Hey, Cool Shirt: Designing Effective T-shirt Graphics | Christopher Delorenzo | Skillshare

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Hey, Cool Shirt: Designing Effective T-shirt Graphics

teacher avatar Christopher Delorenzo, Graphic Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      T-Shirt Design Showcase


    • 3.

      Research and Sketching


    • 4.

      Typography and Illustration


    • 5.

      Setting Up for Production


    • 6.

      Explore Design on Skillshare


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About This Class

Whether you're starting your own clothing brand or you've always wanted to design a shirt for your favorite clothing company this is your chance to design a shirt for that dream client of yours! You'll learn to define your brand of choice (or your own) through research and sketching and create a design that represents it using typography and illustration, then we'll get it all ready to print! 

What You'll Learn

In this class the student plays the part of the freelancer as we cover important aspects of the design and pre-production process, which include:

  • Get to Know Your Brand. Researching your brand and conceptualizing graphics
  • Sketching Your Graphic. Sketching from thumbnails to refined drafts
  • Getting to Your Initial Illustration. Basic t-shirt set up and guidelines
  • Finalizing Design for Printers. Differences between printing techniques, and tech packing your shirts for printers

What You'll Make

You'll design a t-shirt for your choice brand. Along the way you'll share your work within the Skillshare Classroom for feedback from peers.


Class Outline

  • Introduction. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to design an effective t-shirt — the kind that will make people on the street go, “Hey, that’s a cool t-shirt!” (hence the lesson’s name). Christopher Delorenzo will illustrate how standard graphic design courses don’t necessarily prepare you for t-shirt making. It’s a whole new canvas, and Christopher will show you how to make designs for it that are both simple and iconic.
  • T-shirt design showcase. Christopher will tell you about some t-shirt design challenges he has faced at Johnny Cupcakes, showing you some of his best and worst mistakes. You’ll learn how to balance between a branded t-shirt design’s two main functions—representing a wearer and a brand.
  • Elements of t-shirt design. The three elements of a t-shirt design are typography, illustration, and layout. You’ll see how these elements play out in Christopher’s work.
  • Research and sketching. When drawing inspiration from historical designs, you’ll often have to adapt a poster layout to a t-shirt-shaped canvas. Here, you’ll learn how to do just that. You’ll also learn research methods for designing t-shirts and guidelines for beginning your design.
  • Illustration. Before you put your sketch in a digital design program, you’ll have to set up dimensions to show how the design will fall on a t-shirt. You’ll learn the two, basic dimensions Christopher uses for t-shirt design, and you’ll watch as he turns his original sketch into a series of digital lines. You’ll also explore techniques like using Photobooth for visual references and using gradients to direct viewers’ eyes across your design.
  • Typography. On your t-shirt, you’ll want to include the name of the brand, a logo, and some kind of saying. You’ll learn how to make these elements out of custom type, using guidelines in your design program to shape and align letters. You’ll also get a sense of when to use custom type and when a standard option would work best.
  • Setting up for production. You’ll learn how to prep your design for the printer by merging, and then separating, colors in Adobe Illustrator using the magic wand and pathfinder tools. Remember to be mindful of gradients — you’ll learn the special process for prepping a gradient for the printer.
  • Learning printer language. You’ll learn how to label color layers in such a way that any printer will understand. Christopher will introduce you to the Pantone Color Bridge Coated series, the “universal color language for printers.” You’ll also learn how to appropriately size your design and how to communicate your shirt’s overall layout to the printer. Christopher will walk you through this process in Adobe Illustrator, as well as for designs you draw by hand or create using Photoshop. For the latter two, you’ll learn how to prep your shirt when dealing with pixels instead of vectors, using the trapping technique.
  • Types of dye. You’ll get acquainted with the three types of dye used in t-shirt fabric design – plastisol, light plastisol, and discharge – and learn the various effects each dye has to offer.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Christopher Delorenzo

Graphic Artist


I'm a Boston based illustrator and graphic designer. My designs are playful, clever and bold with a strong emphasis on visual humour and typography.

After graduating from Syracuse University, where I took interest in graphic design, art direction and packaging, I was hired on as an Associate Art Director for Saatchi & Saatchi in NYC. In the summer of 2010 I became the head designer at Johnny Cupcakes Inc.

In my short professional career I have provided design and art direction for clients such as The New York Times, AMC, Google, Jameson, City of London, Lincoln Motors, AirBnB, Lululemon, Wendy's, Plymouth Gin and more.

