Epic List of T-Shirt Design Software You Should Explore

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So you’ve got a couple of nifty ideas for some t-shirt designs. If only you can materialize them on screen- you’d be on your way to making a million bucks!

But you’re not the best graphics person in the bunch, so where and how do you even begin?

If you’re reading this article, chances are you know how many t-shirt design software exists, and you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by these choices.

But don’t worry, because I’ve compiled an epic list below and listed their pros and cons to help you answer all the questions you have.

Hopefully by the end of it, you’ll be one step closer to making the right move.

And since this is an ever-updating list of t-shirt design software, I’ve divided the article into paid and free versions. I’ve also included a section for cloud-based software only, so you’re bound to find something here.

The best paid t-shirt design software that should be on your radar.

Not only do you have amazing ideas but you also want to learn the skills and techniques to bring them to life.

If you’re an aspiring artist and your focus is to become an established designer beyond t-shirts, getting one of these paid software is really the best way to go. You’ll be able to learn the basic function and get to know the design tool inside out, all while executing your t-shirt project – in my opinion this is the best way to dive in and hone your skills!

Adobe Illustrator

  • Industry-leading vector-based graphic design software
  • Perfect for creating custom designs, icons, brand logos and detailed illustrations
  • Comes with a step-by-step user guide and lots of tutorials for beginners
  • Includes hundreds of inspirational design ideas.

Adobe Photoshop

  • Uses Bitmap files
  • Perfect for photo and image editing
  • Includes learning guides and resources for design newbies.

Affinity Designer

  • Vector-based software
  • Supports a wide variety of file types
  • Great color management, including RGB, LAB, CMYK and ICC
  • Free updates for version one of the software.

CorelDRAW Standard 2020

  • Vector-based software
  • User-friendly and easy to navigate
  • Great for creating new images or improving existing ones
  • Features lots of learning guides and tutorials.

Corel PaintShop Pro

  • Vector-based software
  • Design and edit custom artwork
  • Edit and enhance photos with clever AI
  • Huge range of learning and support tools available
  • Includes lots of templates to help and inspire you.

Corel PhotoImpact X3

  • Vector-based software
  • Great for photo editing and creating digital artwork
  • Fast and easy for beginners to learn
  • Share your artwork creations once they’re complete.

Graffix Pro Studio

  • Vector-based software
  • Created specifically for custom t-shirt design and sale
  • Allows you to create and sell in bulk
  • Includes tools to help you manage orders and invoices.

Procreate

  • Draw, paint, design or animate in the Procreate online art studio
  • Includes a wide range of tools, features and clever editions to produce high quality custom artwork
  • Features over 200 brush options and an impressive color management tools.
  • Also includes clever ‘gesture’ features to make navigating the software quick and simple.

The best free t-shirt design software to wet your beak with.

Something is telling you to walk down the creative path, but you’re unsure of what to do. One thing’s certain – you don’t have any cash to put down or pay for a subscription.

Fortunately, there are free tools you can start using today. And even though the software listed below are free, it doesn’t mean they aren’t packed with features that rival the paid ones above. In my opinion, this is a fantastic way to kickstart your creative journey.

appypie

  • Vector-based graphics software that doesn’t need you to be an expert graphic designer to use
  • Straight-forward software is easy to navigate, meaning you don’t have to worry about a steep learning curve
  • Create a whole range of unique designs and images with lots of accessible tools and features.

GIMP

  • Open source vector-based software
  • Allows you to design custom artwork, re-touch photos and mass produce image renders
  • Lots of learning tools and resources that are free to use
  • Libraries of design inspiration available – with more added everyday.

Gravit Designer

  • Vector-based software
  • Includes lots of different design templates and artwork libraries
  • Great for creating custom designs, logos and icons
  • Free access to a wide range of learning tools – including an official YouTube channel.

