While some graphic designers decided to use screen printing artwork as a method of turning their artwork into wearable products that are also profitable, a good number of screen printers did not start their business possessing a powerful background in graphic design. Like many business professionals, they had to learn designing for screen printing on the job and grow their design skills from the most basic level to a more advanced set of skills. They learned how to create new designs and they also got a better idea of the styles that are popular with their clients.

If you are entering the world of screen printing without a moderate level of knowledge about screen printing designs, you can still design garments that look professional and also meet the needs of your clients. Let’s get you started with four basic design tips in the article below.

Determine The Purpose for Your Design

Before you even begin thinking about your desired screen printing results, you need to consider your target audience and the purpose of the design. The first step in designing for screen printing is listening to the goals and needs of the customer. Do they want to:

  • Grow their branding?
  • Promote an event or special?
  • Reach a specific audience with the garments?

Determining the answers to these questions will guide the purpose of the screen printing artwork design. For example, a business audience that is a little older might like screen printing designs that are basic with crisp and simple colors. On the other hand, a trendy business that is promoting a local event might want bold colors and a sense of fun and humor. If you don’t take the needs of your customers and audience into account, it will be hard to create a garment graphic that meets their expectations.

Create a Color Palette

Designers who are new to the industry often make the decision of which color to use one of their final steps in the design process. This is not ideal as the creation of a color palette for any design should be one of the first steps in the design process. If you know which color garment you plan to use for printing, start there. If your client has a logo, the colors in the logo design might be how you begin the design process.

Once you have a starting point for your colors, you can use tools like Adobe’s Global Colors to find complementary colors. You can also use online tools to pair colors that play off your starting color. You can make the design stand out by using contrasting colors such as a light print on a dark shirt or go the opposite route with a dark print on a light shirt. You can even reduce the amount of ink colors you need to use by using the background garment color as one of your design colors.

Choose Your Fonts

Often, novice designers make choosing color one of the last steps of the process. In fact, creating a color palette for your design should be one of the first things you do. If you know what color garment you plan to print on, begin there. Or, if your client has a logo, that might be your starting point. You can find colors to complement your color starting point with tools like Adobe’s Global Colors or online tools that help you pair colors that play off each other well. Remember that you can lessen the amount of ink colors you need by using your background garment color as one of the colors in your design.

Simplify Your Design

Even if you have so many ideas and colors that you want to feature in your design, you need to resist the temptation to make an overly complicated design. Instead of using your screen printing skills to make an elaborate, multicolor design, the purpose of the garment should be obvious at first. It is important that anyone viewing the design is able to understand the message in five seconds (or less). You can accomplish this by keeping the lines clean and using your focal point and negative space to make the design easier to process. One way to make the design simple is to limit yourself to three colors or less by picking one element of your design to eliminate. This step can lead to better artwork that is lower in price and easier to print.

If you are ready to start designing for screen printing, our experienced team is here to answer any questions.

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