This is my favorite kind of design — subtle, simple, white on black background.
There’s a funny design I once saw that I now spent 15 minutes searching for. Here it is:
It makes me think about how I approach designing for t-shirts.
A few years back I was renting an apartment with my brother. I ordered pizza at noon and knocked on his door to tell him. He woke up and said “wake me when it arrives” and went back to sleep.
A while later when I was designing t-shirts I vaguely remembered that. I drew a sleeping dog and experimented with different texts and finally shortened it to this:
Now I write down everything that catches my attention or is even remotely funny – you never know what might come in useful.
Today I wanted to show you the most popular design that I ever made. Here it is:
I don’t know how many designs I’ve made in my life – a few hundred probably. This remains my best selling one.
Doesn’t look like much, does it? It’s really quite simple. My friends don’t believe me when I tell them that they too could design something and sell on a t-shirt. But as you can see it’s absolutely possible.
The important thing is to just have an idea.
This text is not about dogs.
When I first started drawing things and selling them on t-shirts and such, I spent way too much time endlessly improving my complicated designs. And then after maybe a week of work I would have one finished design and I would submit it to various websites. And it would disappear, no one would like it, buy it, no one would pay any attention. Then I would repeat the whole process: make a design for days, obsessing over tiny details and colors, submit, and most often than not, get no response and no interest.
Even after being in this business for years, I still can’t predict what people will like. That’s why it’s so important to not get too attached to any artwork, but keep making them, preferably fast, keep submitting, and some of those designs will get printed, often the ones you least expect.
Among my 10 most popular designs, 4 are designs that I thought no one would like. But I said to myself: “OK, you worked on it for hours, you might just as well publish it.”
So remember — quantity trumps quality. Draw a lot and publish everything, you never know what will be popular.
T-shirt designs are sort of like cartoons. Everything is more inspiring when said by animals.
If you have a project that is on your to-do list, don’t wait, act now.
How skilled a designer do you have to be to make a drawing and sell it on a t-shirt?
Have a look at this ridiculous design that I made a few weeks ago:
The idea is key. I thought about a sly cat and drew the simplest version that I could think of:
- I used only one color.
- The cat doesn’t even have whiskers, but it’s still clear that it’s a cat.
- Actually, it’s not even the whole cat, just the head!
Now for the text — this is always the difficult part. I try to choose something that adds a story to the design. Here, the cat hears an idea and likes it very much, even though it’s going to end up in trouble.