Figma

  • Online tool for graphic designing
  • Create unique designs, graphics, logos and icons
  • Intuitive and clever auto layout makes image re-sizing and stretching quick and easy.

ibisPaint

  • Free app for both Android and IOS mobile devices
  • Gives you the freedom to paint and draw your own creations on a mobile device
  • Includes hundreds of different features to help you turn your creative visions into reality.

InkScape

  • Open source vector-based software
  • Huge library of design templates and artwork ideas to inspire you
  • A massive range of learning tools, tips and tutorials.

Klex

  • Vector-based graphics software by the creators of Gravit Designer
  • Easy to navigate and quick to learn
  • Includes thousands of different design options and tools
  • Create or customize your designs.

Krita

  • Open-source vector-based paint program
  • Simple to learn, easy to use
  • Includes a range of features such as brushes, brush stabilizers and text panels
  • Also includes a clever animation tool.

MediBang Paint

  • Free digital paint and comic creation design software
  • Includes a range of editing features such as paint, color adjustments, highlights, shadows and finishing touches
  • Collaborate with fellow designers by using MediBang Paint’s group project feature option.

Paint.NET

  • Includes a range of tools for image and photo editing, including special effects
  • Quick and simple for beginners to learn
  • Easy to navigate
  • Free automatic software updates
  • Access to a range of community learning guides and tutorials.

Photopea

  • Free online photo editor
  • Create new image designs
  • Edit existing images
  • Save files in a range of different formats.

Serif DrawPlus

  • Vector drawing program
  • Includes draw, shape customization, text and paint features, plus many more
  • Create custom designs for web and print
  • A great option for beginners with no previous design experience.

SketchBook

  • Quick, simple and easy to learn drawing tool
  • Includes lots of drawing tools, from pencils, markers and inks and more than 190 customizable brush options
  • Clever ‘Scan Sketch’ tool uses your mobile device camera to scan drawings and import them into SketchBook on a transparent background, so you can complete your ink and color work
  • Available for free on all devices.

Sumopaint

  • Online image creation, photo editing and drawing tool
  • Includes a huge range of tools such as shapes, brushes, lighting effects, reflections, mosaics and many more
  • Access to a massive artwork gallery
  • Use on or offline
  • Automatic software updates.

SVG-edit

  • Open-source vector-based software
  • Create and edit artwork and imagery
  • Web-based software means you don’t have to install software.

Vectr

  • Vector-based software program
  • User-friendly and easy for beginners to learn
  • Web app and desktop versions available.

Xara Xtreme

  • Linux based vector graphics tool
  • Great for creating and editing artwork, drawing and photography
  • Quick and easy for beginners to learn
  • Lots of online guides and tutorials available to use
  • Includes unlimited undo options.

The best cloud-based T-shirt design software you can make money from instantly.

The best ideas are often simple and easy to understand. The trend for the past few years seem to be bold, textual designs that leave an impression. The difference is in the execution of it.

So if you have a solid idea that works and need something quick to start churning out t-shirts, one of these cloud based t-shirt design software below will be perfect for you. Typically equipped with a wide variety of clipart, numbers, fonts and templates, these online t-shirt makers may not give you the power to render professional graphics, but what they offer in simplicity is pretty much all you need.

There are tons in the market, but here are my top 5:

Designhill

  • Contains an extensive library of templates that are easy-to-edit
  • Designhill Studio is pre-loaded with a range of icons, images, graphics, shapes, and fonts
  • You can even hire a designer to help with your artwork

Uberprints

  • Create your own t-shirts, tanks, hoodies and more using the interactive online design studio.
  • Multiple template themes from funny to vacation to sports to events

Rushordertees

  • Perhaps one of the oldest companies in this space – 18 years!
  • Huge library of design templates to help get those creative juices flowing!
  • One of the few that has a live chat agent to help you with issues

Design a shirt

  • Free online custom t-shirt design creator is simple to use for newcomers to the design world
  • Just pay for the products you purchase
  • Get design inspiration from the online idea gallery
  • Quick and easy delivery of your products.

