Designing or Collecting T-Shirts As a Hobby.

You may find that designing or collecting T-Shirts as a hobby to be rewarding and very relaxing.

Designing T-shirts As a Hobby.

Have you ever considered designing T-Shirts as a hobby? We all know that art can be therapeutic, but there is something about designing tees that makes the hobby attractive to people. It could be that it has the potential to earn a profit. Or perhaps it makes the designer feel great when they see someone buy or wear their design. That is something to take pride in after all. But maybe it is deeper than that. It could be the connection that the designer has with the wearer and viewers. Perhaps it is the communication of the message or subject in common that creates an unspoken bond that lasts.

Collecting T-Shirts As A Hobby.

Probably one of the most affordable and practical hobbies of all time is Tee collecting. Especially if the collector wears the tees. It doesn't matter if you collect tees from every establishment you visit such as Hard Rock Cafe or Hooters or every Band you listen to or see live in concert. Signed T-shirts and Limited Edition prints are extremely coveted and sought after.

Tees have a tendency to tell a story. They are a part of history, your history. Whatever you are passionate about there is a tee related to that passion. If you take vacations t-shirts make excellent keepsakes and souvenirs. Perhaps Vintage tees are your thing, believe it or not they can been profitable. Maybe retro tees of brands that you are fond of will bring a smile to your face. Regardless, tees tend to stick in people's memories be it from: a First Date, First Meeting, Last Meeting, a Notable Laugh etc.

So don't ever second guess T-shirts as a Hobby. You are not a weirdo or a freak. You are one of many and every collection is different and unique. In a way we are all tee enthusiasts, unless you are the oddball that wears only Armani suits or polo shirts. So have fun, design and or collect til your heart is content.

T-Shirt Brand Success Stories.

T-Shirt Brand success stories can inspire and teach us all a thing or two about the tee business. We all know that starting a Tee brand is a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider and obstacles that it hardly seems worth it. "Overnight Success" is a rare thing so rare that you shouldn't hope or expect it. Prepare to get your hands dirty and do the actual work. Here we see what some of the most successful companies have done right.

Life Is Good T-shirts was founded by two brothers John and Bert Jacobs in 1994 when they decided to change direction after 5 years. The company is now worth $100 Million. In 1989 it started out as the on the road selling out of a van venture which after 5 years and with only $78 in their bank, they had eventually found that there was a market for Optimism and Positive messaged tees. And rather than advertising they set up fundraising festivals to benefit kids with hardships regardless of what the hardships may be. This was brilliant and selfless and damn does it work. From printing on HANES in their early days to their Own label to living up to their brand name Life Is Good article they paid their dues.

Threadless is a company that most people are familiar with. Whether they have been following them online or seeing their products at Target or their brick and mortar shops. The founder Jake Nickell started Threadless in 2000 with $1,000 as seed capital. His net worth is now $50 Million. All because he decided to make the "T-shirt Design Contest" a business model. This brought in talent, and had visitor participation in the form of voting. Granted a lot of the designers were friends of the owner in the beginning, it has blossomed into a juggernaut.

Johnny Cupcakes founded in 2001 by Johnny Earle is a brand that started out as a joke and is all about customer service. Talk about a guy that insists on doing things his own way this guy takes the cake...err you know what I mean. The current net worth is $3.8 Million. This is one of those almost instant success stories that we all wish we had. The concept and timing just all sort of fell into place. Like ingredients when baking a cake... dammit.

“Every t-shirt purchased in-stores and online, comes with an experience; the pastry box packaging, oven mitt shaped neck label, hidden messages inside of some shirts, a story, and sometimes random gifts, like vintage Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trading cards,” says Earle. Source: Forbes
Learn more about Johnny Cupcakes in this article

T-Shirt Brand Success Stories.

Hopefully this T-shirt brand success stories inspire you to do your own thing and keep at it rather than giving up.

Alternatives To Facebook Ads For T-Shirt Designers.

