Creating a quality t-shirt your target audience will want to wear over and over again is the ultimate goal for a Bonfire campaign. This chapter explains how to design a quality product with Bonfire that your community will love.
Designing your Products
The first step in designing your shirt is applying the knowledge you collected about your target audience to create a print that inspires your community. Use the following list of product features to spark creative ideas and hone in on your top design elements.
View our Catalog of Merchandise
One of the great features of selling with Bonfire is that we provide a managed inventory of premium custom apparel items. We source top-notch products and send them to print shops for you. Because of this structure, there’s no upfront costs, and you won’t be stuck with leftover inventory to manage. You can take a look at all of our products, which come in a variety colors, sizes and styles here.
Knowing the printable area of your shirt before you begin will help you design a graphic that will be successful. The printable area is the custom printing term for canvas size – or the dimensions (measured in inches or DPI) that will screen print. Our maximum printable area of a t-shirt design averages 14 inches long by 11.5 inches wide. Anything placed outside the printable area will not be printed, because it will not fit on the screen used for printing. For more information, check out our guide to preferred artwork file types and sizes.
Apply Audience Research to Design Planning
What visuals, clothing items, colors and styles would your audience like to wear? Pull out the competitor and audience scorecard as you read through the following design factors. Keep in mind how your audience will influence the choices you make when creating a product.
What visuals repeat themselves or resonated with your audience? Read through your website or Social Media captions. What words keep coming up? If you created a spreadsheet of competitor and market research, look through this as well to find words and visual themes that match with your target audience.
After taking a look at your target audience, you know your largest buyer bases. Think about what those buyers are going to be shopping for, and add products that fit their needs.
As for print design, what stylistic approaches will match well with your cause and goals? While researching your market, what visual and stylistic themes seemed to resonate most throughout competitor’s/influencer’s social media and websites? Were they corporate or crafty? Minimalist or complex?
What colors connect with my brand or message? If you have an existing brand, are there certain colors that signify who you are and what your community stands for? If you are connected to a cause, what colors tend to signify that cause? For example, a clean water initiative might go with a design that has a lot of blue and white in it.
And for your apparel selections, the impact of your design can be completely lost if you don’t think through what apparel colors can really make it pop. We encourage to choose a dark shirt if your design is lighter in color, and to use a lighter shirt if your design has darker colors. Our design tool makes it easy to test things out and see what looks best. If you don’t like the way something looks online, you are really not going to like it in person.
Is this shirt or hoodie designed for an event or specific season? If so, you may want to take this information into consideration when selecting your apparel items.. If the apparel is for an event in Florida in August, perhaps there’s no need to sell a Black hoodie sweatshirt. Since our campaigns are short-run batches, you can change products or launch new things as seasons and needs change.
Create the Product
Now that you’ve applied your research and started brainstorming, you likely have one or two ideas already doodled on paper or forming in your mind. Before you get too far, this is a great time to learn about the various paths you could take to bring these ideas to life.
Use current and existing assets
Do you have access or rights to brand creatives, typography or art files? You can reuse and repurpose creatives you already have, like brand logos and marketing illustrations. These assets already contain styles, typography and color palettes that resonate with your audience.
Do you have the graphic design talents to bring your idea to life? Do you have a friend that’s available and would make a great partner for your campaign? You’re likely already to jump right into assembling the pieces and starting your t-shirt design.
Use Bonfire’s free design resources
Bonfire has a great selection of free designs for popular causes that you can use directly or as a source for inspiration. In addition, we offer a graphics and iconography library powered by the Noun Project available in our design tool. These designs can be quickly personalized just for you!
Ask Around for Pro-bono or Paid Design Help
Whether time is a valuable resource for you or the design requires more than you’re able to create, many of our sellers ask around their network for help creating their graphic. There are also various online tools out there where you can get a great design for a reasonable price.
Bonfire’s Marketplace Guidelines
Before your creativity begins flowing, it’s important to understand the ground rules for creating content within the Bonfire community. Our mission is to strengthen and inspire communities. Every day Bonfire sellers across the world express creativity and individuality by designing and selling original products to leave lasting impressions on their audience.
To keep our global marketplace safe for all and protect property, we remove content, campaigns, cancel orders and/or suspend accounts for violating our hate speech and intellectual property standards. You can find our guidelines here.
Don’t forget, our Seller Experience team is here at any stage of the process if you’re feeling stuck or want to jump ahead to launch and promotion.