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1. Trailer: Hey, I'm Kristi Lorenzo. Let's make some t-shirts. Working at Johnny Cupcakes, I've done so many different references and kinds of t-shirts that I probably wouldn't have drawn on my own. We can tackle anything and give it our twist, and that's where the other fun comes in and that's where the challenge is. The class is Hey, Cool Shirt, how to make a good t-shirt design. What we're going to teach you is how to make an effective t-shirt graphic. So, when people see you on the street, they go, " Damn, that's a cool t-shirt. Wow, that shirt's cool." If you can do graphic design, that doesn't mean you can make a really good t-shirt because it's a different canvas. If you can paint, you can paint your canvas, but it's not going to translate to a t-shirt. So, if you draw on your notebook all day long, half of the drawings might work for a t-shirt, but not all of them are. So, it's a whole different canvas that you have to design for. That's where we're going to try and get down to, making good t-shirts with attitude and personality that are iconic, simple, effective, and pretty bad ass. So. 2. T-Shirt Design Showcase: I'm Christina Renzo. I'm a illustrator and graphic designer. I'm the head designer for Johnny Cupcakes' clothing and I make T-shirts all day. They're similar in a way that a poster is that you want to see it and recognize it from afar and it draws you in and you get to see all the details. But it also acts as this flag for the wear that you are representing. So, when you put it on, you are putting on that attitude that the shirt carries. They have more sentimental value too. So, when you put it on, you are putting on like I got that shirt when I went on vacation in Colorado, and you feel that memory every time you wear it, you feel closer to that. So, a brand as a power that's why you're designing for. You're designing for memories and for your presence. Working at Johnny Cupcakes, I've done something different references and kinds of T-shirts that I probably wouldn't have drawn on my own. One year we have this thing called Something in the cupcake mix, where it's Halloween themed T-shirt release, and there is like five shirts every year, and every year is a different theme. Coming up with interesting idea, you think it's easy, but as the years go by it has been getting harder and harder. One year we did a whole movie theme, which is a horror movies, you think we would have done it, but we didn't know we touched on it but we went specifically for old-school movie posters and each genre movie posters. What we did was we package them in VHS tapes. So, everybody, so the whole idea communicated to everybody like not just what's that shirt? Why is it like that? It's packaged in this, you get it, we made fake trailers for the movies, we had actors and directors. We did all this just for a T-shirt. So, that was the end result. It wasn't the movies, it wasn't the packaging, the T-shirt was the thing that culminated towards. That was interesting because we got to research sci-fi, like old black and white, like Nosferatu, the Cabinet of Dr. Calgary, all stuff like that to modern day like '80's zombie movies. Just learning about all those styles and interpreting them how we would, that was a challenge and fun. So, that's definitely one of my favorite projects we've done so far. So, in a T-shirt design it involves mostly three things which is topography, illustration, and then the layout of it all. This is my portfolio with a lot of T-shirts This is just two and half years of T-shirt design. A lot of mistakes. A lot of good things. I'm going to show you guys what works and what doesn't work in terms of T-shirt design. This shirt came out a Halloween for Johnny Cupcakes. It's a typographic shirt, and this is a good example of how you can do a type shirt but also infuse illustration elements and a bold graphic with a lot of detail, a horror movie, killer icons, all hidden within the negative space of the topography. Negative space can be your best friend, so finding opportunities to use negative space is really important. A lot of my designs don't have texture but when a design kind of calls for it, like I did this and I just knew it need to be grittier, it needed to have that horror feel to it. So, it only helps the overall concept, but if this was a clean design and it wasn't all hand-drawn scratchy, it wouldn't cover texture because they will look out of place. So, it was already there, the texture was just the last element I threw on there to complete it. Another example of typographic shirt is Do More of What Makes You Happy. Johnny preaches that people should do more of what makes them happy all the time, like they shouldn't be stuck in their crappy jobs, they should go out and pursue what they love. So, this is a phrase that people can latch on to no matter if you know the brand or not. That's really important. I see a lot of brands they have big phrases on the front but nothing that I can connect with. So, nothing that people connect with. So, you want a phrase, if you're going to do a type shirt, that represents your brand, and this is a good way to infuse the brand logo, using the space and the O. Finding spots rather than just plopping it somewhere. Dead center, right in the topography, it's a good lockup of it all. This is a design that recently came out, and it's kind of like a vintage design. Taking cues from old vintage advertisements, dumbbell-like Donald Brown and Herbert Lupin. This is just taking rooster and put in the oven mitt as his little waddle up top, and throwing the cupcake logo in there. This is a good example of how hand-drawn shirts can still be loud and effective. This is often put the hand done and I just scanned it in and manipulate the colors. But this is also a good case of a shirt that has a vintage vibe that does not come through as vintage as I want it to be, and that was my fault. I didn't specify that a printer that I wanted discharge. So, you end up with this kind of heavier material that some shirts the ink is within the fabric not on top of the fabric. So, this is example of class assault on dark shirt where you