How to Get Designs Done Cheap – Graphic Tee Coach

How to Get Designs Done Cheap

I would love to sell t-shirts, but I don't know Photoshop and I don't have the time to learn!  I've tried but it's too difficult!

I know! I've heard this before, many times.  So, you have three choices:

1) Quit and don't sell t-shirts, don't earn extra income, and don't enjoy the nice things that extra income can do for you.

2) Learn Photoshop, GIMP, or  Maybe you can... maybe it's too frustrating... maybe you don't have the eye for it.  It's okay. 

3) Outsource your designs! This is the easiest way to do it. You can use a service like, or I've used these in the past and they can be quite effective, but I recommend T-Shirt Design Services. (Yes, of course I get a royalty if you use their service, but I use it too... and I wouldn't recommend it if I didn't.) There are a couple of reasons I use it. Firstly, because all they do is t-shirts. You don't need to find a t-shirt designer... that's what they do! Secondly, they are very inexpensive. Design work for as low as $5/hour depending on the credit package you purchase.

So, they're low cost... this is good. But I said "cheap"... this is important. Especially if you're just getting your business started you'll want to get lots of designs onto your site without spending much money. So, how do we get t-shirt designs done for really cheap? Read on...

Set up an Account

First of all... go to T-Shirt Design Services and click get started if you haven't already.  And add a small amount of credit so you can comfortably try the service.  Once you're set up, come back here and read on.  I'll explain how to maximize the value you get from T-shirt Design Services.

Have Some Designs Created

Okay, I've worked with many graphic designers over the years and it's easy to spend more money than you want.  Here's now *not* to do that:

First, figure out what kind of t-shirt you want.  Is it a one off design?  Or is it a series of t-shirts based on a template?  Templates are a great way to start because the designer can do one design and base several shirts off that single design.

Here's what to do:

1) Find or take a photo of a shirt similar to what you want designed for you.

2) Look at it.  Is it terribly detailed?  Will it take a lot of manual drawing?  Can existing free clip art likely be found that can be modified to work?  Is it text only? (If so, it's really quick and easy!) Can it be a template? (E.g. I heart cupcakes, I heart pie, I heart etc... if so, you can create a lot of shirts for very cheap!)

3) If it passes the smell test in terms of ease of design, create a design request and attach the image (or a link to it if it's on the web). You'll want to be as specific as possible about your desired result to prevent any back and forth. If you have multiple examples that you can include as links in your design request, that's great.

4) Explain in the notes for the designer:

  1. that you want a similar shirt - simplified if possible.
  2. any differences that you want.
  3. that if it will take a lot of time to let you know.

5) Submit the design request.  If it's a template type design, then ask for a sample before all the shirts are done.

In closing, keep in mind that the most important factor in selling shirts is:

Having a large number of shirts for sale.  

The more you have, the more you will sell.  The more time you spend thinking about the perfect shirt, or the perfect design, the fewer shirts you will be selling.  Load shirts on your site!  Which reminds me... if you don't have a site yet... let us set it up for you!


Steve got into the t-shirt business several years ago and has never looked back. He is now able to pass on his knowledge and experience through Graphic Tee Coach, including how to design winning tees, marketing your shop, and sustaining a strong profitable business in the long run.

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