Top T-Shirt Design Tips – 5 Secrets For Perfect T Shirt Text (Plus One Bonus!)


If your funny t-shirts are turning out funny-looking, the problem might be your text. Irrespective of how awesome your cool t shirt designs are when you imagine them, if your text is poorly designed, your shirts will always look unprofessional. But don’t fear! With these 5 tricks of professional graphic designers, you can quickly turn those amateur custom t shirts into perfect and polished works of t shirt art.

Whenever choosing a font for your t shirt text, ensure that you pick one which supports your message. For example, if you’re designing a funny t shirt, pick a font that has a funny feel to it. If you’re designing a sexy t shirt, pick a font that has a sexy feel to it. And if you’re designing a t shirt for a critical, professional law firm, you probably don’t want to use that font with letters shaped like kittens.

While this could sound like wise practice, many new t shirt designers and would-be t shirt entrepreneurs skip this step and just pick any standard font they may have lying around. Unfortunately, it’s obvious in their results; what could have been a fun t shirt design eventually ends up being boring and amateur-looking. If you’re careful to decide on a font that represents this content of your words, however, you can avoid this fate and your shirts will always be one step ahead of your competition.

All of the time, when font text is typed into a computer program, the spaces involving the letters and words are a little uneven, and often a touch too wide. This extra and uneven space not just makes your text look a little awkward and unprofessional, in addition it helps it be slightly more challenging to see because the words don’t visually hold together as units. Even though the viewer doesn’t notice i T Shirts For Women t, a person’s eye and mental performance have to work a little harder and that extra little bit of difficulty gives the viewer a subconscious feeling of unease.

Tracking has regarding adjusting the common spacing of letters across entire words, sentences, or selected ranges of letters. By adjusting the tracking, the t shirt artist can either decrease the common spacing between all of the letters in the selected range (making the spacing “tighter”), or else increase the common spacing (“opening up” the text), based on what’s needed. Because the raw, unadjusted spacing varies from font to font, you’ll have to choose which is necessary for your particular t shirt design. But a good trick utilized by professional t shirt designers is to start by tightening the font an excessive amount of (so the letters are too close together) and then slowly increasing the tracking until the words look right.

Kerning is much like tracking, but with one important difference: rather than adjusting the common spacing across a complete selection of letters, kerning only adjusts the spacing between two letters at a time. This allows a larger level of control than tracking, and allows a t shirt artist to fine tune the spacing between single letter pairs that still don’t look quite right, even after the text has been tracked.

After the letters of a t shirt slogan have now been properly tracked and kerned, the next important step is to modify the spacing involving the words. Adjusting word spacing is much like tracking and kerning — in reality, it’s done the same way as kerning and is truly just kerning the spaces between words as opposed to letters — however the guideline for proper spacing between words is a little different, and so word spacing is a whole step unto itself.

Generally, the best practice when adjusting spacing between words is always to visualize the width of a lowercase “L” in the font that’s being used, and then make the area between each word that wide. Which means the width of the spaces between words is likely to be distinctive from font to font (because how big is the lowercase “L” is distinctive from font to font), but it addittionally means that the spacing is likely to be custom created for the font in question. Creating the correct level of space between words will support the effects of your tracking and kerning, thus helping your words to keep together better as separate visual units and improving readability.

Another place that new t shirt designers often go wrong is in the leading, or “spacing between lines of text.” Leading — which can be pronounced such as the metal “lead” as opposed to such as a “leader” taking people somewhere — extends back to the occasions of the printing press, each time a person would actually use small, thin bits of lead to create vertical space involving the lines of type. These days, of course, computers handle the leading for us. Unfortunately, as it pertains to t shirt text, they often handle it poorly.

When a t shirt slogan is typed into a computer program, it often begins with a touch too much space involving the lines. It will help make the text look very “fonty” as opposed to natural, in addition to making the t shirt design (and the designer) seem very amateur. With only a tiny change to the leading, however, that same t shirt text can be made to check very tight and professional.

With leading, the target is to create enough space involving the lines of text so they fit nicely together and don’t hinder one another, without creating so much space that they look artificial or become difficult to read. A person’s eye should manage to easily jump visually from line to another location without losing its place, and without the effort at all. While there is no real guideline for the correct level of space between lines, a t shirt designer who begins adjusting the leading will begin to learn to “feel” when it’s right. Generally, the simplest way to start is always to decrease the quantity of leading — tightening the area involving the lines — and then keep tweaking it down or down until it feels visually balanced. When it seems natural and reads smoothly, your t shirt slogan is one step closer to the big time.

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