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Design your own custom school spirit shirts in just 5 steps with our quick guide!

School Spirit Shirts: Design Custom School Tees in 5 Steps

What better way to show school pride than with custom school spirit shirts? Customized school spirit t-shirts are perfect for any school, grade level, or special event, from elementary to high school. Whether you want to create custom school shirts as gifts for your students, as new merchandise items for big game days, or as a way to raise some money for your school, we’ve got the tools you need to get started!

Online t-shirt platforms are the perfect solution to the inefficient old method of creating custom school tees. Between printing order forms, sending them home with students, processing checks (that didn’t get lost on the way to school!), and hand-distributing each shirt, there’s a lot of room for mistakes to happen.

Designing and selling your spirit wear online simplifies the entire process! There are 5 simple steps you’ll need to follow to design and print your custom school spirit tees online:

  1. Choose a printing service to make your school spirit shirts.
  2. Pick what kinds of custom school shirts to design.
  3. Prepare for the custom t-shirt design process.
  4. Follow some best practices for designing school spirit shirts.
  5. Place your order and print your school spirit shirts!

If this is your first time designing and printing school spirit shirts, be sure to avoid some rookie mistakes! Study up on our t-shirt printing tips as you get started to make sure you get the planning, design, and printing steps just right.

Step #1: Choose a printing service to make your school spirit shirts.

The best rule of thumb when navigating the huge range of choices out there is to look for flexibility. Top custom t-shirt platforms should offer your school plenty of options. These include:

  • Intuitive design tools and multiple products to choose from
  • Direct bulk order with no minimum requirements
  • Individual online orders and fundraising campaign methods

Having access to options like these can make a crucial difference for the success of your custom school shirts. This is especially true if you think you or your team might not have the time or resources to devote to ordering and individually distributing all your tees.

Straightforward bulk ordering, preferably with free shipping, is always a plus, but having additional methods for offering your shirts to students can eliminate all the guesswork.

Custom school shirts are a great way to boost school spirit and raise some money!

Step #2: Pick what kinds of custom school shirts to design.

Next, think carefully about what type of custom apparel products your student body would be most interested in.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with classic tees, but be sure to explore all your options! Offering your students a few different versions might boost school spirit (or school fundraising results!) considerably.

Here are the most popular shirt styles that students of all ages will want:

  • Unisex crewneck and v-neck tees
  • Long sleeve tees and sweatshirts
  • Baseball and football-style t-shirts
  • Hoodies

Choose the right products your students will love for your custom school shirts!

Your local climate and the time of year are important to consider. Creating one or two classic tees and one custom school sweatshirt to offer your students is typically a smart way to cover your bases. Provide your students with year-round options for their custom school shirts!

Remember any dress code requirements that your school may have, too. For instance, most schools prohibit students from wearing certain styles of tank tops.

Step #3: Prepare for the custom t-shirt design process.

Regardless of whether you’ll be giving your shirts to students or offering them for sale, custom school shirts are an investment in your school’s spirit and culture!

This means you shouldn’t rush into the design process without first establishing a few guidelines. These will help to direct the design process and ensure that your final product is absolutely perfect for your school and your students.

To get started, think about the exact purpose of your new shirts and how you’d like to approach the design process. Here are three common routes that schools take:

  • Going for a classic school spirit look? Use existing elements like your mascot or school logo.
  • Want to try something new? Create a design yourself or ask a talented volunteer to lend a hand.
  • Why not let the students design it? Hold a t-shirt design contest and vote on your favorites!

Your custom school shirts will be a hit if you follow a few basic steps!

Consider how you plan on offering your shirts to students, too. Schools typically offer their school spirit shirts to students in one of these ways:

  • Giving each student a free shirt
  • Offering shirts for sale in person or with an order form
  • Creating an online page to order a shirt individually
  • Including shirts in swag bags or welcome bags

No matter how you choose to offer and distribute your school shirts, your design must appeal to the student body. After all, the shirts are for them to remember their school! That’s why asking for at least a little input from students can make a huge difference in your final sales total.

Step #4: Follow some best practices for designing school spirit shirts.

After you’ve thought about what guidelines might affect your design, it’s time to get creative!

Create a few first drafts of custom school shirt concepts to start refining your ideas. You might want to create a classic school spirit shirt featuring your mascot, or you may want to branch out and offer your students something new, too. Here are 3 of the hottest trends in graphic tee design:

  • Stylized graphics. Trendy design in a colorful, hand-drawn style are popular with all ages.
  • Minimalist styles. Simplified design and typography keep up with current trends can be effective depending on the shirt’s context.
  • Cool typography. Eye-catching or icon fonts can make for great design on their own.

Of course you should follow your own design intuitions to create the perfect shirt that’s just right for your school, but be sure to understand the t-shirt design best practices, too. They can help guide your design process as you test out ideas!

Always think about your existing design elements, too! Use your school’s seal, logo, or mascot as design springboards.

Don’t be afraid to look around for inspiration and guidance. We regularly promote our favorite t-shirt designs over on the Bonfire Instagram! As you explore, be sure to make note of any design elements that catch your eye. Incorporate the inspiration you gather into your custom school shirt designs!

Step #5: Place your order and print your school spirit shirts!

By this point, you’ve probably already chosen how you’re going to offer your custom school shirts to your student body. Flexible platforms like Bonfire allow you to choose the perfect method to suit your goals:

  • Sell shirts online. Cut out all the time-consuming middle steps of forms and checks and sell your shirts online through a Bonfire campaign! We’ll ship their orders directly to your students and parents.
  • Use shirts to fundraise. If you need to raise money for your school or a cause, consider starting a t-shirt fundraiser with your design. Customers can also easily make donations as they make a purchase.
  • Place a direct order. Supply by Bonfire makes it easy to place a bulk order of as many or as few custom shirts as you want to sell or distribute yourself.

Custom school spirit shirts from Bonfire are a smart move for any school!

Some schools still prefer to order a batch shipment of their custom t-shirts in multiple color and size combinations. Be sure to use a t-shirt order form template to streamline the process and reduce the chances of any serious miscalculations.

And remember, with Supply by Bonfire shipping is free!


Creating custom t-shirts is a great way to help your students make memories of their time at your school!

As both a perfect memento and school fundraising idea, custom school shirts are the way to go. By following these basic steps and making thoughtful decisions along the way, you can ensure that your shirts will be a popular (and cost-effective) success!

Continue exploring for more information about school fundraising and custom apparel:

Are you ready to create a custom t-shirt?

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Start designing your custom shirt today.