Some alternatives to Facebook Ads for T-Shirt designers to help out people that are starting out because Facebook Ads are expensive and have crappy reach. Most of the time it is fraudulent fans and likes anyway from Indonesia etc.

The best and classic way that I have experimented with is old school. Like caveman style. It is to network on site, reciprocal links and blogrolls, especially with other designers. They may be competition but they share the same targeted demographic for traffic. It balances out. People see it as losing sales to the competition etc. It really isn't the case. Not if everyone is honest about the numbers. If people weren't making sales to begin with then they can't say they are steering all their customers away. T-Shirt Shoppers like to browse and see as many options as possible. Most of the time and don't get heartbroken, people simply don't care about who designed what and what the title of the tee is. Designers that get their stuff on Limited Edition Tee sites like on the ones on the TeeFetch homepage are the exception to this because of the way the tees are promoted, even then a majority of the customers are about the tees and the brand selling them not the designer. If you don't have your own website then you are making it really difficult for yourself. Yes, it's a lot of work and tedious as all Hell. There is information on this site about SEO if you need the help. It takes months to get a site known, possibly even years. The thing is to keep at it.

Another method similar to the suggestion above is to focus on sites like TeeFetch (Not meaning to be biased), TeeReviewer, Shirtoid and HideYourArms because shoppers come to sites like these because of the invested Niche. Designers come here specifically for information such as what is on this page, and brands contact us all the time wanting to be promoted. Whether a site like this has a lot of traffic or a little, it still reaches a highly targeted audience that want t-shirts. Compare this at the Facebook and Google Pay Per Click Models and Pricing for any T-shirt Related keyword or key phrase. The last time I checked it was around $5 a click ( FOR JUST ONE EFFING CLICK!!!). That's what a lot of brands fail to see when comparing devoted sites to social media. You can also go to themed sites and buy ads on them such as Geek/Nerdy, Pop Culture based sites if that is what your designs are based on. For instance, if your tee is a Futurama based design then GotFuturama is a good way to go.

Now Social Media Alternatives To Facebook Ads ... Think Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest and forget about Facebook completely as far as ads go. Keep it as an Online Presence as it will ad value to your website and brand when considering factors used by WooRank, but other than that it truly is a waste.

More Alternatives To Facebook Ads For T-Shirt Designers.

For more information check out the Marketing Your T-Shirt Designs article.

Affiliate Programs such as Refersion are a much more affordable way to go if you own your own brand and website. Ideal if you print things yourself and or drop ship. The industry's average commission rate for an affiliate is 10% per sale. Unless you have an in-house program there will be a monthly or annual fee for whatever platform that you choose.

Quest For The Perfect Tee.

The quest for the perfect tee is not really obtainable since tees are a reflection of the wearer's own personalities. But there are ways of getting closer to reaching the goal.

You maybe wanting to know what will make the perfect tee design and or blank for marketing purposes. For this market research is needed.

First, a survey is needed. "What is your favorite T-Shirt and why?". Based on some past surveys, a lot of times there is a memory attached to the tee, often associated with another person that the wearer knows.

Second, with the data break it down to what design was on the tee. Most will have some commercial design on it from some Movie franchise or Band Name or Tour. If the Tees are funny what is the joke, is there a common element to the humor tees?

Finally, take the most common elements from people's answers and try to combine them into something new. For instance if people loved their Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction tee, make a parody of it with something from the present time that people are currently into like the Firefly themed Appetite For Misbehavin tee

Appetite for Misbehavin Tee Design by cubik.

It may not replace their old favorite tee for sentimental reasons but it will definitely remind them of their old favorite.

Quest For The Perfect Tee.

Trying to replace people's favorite tee with a completely different is a quest of its own. For a tee that you hope to sell a ton of, combine the Survey with whatever is trending. Use the search Engine and current memes to get some ideas. Often Timing is everything. The more relevant something is to NOW the more likely people will be interested in it. These are called Topical Tees, but they typically lose their appeal once people move on from the subject matter. The ideal tee would be to combine it with something classic that isn't going away like the Mona Lisa.

