As you can probably guess, there are a TON of options for setting up an online T-shirt store. You’ll have to figure out which platform you want to use, what type of materials or fabrics are best, where you’ll be printing your shirts, and of course, what type of designs you want to sell.
Of course, not everyone is blessed with the time or skill set to create the graphics they’d like to. If you’re one of these people, that’s totally fine! There are lots of freelance T-shirt graphic designers for hire out there.
We’ve compiled a list of the best places to find the right graphic designer for your T-shirts, based on your needs and resources.
How to Find a T-shirt Graphics Designer
With the gig economy booming, freelancing has become a go-to choice for many skilled individuals to make extra cash. Many folks have even made a full-time transition to freelance work as a primary source of income. A freelance website is essentially a marketplace for brands and companies to source creative freelancers available for hire. With a freelance website, graphic designers, for example, can set up a public profile, showcase a portfolio of their work, and list pricing for different types of gigs.
There are many great websites that provide a vast database of freelancers offering a plethora of skills and services. Some may suit your needs better than others, but some of the top ones are:
You’ll have a bunch of options to choose from and can compare and contrast designers to find the perfect fit. Freelance websites are especially beneficial for start-ups and new brands that may not have the cash flow to hire full-time employees.
Keep in mind, using a freelance website may not be for everyone. Some platforms require a fee to use the service. Ultimately, you may end up paying a little more than you would if you’d hire a freelancer directly.
Portfolio websites are a great way to source creative freelancers, especially graphic designers. They’re very similar to freelancer websites in a lot of ways. But, instead of featured gigs or job posts, the website will showcase a designer’s portfolio. It’s their chance to show off what they’ve done in the past and to describe and offer services and pricing. There are a ton of options when it comes to portfolio websites. Some of the best, especially for finding a graphic designer for your T-shirts, are:
Portfolio websites are perfect for finding a qualified designer to create your T-shirt graphics, especially if you’re a more visual person. Like freelancer websites, you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for and have a ton of options to choose from all in one place. You’ll be able to vet each freelancer to find the best designer for the best price.
However, if you’re not willing to pay a little more, using a portfolio website may not be the option to find a T-shirt designer. You’ll have to pay the third-party website for using the service as well as the artist for providing the graphics.
Crowdsourcing websites provide a collection of information, images, graphics, ideas, and other types of work. They connect people, companies, and brands with a wide selection of assets to choose from. Crowdsourcing websites are great for short- and long-term projects and for sourcing digital assets.
There are several different types of crowdsourcing websites that allow you to access the tools you need to grow your business. Some of the most popular are:
Crowdsourcing websites are a great option if you have an idea that you’d like to turn into a graphic design for your T-shirts. The design itself is the main focus, not necessarily who you’re working with. So, if you don’t have time to vet designers yourself, crowdsourcing websites are your best bet, especially if you have a small budget.
The one downside of using crowdsourcing websites is that there is the potential of generating lower-quality designs. Overall, it’s still an excellent source for finding the right design for you.
There are many places to advertise for a graphic designer for your T-shirts. Some of the most popular places to take out an ad are both digital and print, including:
- Social media
- Job sites like Indeed.com
- Local newspapers
Placing an advertisement could be the best option if you have a sizable budget. Plus, if you’re looking to work long-term with a designer, you can specify this in the ad to narrow down your hunt, which will also save you time!
If you don’t have a considerable budget, advertisements can be expensive, depending on which platform you choose. Be sure to do your research and try inexpensive options first before dropping a lot of money on an ad.
Word of Mouth
If you know people who work in graphic design or the T-shirt industry, you can always ask around. There are a ton of ways to get the word out through people that you know. Some of your best referrals can come from:
- Family members
One drawback is that you may not get the best of the best, but you will be able to hire someone more local who you can trust to get the job done. Plus, you’ll have someone on hand that you can reach out to for short- or long-term projects.
Contact a Design Agency
If you have the budget and are looking to go all out, contact a design agency. These companies specialize in providing specific graphics created by professionals for short- and long-term projects, which are often contract-based.
Not sure where to find a design agency that’s right for you? There are many reputable nationwide companies to look into, such as:
- Byte Technology
- Lollipop Design Studio
- Cosy Design, Inc.
- Thrive Design
If you’re working with a larger budget and want the best quality possible, a design firm might be your best bet. Plus, if you think you’ll need ongoing projects that require additional digital or marketing assets, having an agency handle the legwork could be a lifesaver.
You’ll want to keep these long-term or ongoing projects in mind if you decide to go this route. Design agencies often give you much longer deadlines and cost more than a freelance T-shirt graphic designer, making it difficult to roll over fast profit.
Look on Social Media
Social media is a great choice if you’re a visually-oriented person who has the time to dedicate to some research. The best thing about looking on social media for freelance T-shirt designers is that you probably already follow plenty! You can start by staking out your own feed. I logged on to mine and right away found a few accounts that I love, like Hardworth Design (@hardworthdesign), Day Blues (@_day.etc.icc), and D E M O N I C (@dhamas_). You can also search relevant hashtags, like #tshirtdesign, and reach out to artists that interest you or scroll the feed for inspiration.
One drawback is that the graphic design world is very oversaturated, so finding what you’re looking for can be challenging. Or, you may find that there are too many great ones to choose from! Either way, social media is one of the most organic ways to find the right T-shirt designer for you and can be a great resource.
If you have friends, family members, or acquaintances with a graphic design background, collaboration can be the most rewarding way to obtain graphics for your T-shirts.
Working closely with others can be creatively inspiring and helpful when it comes to speeding up the production process. You’ll eventually want to maximize exposure for marketing, and remember that you’ll be sharing profits, so be prepared to make monetary decisions as a team. Also, be sure that you have the time, dedication, and patience to do the outreach.
For fashion design in general, collaborating with another artist or entrepreneur can be pretty lucrative. The skate and streetwear brand Supreme, for example, has done numerous collabs, famously with living artists as well as those who’ve passed, like Keith Haring.
In-House Designers from Your Supplier's Company
Depending on your T-shirt supplier, you may be able to use one of their in-house designers. This will definitely require a more sizable budget but is a nice option if you cannot (or don’t want to) do the research yourself.
Graphic teams for print on demand can offer various services, varying from original illustrations to file editing. If you’re okay with using a style that may appear on other T-shirt brands, then this could be great for you! But, if you’re looking for something truly unique, another option may better suit your needs.
Find the Graphic Designer Within
If you already have a vision for what you’re looking for, why not try it yourself? There are many free apps and software you can utilize to create impressive, unique, and creative designs that will sell. My go-to is Canva, which offers an endless amount of graphics, stock photos, fonts, marketing tools, and more. Other great choices for beginners and pros alike are:
Just remember that when you’re the graphic designer, T-shirt seller, and company owner, it can be tough to juggle all the different hats. But, if you have time to do it all, you can definitely kill it in the online game.
Find Your Designer and Start Customizing Apparel
Now you know all of the best ways to find freelance T-shirt designers for hire. Your next step is to determine which option(s) work best for you and your business needs. Use this blog post to help you find the right designer and start selling your custom T-shirts on Printbest today!