4 Expert Tips to Creating Stand-Out Designs

blog_mainteaserCreativity is like a vast ocean of opportunity, but it’s sometimes difficult to navigate in the wild waters of technical and creative possibilities. To lend you a hand in creating designs that make a difference, we sought advice from several accomplished designers to explain the stages of their work and even disclose a few creative tricks. Anchors away!

AnniiiiiFree Bird

“My favorite all around pens are fine felts of 0.5mm and 0.8mm. They are ideal for both drawing outlines and sketching finer details. I usually use the 0.05mm pen for shadows. When designing Free Bird, I used it for shadows and feathers. The trick is to apply the pen just ever so slightly, and swiftly make gentle circular movements of the hand. Be sure to make the line fit the outer contours. For more prominent shadows, I added many features next to each other and slightly changed the angle by moving the paper.

The strokes are no longer recognizable as I then added charcoal that I then spread with a brush. For the finish, I used a white roller pen to add some accents and correct some details.”


RICHARTScotland Fart

“It’s important to put your design to the T-shirt test, meaning to use a photo of the T-shirt I want to feature the design on as an extra layer in the imaging software. Here, I position the design in the actual size on the T-shirt to see the color contrast, even if Spreadshirt offers the ability to scale the size with its software. If necessary, I change either the colors of the design or the color of the T-shirt. Of course, you’ll need to remove the layer with the T-shirt in the end.”


Sandra MahnPenguin/Nashornvogel

“To make the plumage more lifelike, I mixed all kinds of related colors. For brown surfaces, I added yellow and red to a darker brown. Lighter shades reflect more luminous surfaces and dark shades embody the shadows.

In a further step, you can bring black and white elements – like with a penguin – by blending white with a dash of ochre and black with some brown. This creates warmer surfaces, as if exposed to the sun. In contrast, violet and blue hues lend a cold and brilliant effect and velvety shine. A blue shine gives the impression that the penguin just got out of cold water.”


BaxtWake up

“I sketched my typography on paper first. Then I reproduced it with a pen tool in Illustrator. To incorporate the effect of distraught letters, I used the Pathfinder tool and the pen tool. I reworked the depth and volume of the typography by drawing the shadow of the letters with a darker color point by point.”


We’d like to thank all of our Shop Partners who took the time to answer our questions in such exquisite detail!

Would you like to learn more about the design techniques or share some of your own tips with the community? Please drop a line in the comments!

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