5 Things To Look For In Shirt Design Software

Beautiful fashion designer in shirt and striped T-shirt happily

If you are looking to start designing and decorating your own t shirts, hoodies, or pants, you are going to need to choose a t shirt design software. There are so many options that it can be very difficult to know which to choose.

Here are 5 things you should look out for when making your decision.


One of the main factors we all consider first is price – what’s it going to cost?!

Is it best to go with a premium software right away, such as Adobe Illustrator? Or should you start first with free software, such as InkScape?

This is really going to depend on your budget and the stage you are at. Those who are jumping straight into a legit business, and have a bit of money to spend, will want the best tools possible. This will mean selecting a software like Illustrator or the full Adobe Creative Suite.

For those starting a side-gig or who are doing this as a hobby, the free alternatives may be the better way to start. Thankfully, many of the free options are very good, and have high functionality.


You are going to need to learn how to use software, so find out if there are many training resources out there. Are they free or paid?

The more obscure or new to the market a software is, the fewer training options there are likely to be. Make sure you choose a program that has been in use for a long time, has a large community behind it, and plenty of free video tutorials.

For example, when it comes to Affinity Designer vs Illustrator, the winner on resources would have to be Illustrator. There is an endless number of Illustrator Tutorials on YouTube, and plenty of more advanced paid courses which can be found cheaply on sites like SkillShare or Udemy.


You are going to need software with the features commonly used in t shirt design.

You don’t want to use a design software that has no application for designing t shirts, like Canva for example. Canva is a simple graphic design software that is great for making YouTube thumbnails and Facebook headers, but it’s not good for design shirts – that’s not what it’s made for!

Features you will need include:

  • the ability to work with fine details
  • good color selection tools
  • great shaping options
  • top fonts and graphics available
  • manipulation tools

Quality software will have all this and much more, while simple design programs will not.


Also pay attention the community surrounding a particular design software.

The bigger it is, the better. That way you know you’ll always be able to find support. There will likely be large Facebook Groups you can join and ask questions whenever you need, and get feedback on your work.

Especially if you are doing this for business, it’s best to get in with other like minded folks!


Are there developers working on news features and tools, fixing bugs, and solving problems?

You don’t want to choose software that has ceased being developed. Get something that is growing, improving, and being invested in.

Design Your Own Shirts

If you keep these 5 things in mind when choosing your design software, you won’t go wrong.

Spend a bit of time considering the options, and find the solution that best suits your design requirements, budget, and community needs. Ask your friends and peers which design program they prefer, and hear the pros and cons from them first hand!