When it comes to designing custom t-shirts, picking the shirt and ink colors can be the most exciting part; it can likewise be the most difficult. We understand the disappointment of submitting a design and receiving a shirt that is far from anything you imagined. Here are some things you should consider before hitting submit:

The color you see on your computer is often not the color that will actually print. Most monitors use filters to create contrast and vibrancy in the images being displayed. This is great when watching the latest episode of Making a Murderer, but not so great when trying to print in color with any accuracy.

While frustrating, this issue is easily combatable. To avoid receiving a print that doesn’t live up to your expectations, follow these color tips:

Contrast is key:

    • On lighter shirts, beware of using low value or pastel colors. These colors, though visible up close will be difficult to distinguish from farther away and may be washed out by the minimal contrast. Instead, go for darker, high value colors, or even add a dark outline around your lettering or design
    • On darker shirts, use lighter colors with a higher value. Navy blue may be hard to distinguish on a black shirt but a lighter blue or even a navy blue design with a white outline is sure to pop and make your logo or lettering a statement.

Compare multiple color palates and ask others for opinions:

  • In the era of ever-increasing technological advances, of course, there’s an app for that! Try out some color palate apps where you can peruse a multitude of color options and find one that is sure to be great for your design.
    • If you have an AdobeCC account, download Adobe Color on your smartphone. This app allows you to take pictures of anything around you and pulls out certain colors in the image that create optimal color pallets. This app is perfect if you already have one color picked out and want to find another color to match it. Just hold up an item with your color on it and let the app find colors around it that go well together.
    • Kuler is another Adobe product (this doesn’t require an account!) where users upload their best pallets. There are many many pallets to explore but each comes with a rating which will tells you which pallets are appreciated by a larger audience.
    • Also try COLOURlovers, a site similar to Kuler, to search by color or keyword.
  • Consult friends, family, and coworkers before submitting your design. Who knows, you may just have that one friend who has the color suggestion that makes this year’s Little-League Championship T-shirt a hit at the ball park.

Whatever colors you go with, be assured that our staff is well aware of the discrepancy between your monitor and our lab. When reviewing your design we check for color contrast and will consult you if we think a slight change should be made to your design to make your design, logo, or lettering pop.

When in doubt, contact us at RiverCity Screenprinting & Embroidery and allow a staff member to advise you in making those tough decisions regarding design and color!