would normally want discharge on dark shirt. So, this is boxing glove design that if Johnny Cupcakes that takes your idea of boxing gloves, and incorporates baking myths in replacing them. So, this is a good example of an iconic design that is loud, shows that you can be clever with something that has been done a lot of times. People love things that are bad ass and for Johnny Cupcakes, like this is a good design to show that I'm tough, but I'm wearing Johnny Cupcakes. So, you have that it's all about that play of words were cupcakes but you're tough cupcakes. So, that's a big appeal for our customers that we noticed, so we try and play off that as much as we can. What you can take away from this is that it's a character that you've never seen before. Unless you follow the brand but it's something that is within your cultural memory. Like it looks kind of like Mickey Mouse or it has a long nose like a spy versus spy character. He's got a sack. He's the Hamburgler. So, it's a lot of different things that you've already been associated with. Staying true to a certain style, you can make something that is effective. That is your own that people aren't afraid of, that they can just latch on to, because they know it already, but it's something that's new to them. This one we knew we needed a red. Red was big color in London associated with the double decker buses and the phone booths. So, we went for the double decker bus and using that as the background color for the bus it also limits cost in the end. A lot of shirt are one color or one or two colors and it's also easier to print. So, this one it didn't take away from the design using less colors. Again, it's simple but it's big and there's an idea to it. So, people know the all long the double decker bus but there's that element of Johnny Cupcakes has kind of taken over London. We're on top of the bus and dripping down. This is an example of shirt that just didn't work. Too many things going on. Way too many things. I was too bold and this one I thought I was going to exercise my topography and in the end it you can see it just doesn't play out there's too many different styles got the war in a different style than what the make and the cupcakes are. The graphic isn't as bold as the statement itself. It's not as simple as it is. When you complicate a simple statement with graphics, it's not as effective anymore. Design for design sake and you lose the message. The operation shirt is simple design that uses the shirt and different printing,s not printing techniques, but where you can print on a shirt, and bring it down to run off of the shirt. That's something that you don't see as much. Some people do it just to do it, but when it when you work with In-design on a shirt, that's when it becomes more effective rather than just having a graphic down below just for like fashion sake, which you can, but just make sure it's there for a reason. Then also Johnny Cupcakes also has this tag that we put on every shirt. So, this was a good way of interacting with what the shirt already has. So, turning that tag into the buzzer was something that when they're done before. We never used it in an interactive way and people responded well to that. Then carrying the design over to the back there is a little rolling pin that's in the same style as the front because the operation game you have all these different pieces all around the body. So, having that also on the shirt it's like, it's very interactive with the shirt. This shirt is an example we call trapping. The colors overlap so that you don't get any separation of colors. There's no shirt in between the two ink colors. All the white you see here it's actually on the file is larger than what is shown, because when they put the blue ink over it, it then covers up that. So, it's just like a safety net for when you're printing so that if there was ever any, if the shirt moved a bit, it will still be okay. It will come out clean. So, that's something that we'll go over 3. Research and Sketching: So today, I'm going to go over sketching and concepting for your design. One of the best resources is to just go online and check out that brand's website, and check out their blogs, what they're posting, what the culture around that brand is. So for mine, it shows magic because Johnny Cupcakes is a big magic fan. When I started researching magicians and magic posters, there's a really certain aesthetic to it all, the typography, it's consistent across all the posters. Since I'm doing a magician poster, a lot of posters back then were very photo-oriented or highly illustrative. I know that that's not going to work well on a T-shirt. I know I have to simplify it and I have to take all the elements that are there and make them printable for screen. I know I need to make them strong and graphical I guess. You got to have a strong eye, strong keen eye towards that stuff and make sure to infuse it with your own vision of things. You want to pay attention to a common thread throughout all these images and whether it's in the typography or the imagery and for these, it's both. There's always a head, the face of a magician and really interesting sans-serif typography. It's always in capital letters and there may be a little bit of script here and there and that's always just good design mixing it up, breaking up the image with different typography. So, you want to take note of that. It seems that all the names are always angled or they're curved or art. This guy Thurston is a master of the angled type and he set the trend it seems. There's a lot with stroke lines around the type, so it's just learning your sources and your inspiration and taking it from there. There's two ways to start design for T-shirt, it can just go down or it can go across. I know I want mine to go across so I'm going to start my sketch like this. If I was going to do a longer type piece, I'd do that. Very simple. When starting your shirt, you want to lay out your basic shapes and how it's all going to flow and you've got to keep in mind, name of the brand that's going to be on the shirt and how it's going to play in with your graphics. So, I know that these boxes are going