Other popular templates include the up-and-coming “Some (Zoops) (Zip), Real (Zoops) (Zap)” format, or the “Some People Call Me (Zoop), But the People Who Matter Call Me (Zap).”
Need some template inspiration? There are some great services that will generate designs for you, like the Keepcalm-o-matic, which produces (what else?) custom “Keep Calm And Carry On” graphics.
Keep in mind, while you’re allowed to be inspired by other designs you see either on Teespring or elsewhere, it’s important to ensure your work is completely original. To use another person’s intellectual property without their permission would qualify as infringement, and can have serious legal consequences.
While plagiarism is big no-no, creative appropriation, like Che Guevaras tees and Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” tee, are a different story. You too can create such images by mastering the Threshold Effect in Adobe Illustrator. You can apply the Threshold effect in Adobe Illustrator to photographs or images which exist in the public domain or to which you own the rights (Note: Shepard Fairey did NOT own the rights to that Obama image and faced an enormous lawsuit as a result).
To apply this effect, open a photograph in Illustrator. Navigate to: Window > Image Trace > Click on the Image > Mode: Black and White or other ones you can experiment with. Play with the advanced settings, add more paths and corners for more detail. Remove paths and corners for a fuzzier image. If you find settings that produce an effect you like, you can save the presets so you apply it again for a different image. Click “expand” to turn the image into a vector file. Now you can add it to a shirt. Check out this video for a step-by-step tutorial.
Designers may sometimes use protected imagery from existing brands when creating their own original artwork. This is 100% legal, so long as the new artwork contains substantial enough changes as to not infringe upon the copyright or trademark associated with the image.
You must be exceedingly careful about this. Please see our Copyright section if you have any doubts about the legality or validity of your design.
To come up with new niched designs, consider mixing together different elements like flags, text, images, maps, and emblems. You can often find flags or state seals available for use on Wikipedia. State outlines are also available in our designer via the Noun Project. If you want the files to work from, visit their site.
Transferring Complex Designs to a Tee
This chapter will bring you up to speed with the nuances behind preparing high-quality designs for screen printing. In the screen printing process, it is common for colors to slightly shift, edges to morph, and other small changes to occur. The below tips and strategies will help ensure your screen printed designs come out exactly as you have designed them.
When designing, make sure your colors are contained in the Pantone Color Matching System. This way, designers and printers can “color match” specific colors by a specific number and ensure that your design will look exactly the same at every place it is produced, regardless of the equipment used. Technically, while using Pantone could potentially limit your palette, the company’s 1000+ colors makes this highly unlikely.
Remember, our designer only allows a maximum of 10 colors on a white shirt, and 8 on a colored shirt, due to the limitations of screen printing. Photographs can contain thousands of colors, even when they look grey or monotone the gradients and shading can cause them to contain many many tones.
Vectorize your files to make sure that the printed versions come out exactly as you designed them. You can vectorize your art or designs in Inkscape or Vector Magic by tracing them. For many designs the difference is negligible, but when the quality of your image is a top priority this is an important step to take. For a tutorial on how to go from a raster to a vector image, check out this video.