That is how I'd pursue the perfect tee.

Graphic Design Tutorials.

Sometimes even the most seasoned graphic artist can use a hand. These Photoshop tips and other graphic design tutorials including the difficult to master Illustrator are just a click or two away.

The sites listed below are some of the most linked to tutorials from designers pages and blog posts such as this one giving a ‘top of ” list. These resources should come in handy the next time you find yourself asking “How do I get the _____ effect?” Enjoy.

Graphic Design Tutorials.

Other Mediums As Tee Design Inspiration.

Other mediums as Tee design inspiration can be a fantastic source.

Suppose one only works on the computer using programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator and as a result find themselves in a bit of a creative rut. This can slow down current projects and cause one to be late for any deadlines. Stepping away and trying to release some creative energies through other outlets might help. Perhaps attempting to paint with a good old fashioned paint brushes, canvas, acrylics, oil or water colors, and easel set will do the trick.

If that does not sound tempting how about sculpture or pottery? Working three dimensionally not only helps release creative urges but offer new perspectives. There are an abundance of materials that can be used for such a project such as: wood, plastic, metal, clay, glass, rope, trash, and more.

Perhaps photography, try taking a nature hike or go camping and hunting and shoot nature with a telescopic lens rather than with a gun.

Maybe revert to being a child and pull out the crayons and finger paints for some imaginative brainstorming sessions, get the kids involved too as it would be fun for them to join (it would be unfair otherwise for them to see mom or dad playing in finger paints without them).

Though a complete different art form, even getting out a musical instrument can do the trick.

Sometimes though, nothing can beat plain ole pencil and paper. There is just something about the feel of the experience. Take the sketch pad to a museum or a park and draw whatever catches the eyes, and pay attention to the shadows.

Other Mediums As Tee Design Inspiration.

Stepping back from a project to experiment with other artistic mediums can help keep the mind stay fresh and projects interesting. This trick has been helping artists stay inspired since the days of cave paintings.

Cotton Tees Vs Polyester T-Shirts Vs Blend Tee Shirts.

Cotton tees are comfortable as they are softer and breathe easier than the ones made of other fabrics. The downside is that they will shrink and fade. Which are key factors to consider when buying a shirt. So purchase a size larger at least.

Polyester T shirts.

Polyester tees are will never shrink, wrinkle or fade. The fabric does not breathe. The fabric will out last cotton being synthetic, so washing is not going to ruin the shirt anytime soon. The shirts are not as comfortable to wear as the cotton tees are by any means. And the synthetic fibers are not as ink friendly as cotton.

The 50/50 blend tees do not shrink like the cotton only ones do and they breathe a lot better than the polyester ones alone (but still not great). They also wrinkle less as well and have a better shelf life as opposed to the plain 100% cotton t shirts. However, they are not as comfortable as them either.

Cotton Tees Vs Polyester T-Shirts Vs Blend Tee Shirts.

Overall, for comfort go for cotton preferably organic if you have the extra coin.

Exercise For Tee Design Inspiration.

Consider doing Exercise for tee design inspiration. Exercise is not only good for the body, but it works wonders for your mind and creativity as well.

Not just thanks to endorphins that are released which make people happy, as emotions and moods of all kinds are needed to create art as mood is independent from creativity. Artists who are less stressed tend to be in a far more creative mood than those who do not exercise and are not relieving stress regularly. Better moods are just an added bonus to the regimen at least for some people.

Exercise For Tee Design Inspiration.

Below is an article that briefly goes into the subject.

Exercise Enhances Creativity Independently of Mood.

Br J Sports Med. 1997 Sep; 31(3): 240–245.

