T-Shirt Designs For Lights and Darks

May 12, 2009 | Written by Darren | Category: T Shirt Design

Have you ever created artwork with the intentions of printing it on a light colored shirt and using the same artwork for a dark colored shirt? If you have, then your printer probably warned you about the difficulty of doing so. Printing on dark shirts can be a beast, if not done properly. Here’s a good example to illustrate what I’m talking about.

Before I get to the pics, I want it to be known that this is not a question of a brand’s quality or their printer’s ability. In fact, the example I’m about to show you could just be an issue of a poor photograph. The example just served as a reminder to me to caution you the next time you’re creating artwork for both light and dark colored shirts. Here’s the beautiful, colorful design on a white t-shirt brought to you by Phenomenon.


Here is that same design on a black t-shirt:


The reason I suspect the design has become dull on a black t-shirt is the same problem that has plagued the printing industry for a long time. The print on a black t-shirt requires a white underbase printed underneath all of the artwork. The purpose this serves is to be a brand new white canvas so the black fabric isn’t invisible through the ink. This actual design probably had a bunch of halftones incorporated to make the color gradients and those halftones allowed the white underbase to come through. This appears to have somewhat washed out the design.

Again, I’ll reiterate that it could just be the photograph making the tee appear washed out. Even if that is the case, it’s a good example of what could possibly happen if the artwork isn’t prepared properly for a dark tee. Regardless, I want the shirt anyway!

One Response

  1. rolls | June 3rd, 2009

    Yeah..! you are right..It would be definitely difficult to print on a dark T-shirt. But what would be solution for that. Hope you would give that.