Placeit

  • Includes thousands of ready-to-use design templates to inspire your creations – with more being added every day
  • An user-friendly and easy to navigate system means its easy for beginners and experts alike
  • Ideal for t-shirt design.

So where do you go from here?

 

 

Congratulations on making it this far! Even though you understand a little bit more now, here are some scenarios to think of to help you get over the final hurdle.

You have ambitions to set up and build a business designing and selling t-shirts.

You might want to look into a cloud-based t-shirt studio. It’s relatively easy to setup and test the market. Use your time and effort on marketing and finding ways to promote your t-shirt designs.

You keep coming up with killer ideas for t-shirts and want to take immediate action.

Look into free t-shirt design software like GIMP and dive right in. Get your first idea on screen and re-evaluate. When you start testing multiple tools, you’ll quickly learn what you like and don’t like.

You know the basics of graphic designing and want to elevate your skills. T-shirts are just the beginning.

Most paid software give 2-weeks or a month in trial sessions. Take advantage of this and choose your weapon. To become a professional, start using what the pros are using. Having a t-shirt design project on hand means you’re learning as you go – which is the most practical way of learning!

When picking out t-shirt design software, consider these three tips:

Tip 1: Make sure it’s user friendly

If the software you’re using is difficult to understand and navigate, it’ll ruin your entire experience. This is why it’s important to test multiple software before you make a decision.

Tip 2: Make sure there’s plenty of support

Most of the software listed above will have groups of people using them – you need to find out where they all hang out in you want to get additional help and support. Check out Facebook groups, sub-Reddits, Slack channels and even the official forums from the software maker. You should also make sure there are plenty of learning tools like video tutorials and step by step guides to help you get started.

Tip 3: Make sure there’s plenty of inspiration to feed your creative juices

Even the top creatives need inspiration! Make sure that the design software you choose have plenty of access to templates, artwork galleries, downloadable files, etc. These days there’s no shortage of sites with amazing vectors and bitmap files for you to build on.

The best places for inspiration and free downloads to kickstart your T-shirt designs

Vecteezy

  • Allows you to edit and download millions of free vector artwork, stock photography and videos
  • User-friendly and easy to learn image editor
  • Images fully licensed for commercial and personal use.

Freepik

  • millions of free graphic resources.
  • vectors, stock photos, psd, icons – all that you need for your creative projects.

Vectorstock

  • vector only images, graphics, icons & illustrations, no bitmap images
  • available for download royalty-free
  • top graphic designers and illustrators from around the world contribute to the growing library of vectors

Freevector

  • thousands of high quality and free vectors, icons, wallpapers, illustrations and brand logos.
  • hundreds of new free vector files are added monthly
  • access as a free or paid member

All-free-download

  • contains a mix of free downloads – vectors, photos, web templates, icons, PSD, fonts, wallpapers, Photoshop brushes and patterns
  • new designs published daily

PNGtree

  • Graphic Resources For Free Download
  • Royalty Free PNG Images, Vectors, Backgrounds, Templates, Text Effect
  • Millions of royalty free png images, 500+ Updated daily Combined into your creative ideas

Vector4free 

  • free vector graphics shared by the most talented and generous designers from all over the world
  • most are free for personal use, with each artist having different terms of use so be sure to read the fine print before using commercially

Freevectors

  • Huge collection of free vector art and graphics
  • a fun community of vector lovers who share free vector graphics
  • All images are royalty free for use in personal and commercial projects

Wrapping up

I’m glad you stopped by and hope you’ve found this list of t-shirt design software useful.

If you’re starting out, don’t be put off by the steep learning curve. We’re all fortunate enough to be living in the information age where there’s lots of support from a global community of fellow designers who can help and guide you along the way.

And whatever decision you make, it needs to be right for you. Don’t fall into the trap of picking the design software with the most features or the most popular.

Pick one that does what you need it to do but that also lets you have lots of creative fun along the way!

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