The Joyful Restricting Challenge of Designing For T-Shirts

You’ve probably heard it said that doing artwork under certain restrictions can actually be a freeing task. In the case of t-shirt design I would have to agree. For example, when designing for a screen printed t-shirt, the main restriction that I run into is the number of colors I can use (ie. create a cool design of this certain image with only two colors). I find that this restriction actually helps me focus on the problem that needs solved and get work down.

If I had an endless number colors in my repertoire, I would spend a lot more time trying to decide which colors to use and why. If a client came up to me and said, “make a t-shirt design for me and make it anything you want and use as many colors as you want”. I find that this would be very difficult. I wouldn’t know where to start. I would rather she said, “create a two color t-shirt design that incorporates an image of an eagle in the word ‘eagle’”. Having restrictions in a design actually tells you which problems to solve and what directions you can go in your design to solve that problem. I didn’t know I liked solving problems, but I guess I do.