Five Big Design Mistakes To Avoid With Your Apparel

T-Shirt

Hey, we get it – clothing design can be hard. No judgement. That’s why we’re here to help you avoid some of the most major design gaffes we’ve seen.

Whether you want to start up your own clothing line or simply pump out a few shirts to promote a brand, designing a decent set of shirts can be a pretty tall order. There’s a lot that can go wrong – and a lot of potential mistakes to make.

If you want your own clothing line to be successful, here are a few of the more common gaffes you should avoid.

Choosing The Wrong Typography

If you want to design a shirt with any sort of text on it, you’ll need to consider details like font size, font color, and font type. The typeface of whatever message your apparel is supposed to convey is just as important as the message itself. Perhaps more so.

And choosing the wrong typography can make your entire design either a total bust or a hilarious trainwreck. Trust me. it matters.

Not Knowing Your Fabric

If you’re designing a shirt, what kind of fabric are you going to use? Is that fabric a good choice for the design you have in mind? Is it comfortable and well-suited for how the shirt’s going to be used? What quality is the fabric, and does this matter?

These are all questions you need to ask yourself during the design process – you don’t want to design a polyester athletic jersey, for example, or a nylon t-shirt with a complex ink design on the front.

Going With The Wrong Printing Process

Speaking of inking, there are actually multiple printing processes – and it’s important that you understand each one. Screen printing, for example, has a mesh screen which has ink pressed through it onto a shirt, and is best suited for dark shirts or highly vibrant designs. Digital printing, meanwhile, is better for intricate, complex designs, or designs printed on uneven surfaces.

Using Way Too Much Color

Understanding the color spectrum and how complementary colors work is a basic design principle. It’s something every designer – fashion or otherwise – should learn in the early stages of their career. That’s why it’s so baffling that the concept of ‘too much color’ seems entirely foreign to some clothing designers.

“Pairing colors is a lot like matching typefaces,” reads a post on design shack. “Stick to two or three colors and tints for maximum impact. Add in a neutral for balance and be aware of how type looks on top of colored frames. Colors should have enough contrast to create separation and should connect emotionally with the message being delivered.”

Being Deaf To Your Brand

For our last point, I’m going to bring up a concept that might be shocking to some of you: you don’t control how your brand is perceived. Not really. You can take measures to have people perceive it a certain way, sure; you can design your outfits in a way that you think will garner a positive reaction.

At the same time, you have no control over how people actually respond to your efforts. What that means is that you need to pay attention to what people say about your brand, and to feedback about your designs. The worst gaffe you can make is to be deaf to criticism.

Brad Wayland is the VP of Business Development at BlueCotton.

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