to be type and I know I want an element here and an element here. Sometimes I draw just a border, just to give me an idea of how it's going to work on a shirt and sometimes it's just playing the logo. I do a lot of quick typography just to get it all working, just so I know all the pieces are there. Then when I'm doing more refined sketches, I get more detail. Taking inspiration from old vintage, crystal ball seers and illusionists and other hypnotists and magicians. So, this is something that has a deep well of inspiration. So, I'm trying to draw from that, but make it work for a T-shirt rather than a poster, which they're normally used for. Just basic idea. I don't really know what I'm doing for colors yet but I know what I'm doing for the basic layout. Working with a type and the image, making sure that I have the logo in a spot that is going to be big and works with the design, not just because it's there but it plays off of what the hypnotist is seeing in the crystal ball. I mean, your thumbnails can be as bad as this but they communicate the idea and how the elements play together and from there you can embellish until it's done. So, here's a more refined layout. I know that I got a little more detail on the face and incorporated the main idea of the design which is the old magician with the cupcake as his turban. I flushed out the topography a bit and you can see, it's just simple lines but here and there you make the type play off each other, like by the a and the c. How they can meet and the curve of this e going around the k are just good examples of where you can make typography more custom and fit to the design. I know that I need to add one more thing to make this design work. A lot of old magicians have an adjective after the name, like Johnny Cupcakes, The Magnificent, or The Astounding and so I'm just going to get the idea of putting Johnny Cupcakes The Great and create in-lines for the type. I'm taking inspiration from all the old magician posters. It doesn't have to be anything complicated. But, just doing custom type feels good and you've more control over it rather than just sticking to typefaces. So, that fits nicely within that space of the c in his head. I'm going to put the logo there. So, three elements, Johnny Cupcakes, the illustration and the logo and how they all interact. It's engaging, it moves your eye around and it's a good layout for a chest graphic print. If this was more landscape, it would be doing it this way. But, turn it this way, makes it so it's not going to go down to pass your belly button. That's going to be right on the chest. Cool. 4. Typography and Illustration: So, before we do anything, we have to set up our dimensions for our shirt. There are two different dimensions that I use on a daily basis for when I start designing a shirt. You have a more vertical. I mean, a more horizontal rectangular shirt design or you can do a vertical design. You have to be able to design for both because you're going to have two different audiences, one that just want something simple longer chess and one that wants a big graphic that just eats up their entire upper torso. These are just the dimensions to start with for a basic shirt design that is within your means because I don't think here coming here to learn how to design ridiculous, over the shoulder, back prints, and Ed Hardy graphics. So, we're sticking with just the simple front graphic t-shirts. So, I'm taking my sketch that I made, it says, magician holding a crystal ball, but his turban is a cupcake. I have the angle type that is prevalent in all those posters. I took some sampling from the posters, but I tried to find little ways to make the type my own, whether it be just the way that the C and the A connect or this little leg on the Y. But it captures the essence of it all, but it's not directly lifted and that is an important part to consider because you don't want directly, just make a magician poster per say for this one, but you want to make it work for a t-shirt and work in your style. So, from here, now I have my sketch, I would normally just start to vectorize it. Taking out the trusty pen tool and you can really start anywhere. For now, I'm going to start with the guy's face and the cupcake. So, I've made my lines and that's going to be my guide point for my pen tool. Making it a thicker stroke and there's a thing tool is I don't really know what color my t-shirt is going to be yet. I know it is going to be on a darker color because all these magicians are mysterious. You want to keep that vibe. So, color is very important when considering your design. So, it's just a matter of filling in the lines that you've already laid out. Okay. So, I'm going to fast-forward to some progress I've made on this. You see that I got this far or actually, I'll show you this one. So, I got to hear and I wasn't really liking the guy's gesture. His face, it was a little too real. You don't really want to wear a realistic looking face on a t-shirt. No one really wants a man's head unless there's something that like it's funny or it's a celebrity or something. So, I re-did it just his head and surrogate of more cartoony kind of fat, almost like a pizza owner face, pizza shop owner. So, I still have my black lines at right here, but on a black background, you can't see them. So, adding these highlights beneath it to give it the shape, but not to totally fill in the color because it's dark. You want some dramatic lighting. So, just going through and just making little shapes that go beneath the outline of it. You can use reference. You can take a shot of you in photo booth. Those are things that I do all the time to get reference imagery for how light falls on certain subjects. It's very invaluable tool. So, where am I now? So, you can fast-forward to where it starts to get at. So, I filled in the turban, gave him some more dimension. I wasn't liking his mustache and I still, I'm trying to figure out the hands. So, where is it? I did it on different mustache version. He is right here. So, I gave him bunch a little lines to give more texture on the mustache because it knows that this shirt was lacking texture, is very flat. There's