unto itself.

Generally, the most effective practice when adjusting spacing between words would be to visualize the width of a lowercase “L” in the font that’s being used, and then make the room between each word that wide. Which means that the width of the spaces between words will be distinctive from font to font (because how big is the lowercase “L” is distinctive from font to font), but inaddition it implies that the spacing will be custom created for the font in question. Creating the correct amount of space between words will support the results of your tracking and kerning, thus helping your words to keep together better as separate visual units and improving readability.

Another place that new tee shirt designers often go wrong is in the leading, or “spacing between lines of text.” Leading — which can be pronounced just like the metal “lead” rather than like a “leader” taking people somewhere — goes back to the times of the printing press, whenever a person would actually use small, thin items of lead to produce vertical space between the lines of type. Today, of course, computers handle the leading for us. Unfortunately, as it pertains to tee shirt text, they often handle it poorly.

When a tee shirt slogan is typed into a computer program, it often starts out with a tad too much space between the lines. It will help make the writing look very “fonty” rather than natural, in addition to making the tee shirt design (and the designer) seem very amateur. With only a small change to the leading, however, that same tee shirt text may be made to check very tight and professional.

With leading, the goal is to produce enough space between the lines of text so they can fit nicely together and don’t hinder each other, without creating so much space that they look artificial or become difficult to read. The eye should manage to easily jump visually from one line to the next without losing its place, and without the effort at all. While there’s no real guideline for the correct amount of space between lines, a tee shirt designer who begins adjusting the leading will quickly figure out how to “feel” when it’s right. Generally, the best way to begin would be to decrease the quantity of leading — tightening the room between the lines — and then keep tweaking it up or down until it feels visually balanced. When it seems natural and reads smoothly, your tee shirt slogan is one step nearer to the big time.