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T-Shirt Design Software | Making T-Shirt Graphics for DTG Printing

If you’re just starting with DTG, you might be unsure about a few things…

Maybe you have an artist friend willing to help you with artwork, or you plan to source it out.

During this video, you’ll see Jerid use Adobe Photoshop, one of the most popular graphics applications used as a T-Shirt design software. (But you could also use free software, like Gimp).

Whether you’re creating the graphics yourself or editing other people’s graphics, here are a few tips to help you get started:

Keep it simple

The details of the image are important but don’t try to fit everything in the image. Often the most simple images or logos have the greatest impact. This is also true for colors.

Choose the right colors

What color of blank you’re printing on matters. But also choosing complementary colors.

Know your audience

Whether you’re creating your image or sourcing them, who is your target market? Is the design something they’ll want to wear? Do a little market research and write down who your audience is, what they like, and what other brands they might wear.


When you’re looking on the internet for images most of those images are 72 pixels per inch (ppi). In the printing world, we use dots per inch (dpi).

Looking at a file in Photoshop it may appear very pixelated, because, for example, it’s only 3 inches wide (216 pixels) with a resolution of 72 ppi. This is considered a low-resolution file. For printing, you want and need a higher resolution.

If we increase the size of the photo we start to see all the pixels. What we don’t want to do is distort the pixels. Photoshop tries to interpret the pixels the best that it can. However, because it’s such a low-resolution file and you’re trying to increase the file size, it’s going to look distorted.

In Photoshop we can go into the image information and change the ppi from 72 to 300. We can also increase the image size from 3 inches wide to 10 inches. Comparing the original image and the new one, Photoshop does the best it can to fill in the pixels.

On the other side, if you start off with a high-resolution image and size it down, it stays crisp and defined.


If you’re creating an image with just text, you can start a new file and create it at the size you’d like to print. For example, you may want an image 10 inches wide, with 300 ppi.

You also will likely want a transparent background for your design. Once you create the new file, you’ll see a checkerboard pattern to indicate there’s no color in the background.  To the right of the screen, you’ll also see a layer’s pallet, that shows layer one with a checkerboard pattern.

To create the text, select the text option from the left-hand menu and click someone on your file area. From there you simply need to type in your first word.

To change the