nothing that was texture. So, given that mustache texture gives a more realistic, but yet still cartoon feeling to it. The hands I did in a photo booth just held something, take a picture, and traced it. Making sure that sticking true to a lighting and that it's still bold. If I didn't have this black outline around it, it look weird against the green on green and everything else is black outline. So, that's why you'll see it right there. One thing I'm doing with this to give it a little more interests is this gradient right here. This gradient is nothing really, but because you have the lightning bolt. So, it's not really part of the action involved, but it's more so of a directing tool that is taking it from the guy's eyes and beam it to your attention to the crystal ball. Also, it changes up other feeling of the shirt where everything's flat, colored, and now, you have this gradient. That's very simple. Any printer doing this should be able to handle that, and not really doing anything special when sending these files off to the printer is because I just have a simple gradient in illustrator, and they're usually pretty good at figuring out, and doing the half-tones. So, a lot of times and t-shirts, there will be the name of the brand, the logo, and sometimes a sane. That's using the toughest part is trying to come up with an original sane that ties in with the shirt or something that doesn't sound too cheesy or corny, but it all depends on the brand that you're designing for. I know that with Johnny Cupcakes, it's all kind of very food related, but it's never about food. That's the whole thing with the brand. So, I know that this is I wasn't really completed. I needed one more thing maybe right here, but up underneath the magician. So, I came up with the phrase, feast your eyes. It's funny. It works with the magician phrasing. Before an attraction like Feast Your Eyes now on Johnny Cupcakes are great. So, I don't need to complete the sentence because it implies the whole idea of the brand like eating, feasting, eyes, he's a hypnotist. So, with this, with typography. This is all custom type and I'm going to show you a trick that I do to make type. You'll see as I go over each one of these letters, they're all just shapes and once you start to figure that out how all these letters are made up, the challenge is much easier. Once you break down each letter into different components you can make some simple typefaces that just have a little bit of personality all depending on certain tweaks you give it. So, I basically just started off with a rectangle. You can draw lines to give your x-height and your cap height, should be about there. So, you have your basic guides and then you just go to town. If I didn't have this A right here. Why is it doing that? I will just setup my rectangle that I'm going to use as my dimension for my Sans Serif and just flip it, rotate it and then you have an A. Yeah, that looks about right? And you can move them apart a little bit to give a little more breathing room in the counterspace. Is probably better because this space will line up nicely with the top of the E. It's all about relations of letters and that is the most important part of how each letter relates to another, like why does this S angle slightly? Because it works with the angle of the A. The same thing with this E. It locks it up better and it makes a little more custom. People will notice that. So, same thing with the T, and then I started to, instead of going flat at the top and just take my rectangle, I angled it a bit to kind of give it some dimension and I like that. So, I started playing around with the other letters taking this U and giving it that chopped bottom and working it with the R, and this is just a Sans Serif type meaning that it doesn't have any, what they call legs or feet next to the type. If I wanted to easily give it a different feel. Now I know the rules I set for myself to do like very Sans Serif all caps type. But this is just to show you if you wanted to do anything that was a little bit more ornate or of a different era, and that's just simply given it some personality on the edges and where the type ends in a way. So, it's basically up to you, but as long as you have your building blocks, you can do whatever you want. If I wanted to make it a little sharper on the edges and sort of a rounded serif I can do that. That kind of gives it like this pretty having look. So, I probably won't stick with that for the final, but it could be used for another T-Shirt. So, I'm sure you'll do a bunch of different versions of type for your shirt and don't throw them all away because a lot of the same pieces can be used for a different shirt. You might not even need to do typography or custom type for your shirt. Here's an example of a shirt that we did for London, the Johnny Cupcakes London opening, and it's not type centric at all but there's a little bit of type in the center and it's a little bit accustomed. I gave a few things to tweak it up a bit. But the whole image relies on the image, so making that very simple and strong and also using the color of the shirt as the color of the bus as the subject matter. So, you also limit on color because that's going to be very important with your printer is the less colors, the less cost. So, I try to use as little colors as I can when designing a T-Shirt. Another thing to notice on the shirt is the dimension of it. Is that since it is just a basic image and is not type heavy, it doesn't rely on the name. Creating the flow of the image to work on a shirt and still brand it. So, keeping the logo on top, because if you're wearing a collar shirt, and this is showing, that placement is very important and because it's at the top is going to be near the collar line. So, if you're wearing a buttoned down shirt over this shirt, people will still see it and it will still be known that you're wearing this brand and it's just more of a flag, I guess. So, making this bus, I guess why it shows the bus is because they are tall and knowing that we needed a tall shirt I thought that it would just look really good on a shirt. So, I chose the bus because of its verticality and I didn't