How to Create Unique & Artful Designer Shirts

Digital designs on shirts come in diverse shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Since fashion trends come and go, things that make designer shirts stand out can rapidly change. A designer in digital era should always keep up with what makes a shirt design “cool”. This means creating fresh, unique, but still-wearable design.

The world of the digital graphic has changed drastically, and some of the current trends are unique, daring, and out of the box. Here are some ways you can create fresh-looking shirt designs that stand out.

Double Exposure for Designer Shirts


Galaxy designer shirts

Double exposure creates a fresh perspective from an otherwise common image. Reverting the tone creates dramatic changes, and this design trend has risen in various objects, from t-shirts to movie posters. Combine double exposure technique with perspective plays, 3D illusions, and other visual elements to create special designs.

There is a unique technique in double exposure, called duotone. This look is created by superimposing two layers of double exposure images, using different monochromatic tones. You may have seen this effect on various movie posters. However, this technique is also great to adorn shirts, giving them postmodern and almost-futuristic look.

Emphasis on Negative Space

Negative space is an often-neglected factor in visual design, but this element will create depth if utilized right. Modern digital design trend has seen the rise of emphasis in negative space. In this design, designers utilize the “empty” space to create certain shapes. Focusing on the empty space to create a specific design will create unique perspective, and therefore fresher look in design.

There are various ways designers can use negative space. This design technique is compatible with various design styles. You can use not only images, but also numbers and typography to create designs from negative space.

3D Design with One Main Color


3d designer shirts

3D design is often associated with several color tones to create depth. However, if you use only one tone, the effect will be bolder and more unique. You can use bright colors such as red, lime green, pink, light purple, orange, and yellow. This kind of design is popular for fresh, fun, contemporary look. This technique often appears in designs inspired by-products, such as bottled juice or snack packages.

One popular way to apply this technique is by putting a unique image as the “base” design, such as a bottle, book, apron, paper, or plastic pack. Next, you put texts, icons, and logos on the base. Apply this design on a shirt that has the same name as the base.

Gradient Colors

Gradient - Out of the Box: How to Create Unique and Artful Designer Shirts

gradient designer shirts

Gradient colors rose to prominence along with the rising popularity of Instagram, although this design trend had appeared in various periods. Gradient colors are often used to create psychedelic and contemporary designs. You can use contrasting or coordinating shades in the color wheel, depending on the effect you want to achieve.

You can combine gradient colors with monochromatic photo, unique typography, or double exposure effect. Even if your design elements are simple, gradient colors create stronger statements than flat solid colors.

Photo and Illustration, Together

photo and illustration - Out of the Box: How to Create Unique and Artful Designer Shirts

photo and illustration designer shirts

A clever combination of a photo and illustration creates a fresh look, compared to just using one of them. The illustration is not separated from the photo, but becomes the actual part of it. You can superimpose the photo with illustrations, surround it with them, or incorporate illustrations into the integral parts of the photo.

If your brand or campaign ad requires photos, but you find that they are too plain, suggest this idea to spice them up. If you have specific artwork style in drawing digitally, this design can be an opportunity to showcase your signature artwork.

Uncommon Positioning of Typography

font - Out of the Box: How to Create Unique and Artful Designer Shirts

Typography designer shirts

Why following the straight rules if you can have fun with typography? Chaotic placements of letters and words are fresh ideas for creative designer shirts. Even if your design is simple, placing the typography in unexpected ways can create a fresh look. You can even use this typography placement as the main design element, especially if your design emphasizes texts.

However, despite the seemingly random placement, your typography must have consistency in its message. If you want to showcase certain texts, make sure people can still read them, even if the letters’ positions are slightly random. The key to this design is the subtle consistency between letters, despite their positions.

Cropped Letters

Another way to create a unique look with typography is cropping the letters. This cropped, somewhat unfinished look is popular in modern designs that focus on typography. You can incorporate them to create an edgy look and attract curiosity. Even without images, these cropped letters work wonder as the main design elements.

Remember, despite the cropped design, you still need to make the letters somewhat readable. This is to make sure that the design makes sense.

Damaged Visual

Modern design is not just about smooth perfection; damaged or ruined visual can also become a unique aesthetic element. Incorporating “damaged” or “ruined” look, such as rips, breaks, cracks, or splashes, can create a strong statement in your design. You can incorporate them in photos, illustrations, or the combination of both.

Damaged visual creates a jarring look in otherwise perfect composition, making your design distinctive. The ruined effect does not have to be realistic, because you can create them from digital ink, lines, patterns, or drawing.

Glitch in Picture

Glitch effect gives a design uniquely modern, tech-relevant look, perfect for design trend in the 21st century. Glitch was once viewed as an annoyance, but now, creative designers incorporate this look to create unexpectedly good visual. Since glitch signified disruption or something unexpected, incorporating this effect in your design will bring surprising effect.

Glitch can work well with a colored photo, monochromatic photo, double exposure, or 3D effect. If you incorporate it into a famous, public domain artwork (such as famous classic painting), it will create a unique effect.


Creating digital designs for shirts has become a unique form of art, and you need to be creative to attract attention. These unique art ideas will create strong statements in your artworks, especially if you want to promote your own original designs. Try these ideas and create designer shirts that mirror your distinctive, unique style.


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