PMCID: PMC1332529

Exercise enhances creativity independently of mood

Hannah Steinberg, Elizabeth A Sykes, Tim Moss, Susan Lowery, Nick LeBoutillier, and Alison Dewey

Copyright and License information ►



It has been widely accepted in the literature that various forms of physical exercise, even in a single session, enhance positive mood. It has also been shown that physical exercise may sometimes enhance creative thinking, but the evidence is inconclusive. Positive moods can favour creative thinking, but the opposite has also been reported and these relations are unclear. There is a large anecdotal literature suggesting that creative people sometimes use bodily movement to help overcome “blocks”. The aim of this study was to establish whether post-exercise creative thinking was attributable to improved mood.


The responses of 63 participants to an exercise (aerobic workout or aerobic dance) and a “neutral” video watching condition were compared. Mood was measured using an adjective list, and creative thinking was tested by three measures of the Torrance test.


Analysis of variance showed a large and significant increase in positive mood after exercise (P<0.001) and a significant decrease in positive mood after video watching (P<0.001). A significant increase between the creative thinking scores of the two conditions was found on the flexibility (variety of responses) measure (P<0.05). A multifactorial analysis of all data failed to show a significant covariance of creative thinking with the two measures of mood (P>0.05).


These results suggest that mood and creativity were improved by physical exercise independently of each other.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.3M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Modern Snail Tee Design by Coconutman.

Architecture As Tee Design Inspiration.

Modern Snail Tee Design by Coconutman.

Architecture as tee design inspiration works surprisingly well.

Architecture has a way of surrounding us with mood, from a peasant’s hut to the Taj Mahal. Other examples would be Cathedrals, which re grand, colorful, and well lit. These elements provided a calm and uplifting spiritual vibe when combined the right way at the right time of day. The the futuristic curves and sharp angles of the past influence our behavior. Evidence is found everywhere from fast food places like White Castle and McDonald’s to elaborate restaurants like Casa Bonita. The combinations of color and spacial design set a tone for either stay and eat or get your food and then get out quickly.

In architecture, there is the inside and outside space to consider. Then there is nature’s involvement. How the structure fits in with the surroundings. Some of those most breathtaking imagery of buildings are at the time of day and year when the light and shadows are balanced perfectly. Giving the structures a majestic appearance.

These spatial, color, and line elements can be used in graphic design on t shirts just as they are on blueprints and three dimensional buildings. Just like any other form it is about balance and interpretation. As a result of a little science, and a bit of math. Even if we are not aware of those things consciously.

It is perspective and illusions such as these that we try to fit into artwork in general such as focal points, gravity, and other things that make sense structurally (unlike a T.A.R.D.I.S. which is the deliberate opposite in concept for artistic and story telling purposes).

Architecture As Tee Design Inspiration.

Visiting buildings such as homes, churches, museums, and skyscrapers can give an artist a new found appreciation for space and time, structure, color, and decision. This respect for the builders of the past, present, and future will be evident in their soon-to-be art works.

See some Architecture inspired tees.

Things You Enjoy As Tee Design Inspiration.

Use the things you enjoy as tee design inspiration. This can be anything such as that morning cup of coffee or a jog around the block.

No matter what you find joy in it can inspire everything from cartoons to songs. All you have to do is apply the thoughts associated with such interests to your graphic design works. Even incorporate what’s happening around you while you are indulging yourself with your likes.

Maybe you are sipping a cup of coffee when your dog runs by and it starts sliding on the kitchen floor. This gives you an idea for a cartoon. For instance, maybe the dog always makes its master spill his coffee on himself as a running gag. The point is to take what goes on in your day to day life which makes you happy and work ideas around them.

Perhaps you can draw out the lyrics to your favorite song, recreating the scene from your own head as you imagine them being played out as if you are directing a music video. Maybe you like that Sunday drive out to countryside and something that you see works its way into your art, perhaps the from the perspective of your rear view mirror.

Things You Enjoy As Tee Design Inspiration.

The point is to sit back and do what you usually do, by being yourself and just go with that positive flow. Your rituals and routines can prove to be a great untapped resource.