Leveraging Your Design Options

The world of apparel brands is as varied as there are business owners. You have the designer who wants to run a t-shirt company, the business/marketing guy who likes t-shirts but doesn’t know how to design them, and everything in between. In this article we’ll discuss one thing that all of them have to face in their path to success in the apparel industry: what to do when you run out of design ideas.

Hitting Designer’s Block

Regardless of your area of expertise, when running a t-shirt business you’ll hit an unavoidable milestone in the road: scaling, or in layman terms, how to keep on chugging fresh and attractive designs without either burning out your creative fuel or your marketing-focused energy. It can be pretty hard to run your business as a one-man operation, so if you need to really grow and scale, you need some extra hands and brains to keep the engine running.

Stock graphic leveraged t-shirt design

Outsourcing Design

When it comes to design outsourcing, partnering with a freelancer has always been a go to option for brand owners. For the budget conscious, Fiverr is a very resourceful site where you can get work done really cheap. You can also get really cheap work, but that’s all up to you, your expectations, how well you select your designer and the way you brief your commissions. Many like this site because the interface is easy to use and prices can get ridiculously low.

Then there’s Upwork, which is very similar to Fiverr but here you’ll find more “serious” freelancers who will have higher rates and delivery times, but also better quality overall. The site and the request system are not as easy or straightforward as Fiverr at first, but what it lacks in user-friendliness and speed it compensates in quality.

Incorporating Stock Graphics

There’s another source of design outsourcing that is less mentioned but as good or sometimes even better than Freelance work, and that’s stock graphics. Much like stock photos, stock graphics are very viable ways of getting quality merch-ready designs instantly. They usually operate on a subscription basis, where you subscribe to get access to all the content without paying extra fees, and you’re granted commercial rights on the graphics you choose.

Disclaimer: Using stock graphics still requires a bit of design savviness.

Some stock graphic providers, such as Vexels, focus specifically on apparel design. They have t-shirt designs of various styles, ranging from seasonal and niche designs as well as designs that resonate to general audiences.

Vexels design stock and editor video

Weighing Your Options

Using stock graphics sounds pretty effortless, but is there a catch? Well, kinda. Most of the designs you’ll find available for use aren’t user-restricted, so you might be choosing the same design as someone else. But with a little imagination and some color editing you can put your own spin on any graphic you incorporate into your apparel designs.

In choosing the best route for pumping out t-shirt designs when you’ve run out of ideas, we would recommend trying out all of the options available to you. Even though it’s always great to get full high-quality designs instantly, sometimes you have an idea of your own that’s nowhere to be found through stock graphics. Hiring a freelance designer might be an ideal choice, but can be costly to keep up with if you’re on a tighter budget. Weigh your options, experiment a bit and develop your go-to plan for when you’ve hit a creative block. Good luck!



Guest post by Virginia Rivedieu of Vexels

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