Making a stunning new design for a hoodie need not be challenging if you have a toolbox of professional tips from designers from all over. We’ve taken the liberty of crystallizing the best design tips for people who are interested in creating custom-print clothes, and have summed them up here:
Do some research first
You may have a great idea in mind, but if you really want your design to shine, you need to do some research. You can look at modern art, or even existing shirt designs from different designers to get some inspiration on what you want to design. There is literally a treasure trove of excellent references online, and they are there for the taking.
When you do find a design that resonates with you, don’t just take inspiration from the visual aspects of the design. Ask yourself: why does this design make so much sense to me? Why is this design attractive? Get into the technical aspects of what was done and figure out how the designer did it. Pay attention to the smallest visual details, and make sure that you tie up these details with the individual effects that they achieve on the design when viewed.
It would be a good idea to make a list at this point, because you are essentially studying design, and all these bits of insights that you pick up from other designers will eventually distill and make you a better designer yourself.
Learn color theory
Color theory revolves around the relationship of colors with each other and how colors create specific emotional and visual effects when combined. While a single color may elicit specific effects on people, when combined with other colors, you will get a different response, and you have to be aware of these effects when using them on hoodie designs. Essentially, what you need to learn are the following:
– What primary colors go together harmoniously?
– What secondary colors harmonize easily?
– How can you combine secondary colors with primary colors?
– What kinds of colors will create an upbeat and energetic image?
– What kinds of colors can bring the energy down and make people more reflective or contemplative?
– What color combinations are considered bold and experimental?
By going into color theory, the permutations of your designs will become endless. And you will no longer be limited to just manipulating the thickness and placements of lines. You can use colors to your advantage, which is a huge development, because colors create an immediate impact on people when they’re seen.
Imitate and then innovate
Art itself is based on imitation or mimesis. The Greeks referred to imitation as the foundation of learning of humans – it’s how we learn things in the first place. So as a beginning designer it is perfectly fine to imitate other designs if they resonate with you.
But on the same page, we do not stop with merely imitating. We imitate principles of design because we are also capable of innovating on them. When you innovate something, you add things to the mix. You remix the original to make it yours, so the final render of the design will have your DNA in it.
So do not ever be afraid of imitating, because it will speed up the learning process and will allow you to continue moving even if you have just started.
Your own style will emerge during the process of innovating and on the same token, you must not be afraid of letting loose your capacity to innovate on a current design. In short, you need to give yourself the freedom to express yourself and not fear that what you are thinking of as a good design is not worthy of being rendered on the canvas.
Being unconventional means thinking out of the box. You probably don’t want to create a forgettable design. We design hoodies for instant recall. We want our design to create a permanent impression on people when people see it. How can you be more unconventional? Outside the box thinking starts when you start learning outside the bounds of what is normally expected in the area that you want to study. So if everyone else is focused on just the technical aspects of hoodie design, you can start researching about how art works broadly, and you can take this knowledge and apply it to what you are trying to do.
If you approach hoodie design this way, you will never run out of ideas and each new design will be fun to work on because you are constantly challenged.
Learn to contrast properly.
Going back to the drawing board, contrasting is imperative if you want your foreground elements to stand out properly. Contrasting is creating a difference between two or more tones of colors, so that one or more colors will stand out than others.
This can be done easily with the help of image editing software like Photoshop, but you can also easily achieve this by selecting parts of the current image and playing around with the button controls of mobile photo editing apps. Another option is using different image filters, until you attain the perfect mix of colors in the correct intensities.
Appeal to people’s emotions
The worst possible feedback that you can get with your designs is that they’re dry and lifeless. We definitely do not want that, so what you can do is try to create drama with your designs. Creating drama means subtly telling a story, and pulling in the viewer so that he/she will take a closer look at the design.
When you tell a story with a design, you invite people to remember what you put in the design, and the central message will stick to people’s minds easily. This is the way to go when you are designing hoodies for permanent recall because they are used to promote a brand.
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