need to say Johnny Cupcakes anywhere because you got the logo up top and the image is a giant cupcake and it's coming right at you. So, that's another thing to keep in mind. Another t-shirt that is heavy on type and illustration was his Martha's Vineyard, a design we did. Let me open that up. It also utilizes another important, I guess technique, is this yellow moon right here and the stars are going to be glow in the dark. So, I'm calling that out for the printer. It's very important and it's going to be a layer on top of a color, so you can do your color. It should mostly be a light color if you're going to do glow in the dark and then the glow in the dark ink will go over that. But this one if I made some custom type and this is just a font, the Martha's Vineyard down below but if I didn't have this black line in it, this inline, it'll be very strong and the rest of the topography is strong but it's thin. It's broken up by black. So, if Martha's Vineyard was just white you could easily read it and it will stand out. So, to make it more cohesive I had that inline to break up that white space a bit more, so it's a little easier on your eyes. Also, a thing to notice with this is that other aha moment I guess in the design. So, you have the lighthouse, it's a fixture on Martha's Vineyard but to give it our twist we put this little chef with a cape up on top, and it kind of makes this little Batman superhero vibe because it was Johnny Cupcakes first time on Martha's Vineyard. So, it's sort of like, "We're coming, watch out, we got the lighthouse on us and we're here to save the day." So, that little icon on top is going to separate this from other shirts on Martha's Vineyard, and so when people go to the store they're going to want this one because it has an iconic landmark and it says Martha's Vineyard but it's got more personality and humor because of the lighthouse and the figure on top. 5. Setting Up for Production: So, hopefully, you're at a point now where your design is finalized. You have all the colors on there with nice file. You can have art everywhere, but as long as any artboard you have your final design. I'm going to show you how to separate the colors and to create different layers and pick certain colors for it. Calling out the Pantones and getting it ready and set up with indicators, and printing technique call outs for the printer so that when they receive the file, they're not calling you for questions or you get the shirt in the mail because the printer was lazy then he call you and it wasn't what you want it to be. So, trying to get everything laid out, so it's a language that you got to speak. So, when they receive this, they understand the language and there's no errors. So, we're almost there. So, thanks for sticking around and I can't wait to see what you guys have come up with. So, where we left off I was working on this hypnotists design, and I have completed it. I still have all of my files and elements, they're all separate. So, we still got a little clean up to do. What you want to do now if you're working in Illustrator to get it ready for the printers is to merge all your colors together so that you can separate them afterwards. How I do that is I highlight my artboard leaving the background where it is. So, you can see there's still black here, all that. Since it's on a black t-shirt, we're going to get rid of all the black. So, the shirt basically just comes down to two colors rather than three. The shirt is the third color. So, I've just locked the back layer. I'm going to highlight it, and I like to do Object, Expand Appearance, and just do that a few times, it'll ask you to expand and fill in a stroke and try it again. Just do that a few times just to make sure, so I think we're good. Then, bringing my tools. Okay. So from here, you're going to want to bring out your Pathfinder tool which is found in Window, Pathfinder, that took away, bring it back up, it's right here. I grab the third option to the right, which is merge. But before I do that, I have this gradient right here that I need to be mindful of. So, it fades to black, it fades into the shirt color. So, the way I isolated it is to make that color totally different from everything else so I can pull it up later. Here's one thing. Just need to be careful of, make sure it's behind some colors. Okay. So, I'm going to highlight everything except for the gradient, unselect that, and then merge it all. So, now everything is one image. All the elements have been merged together, and you can easily highlight them. So, it's all broken down by colors now. So, I can highlight this black because as you can see, if I move it over here, the black is still there. So, I'm going to want to highlight that to get rid of it, there's this one and that one and just press Delete. Actually, I'm going to merge it with- okay. So, delete the blacks because you want black to be your shirt color. So now, you have this, which is two color, but plus three with the blue. Now, with this blue, I need to make it transparent. So, what I do is I make it green, going to take that, and I copied and paste it on top, no, not yet. So, I copy it, and here I make a clipping mask, and I paste it back over it. Once I'm in clipping mask, I can take a gradient and when your clipping mask, black and white, is transparent or opaque. From there, I can adjust to fit what I had before. Just somewhere along there, I want to fade out near the top but still have enough green with everything else. So, that's a good amount. So, then, once I'm in there, I go back into my opacity mask. So, therefore, as you can see, it fades to nothing, to transparent. That's a good place to be. So from here, you're going to want to separate your color layers and you'll pull up the Magic Wand Tool and just highlight whatever your color is, if it's green first. What I do is I Command C, I copy it and delete it, I make a new layer and I just Command F, paste it back on, and then I would do that for the other color too and paste it there. So now, my colors are separated, and I have my shirt color on one layer, and you would label each layer accordingly. So, shirt color black, and then this is