How Do I Design a Shirt in Photoshop?

How Do I Design a Shirt in Photoshop?

Designing a shirt in Photoshop can be a fun and creative process. Whether you're a graphic designer or just someone looking to create a custom shirt for yourself or your business, Photoshop offers a wide range of tools and features that can help bring your ideas to life. In this tutorial, we'll walk through the step-by-step process of designing a shirt in Photoshop, from setting up your canvas to adding graphics and text.

Step 1: Setting up your canvas

Before you begin designing your shirt, it's important to set up your canvas with the right dimensions and resolution. To do this, go to File > New and enter the desired width and height for your shirt design. For most standard shirts, a canvas size of 12 inches by 12 inches at 300 pixels per inch (ppi) works well.

Step 2: Choosing colors

The next step is to choose the colors for your design. Whether you want a simple monochromatic design or a vibrant multi-color design, Photoshop allows you to easily select and apply colors using the Color Picker. Simply click on the foreground color swatch in the toolbar and choose the desired color from the Color Picker window.


  • Experiment with different color combinations: Don't be afraid to try out different color combinations to find what works best for your design. Use complementary colors or contrasting shades to make certain elements stand out.
  • Create custom color swatches: If you have specific brand colors or a predefined color palette for your design, you can create custom color swatches in Photoshop. Simply click on the small arrow next to the foreground color swatch and select "New Swatch" from the dropdown menu.

Step 3: Adding graphics

Now it's time to add graphics to your shirt design. Photoshop offers a variety of tools and techniques for importing and manipulating graphics, such as:

  • Importing vector graphics: If you have a logo or graphic in vector format (e.g., .ai or .eps), you can easily import it into Photoshop by going to File > Place Embedded. This allows you to scale the graphic without losing quality.
  • Drawing shapes and illustrations: If you prefer to create your own custom graphics, Photoshop provides powerful drawing tools like the Pen Tool, Shape Tools, and Brush Tool. These tools allow you to create shapes, lines, and intricate illustrations directly on your canvas.
  • Applying filters and effects: To add texture or unique effects to your design, Photoshop offers a wide range of filters and effects. Experiment with options like Blur, Noise, or Texture Overlay to give your design an extra touch of creativity.

Step 4: Adding text

Incorporating text into your shirt design can convey messages or add additional visual interest. To add text in Photoshop:

  1. Select the Type Tool from the toolbar.
  2. Click on the canvas where you want to place the text.
  3. Type your desired text. You can adjust the font face, size, color, and other formatting options using the Text Options bar at the top of the screen.
  4. Position and transform the text layer as needed. You can use tools like Move Tool or Free Transform (Edit > Free Transform) to resize, rotate, or reposition the text.


  • Choose legible fonts: When selecting a font for your shirt design, make sure it is easily readable and complements the overall style. Avoid overly decorative or intricate fonts that may be difficult to read when printed on a shirt.
  • Consider hierarchy and placement: If your design includes multiple text elements, think about the hierarchy of information and how you want the viewer's eye to flow across the design. Experiment with different placements and sizes to create visual balance.

Step 5: Finalizing your design

Once you're satisfied with your shirt design, it's time to save and export it for printing or sharing. To save your Photoshop file, go to File > Save As and choose a suitable file format (e.PSD) that preserves all your layers and editing capabilities.

If you're ready to share or print your design, you'll need to export it in a suitable format. For printing purposes, exporting as a high-resolution image file (e.JPEG or .PNG) at 300 ppi is recommended. If you're sharing your design online or via social media, consider exporting as a web-friendly format like .GIF with optimized file size.

Congratulations! You have now learned how to design a shirt in Photoshop using various tools and techniques. Remember to have fun and let your creativity shine through!