01 Jun Choosing Colors for Custom Tees
Whether they’re for a sports team, a school event, an organization’s retreat, church conference, weekend race, family reunion, or something else, t-shirts are one of the most commonly created pieces of promotional clothing. Screen printed t-shirts are easy to produce, economical, and can be made relatively quickly in large batches.
When worn for a particular function they quickly identify participants, and they become a piece of nostalgia afterwards. Of course, once you’ve gone through the time and expense of printing the tees, you want them to be something that people will actually want to wear. One of the key elements in making a good-looking screen printed shirt is to carefully choose your colors. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Use your logo for inspiration. If you’re screen printing shirts for employees, or an event sponsored by a particular company or organization, take your cues from the company logo. Using the brand colors in your design will be a reflection of the organization and give the entire design a cohesive look.
Less is more. Think about using only one or two colors. One bold color that contrasts with the background will make your design easy to see. If you’re using more than one color, consider picking complementary colors. Complementary colors will be located directly across from each other on the color wheel. If you’re using a dark tee, choose light or pastel printing. If the shirt is a lighter color, dark printing will be the easiest to see.
Think beyond white. Most of the time when people think about screen printing shirts, they automatically pick a white shirt as their canvas. White is a classic, and you can’t really go wrong with it, but if you want to step outside the box just a bit, consider reversing your color scheme. That is, if your organization’s colors are purple and white, and you intended to screen print the image in purple on a white shirt, think about reversing it. A white image on a purple t-shirt is much more striking.
Keep your graphics in mind. If you will be including a particular graphic, let’s say a photograph or a contest-winning drawing, pick up one of the darker colors from the image for the writing on a light-colored shirt. If the tee will be dark, choose one of the lighter or brighter colors from the image.
Ask for a sample print. Not all computer screens are calibrated the same. They’re also backlit, t-shirts are not. When printed, colors may look darker, less vibrant, or have a different hue than they did on your monitor. If you aren’t able to get a sample shirt from your printer, at least print your design on paper to get a better idea of how it looks offscreen.
Enlist the help of a professional. Even if you feel confident in your color choices, it’s always a good idea to run it by someone else. They can let you know what you did that’s working and maybe suggest something you hadn’t thought of to make your design really pop. If you’re stuck at the beginning of a project, enlist help sooner.