like an off-white. The thing that you need here is a Pantone book, and I use the Pantone color bridge coated series which is one of the best to use for t-shirt colors. That's what all the printers go by. So, that is essential if you have your own t-shirt brand or if you're making posters or if you're making t-shirts, it's the universal color language for printers. I have here a file that has the colors on this. So, I did 7487 for the green, I looked up in my Pantone book, and so I label that. Now that you have your design with your colors separated, it's time to put it into the tech pack. The tech pack is another universal language that printers will use as a guide for how they are going to print your shirt. If you have all in the tech pack and you dot your eyes across your tees, anything in the wrong is on the printers. So, it's just a way to ensure that your shirt is coming out the way that you want it to. So, just you take your design, and I have included a tech pack template for you to check out. Basically, you can use this if you're working freelance and send it in to a company, a t-shirt brand; or if it's your own brand, this is a good template to give to your printers and that they can get used to. So, it breaks it down into your shirt design, and you just place your design right here where this little orange circle is that I put for a placeholder. If you have a back print, it's good to give them just a rundown of it. So, the next page was your color specs, and you would write down the shirt color and who makes it. If it's American Apparel or whoever you're using, put that style number there. Each shirt should have its own. If you don't know, if you're just doing it for a client and they have their own way to do it, then just leave it blank. But make sure you have the shirt color there. Then, for your front graphic, you'd fill in how many colors you have. Each one of these is a group. So, I would just use the Direct Selection Tool and highlight those and just fill in the colors as you need them, and this is where you put your Pantone numbers corresponding to each color. So, your front graphic, no, this should be back graphic. Then down here, you'll specify. It's going to be plastisol, light plastisol and discharge. What that is, that is how the printers will print your shirt. In the lesson, I've highlighted what the differences between each one and plastisol is basically printed onto the shirt with a white under base, it's heavier ink, you could feel it more, the colors pop and doesn't fade, so it's good for longevity or if you have a really bright design and it can work on almost any shirt color. Light plastisol similar but it's just a little thinner, it won't be as heavy as plastisol. So, it's also susceptible to fading and discharge is really good if you want a vintage feel or if you want the graphic to just feel like it's part of the shirt and not printed on top of the shirt and what they do is that they replace a dye and they dye it into the shirt. I like plastisol for many reasons just because I like a nice faded feel and it just feels better while wearing it. Discharge only works for darker colors, so it won't work for like a bright blue. That's something to keep in mind and then from here, you would put any special notes, anything like glow in the dark ink or if something is being sewed on or whatever you have that is just beyond the ordinary printing color onto a T-Shirt you'd use, specify whatever you want there. Over here is the men's screen and this is where you would place your graphic just for placement. You need to edit how far you want the graphic to start. 1.5 is a good position for shirts to start at and then here you would specify the sizing. So, from small to large T-Shirt, maybe your graphic is 11.5 inches wide and then from extra-large to 3X you bump it up because. Why you do that if you were to print the small screen onto a 3X shirt, that shirt or that graphic is going to be so small that it's just going to look really awkward. So, you want to adjust the size accordingly to each shirt size and the same thing for woman's except, if you're doing women's cuts, the graphic has to be smaller because of the way that the shirt is cut, the way that it curves on a woman and it's just a lot thinner. So, you adjust it, usually it's like an inch or two less. That's how I adjust mine and then the back design, whatever your design is, this one is say you have like a logo that you put it at the top. This is where you would put it or if you're doing a shirt with a big background, you would blow it up. So, give them a reference size. So, this will probably be around like three inches wide and I would mostly use that as the universal ones. So, I would just make this to 3XL. In your inside design, some people have tags or some people have a printed label and if say you're doing a collaboration with a company or you want to give a little more information about your garment, you don't want to buy tags, you can print on the on the inside of the shirt right below the seam. Then you just specify how wide that is, put your art there just like all the other ones and your other if you have any kind of special thing, maybe there's something hidden beneath the shirt or this is where you put a sleeve design, whatever you want, just specify at a text layer and write print on right sleeve for guys and girls. Just give them an outline of what you want. So, from here, I'm going to take my design and I'm going to place it into the tech pack. It doesn't matter how big it is or how big your file is because the size is going to be determined by what you write not the image that you place. So, don't worry about that and then I also have a back design for this, for Johnny Cupcakes, we'd like to give it a little customization, make it fun and make the logo on the back of the shirt relate to the front. So, I put that there for placement and then I would just go ahead and delete these and just carry this graphic over, give a rough estimate and then take the back design, it's not going to be that big. So, maybe, this will be about 375 instead because I want the logo to be around two and a half inches wide and we don't have an inside print so I can just leave that and we don't have any extra printing our sleeve design. So, it's pretty basic and then you go ahead and fill in the colors and I just take the eyedropper tool and I would pick the two colors I'm using, back graphic is one color, inside graphic, none. So, we have off white here and what do we put for that? We have 7487. Also with discharge, the colors won't be as true to the pantone number. So, if you're looking in your pantone swatch, it's probably going to be 15% less of that color when you're doing discharge but plastisol should be most of the time 100% true to pantone color. We're going to put it on black. I can delete that because I don't have any special notes. If you're doing light plastisol, just check that off but since we're doing discharge, I'm leaving that black and so everything looks good to me. You can go ahead and fill in your name. This is me, and the company is for Johnny Cupcakes. This is the Hypnotist shirt, and it is for Spring 2013. So then from here, you can go ahead and just copy and paste that on each page. This is just for reference in case you will to print this out, and each page got lost. So, it's a little tedious, but it's what we do. Okay. You've got your shirt ready to go, and then just save this out, and send it to the printer in a Illustrator or a PDF file. They should be able to grab everything, and everything should be secure. Then, you designed your shirt in Photoshop or you did a more hand-drawn approach, and you didn't make it in Illustrator. Then, there's really nothing different, you're just using a different program. You'll still tech pack it the same way, and you still separate your colors the same way you did in an Illustrator, labeling each layer to their color. I don't have my Pantone book on me right now, so I'm just labeling them yellow and red, and when I have that, I will adjust it. So, this is almost ready to go. I put each color on a different layer. But as you'll see here, there's some weird pixel color drawing effect happening. That usually happens with Photoshop because you're dealing with pixels rather than vectors. So to fix that, we're going to have to do a technique called Trapping. Trapping is basically expanding one color region over into another, so that there is less chance of misregistration and effects like these happening in your final print. So, what I will do is, since the yellow is going to be printed on top of the white, because usually you print your lighter colors first, I would highlight the yellow, and I know that I don't need this, so I'm going to get rid of that. I don't need this because I really just want that circle of the yellow. That well yolky-looking yellow circle. So, now I have this area selected, I'm going to go back into the white layer. I'm going to go to Select, Modify, and Contract, and that's going to do is going to shrink the pixel radius a bit more into the white. So, it's going to take this and bring it in more, so we do that you'll see. It's not against the edge. It's just three pixels in. So, I can take a white brush and select the color, and now as you see I'm painting in that layer a bit. That's only going to paint those three pixels because those little marching ants are going to stop it from painting inside the yellow. So, as you see, this is what it was, and this is it, so it trapped it a little bit, and now there's no drawing effect. Pretty cool. So, in this part, I'm going to show you this shirt render that I've created for you guys to mockup your shirts on, to show the client, or to create a line sheet for your own brand. To really get the impact of how your shirt is going to look when it's finally printed onto the shirt. So, you just take your graphic, and copy and paste that into Photoshop. Over here, I have created this layer called artwork, and you want to just paste it above that, and then you'll have to adjust the size accordingly. So, obviously, that doesn't look right, so over here is a layer called shirt color, and that's locked in an easy way, or it has a transparent pixel. So, the best way to chance a color on this to make it really easy is to use your slider or find a color, and then do Alt or Option Delete, and that changes the color in a transparent locked layer. Then, I can make any color I want, try it out to see what works for it. But, I know since I use a dark color as part of the image, it needs to be printed on dark color, so anything lighter won't work. It could go on a dark blue, but not really feeling that. A navy might work or a deep purple, but it won't work on red. It won't work on yellow, obviously. So, I know it will work on black. If you make it alloy black it might be too dark, so you could just lower the opacity just a bit, or bring up the colors. If you're doing this for a client, ask them what kind of shirts they're printing their stuff on and if they can supply you with a color list. Because if not, you can go online or ask what manufacturer they're using. Usually on that website you can find their color numbers, or how many colors they have in that style, and you can just sort of create your own swatches from that. I work a lot with American Apparel, so they supply a good list of colors that you can check out. So, if you then want to take the shirt and put it into a bigger document, you can take out the background, so it's transparent and crop it to just have the front of the shirt, but it also supply the back of the shirt for you to check out as well. Then, you just use that for your own shirts, and play around with it. I know it will help your design a little bit more. Sometimes, I place the design and they're halfway done, so I can understand where it's relating on the shirt. If the type looks really weird at that angle on a shirt, then I can know beforehand, before I go and finish it and realized it's a crappy shirt, I can adjust it, so it looks a little better. So, this rendering file is very helpful when you're stuck in a direction for your shirt, or you're looking at your line sheet, and you're saying that you really need a blue color in your Spring line, then you can design accordingly to that. 6. Explore Design on Skillshare: way.