By The Graphic Edge • January 12, 2017

3 Tips for Designing On Digital

A few years ago digital camo burst onto the custom t-shirt scene and became a “must-have” for sports teams and booster clubs, particularly around patriotic holidays or military tribute games.

However, unlike the authentic military digital camouflage that inspired them, these shirts are meant to be seen rather than to blend in. And so, in a delicious bit of irony, everyone wanted to “be seen” in camouflage.

The popularity of digital camo has remained high and that has helped pave the way for other “digital” patterns that are less camouflage and more geometric or tech inspired, such as the Ultra Geo Print Featured on Augusta Sportswear’s Elevate Wicking T-Shirt and the Camo Hex fleece Hood from Sport Tek.

What all of these patterns have in common, along with traditional camo and tie-dye shirts, is that it can be tricky to keep your screen printed design from getting lost in the busy backdrop of the shirt. Fortunately, we have a few tips to make sure your artwork stands out when designing on digital.

1. Go Big or Get Lost

Small designs rarely look good on busy shirts. Even if you follow all the other tips below, your text, mascot, or logo is going to be lost in the visual blizzard of the shirt beneath it. So save the understatement for your embroidered company polos and let your design take up some space on your digital apparel.

2. Clash with Your Camo

The point of camouflage is to, well…camouflage things. But you really don’t want the camo or digital pattern of your shirt to hide your decoration. So make them clash with contrasting colors. We recommend choosing your decoration colors first (usually school or corporate colors) and then choosing a camo or digital pattern color that falls on the opposite side of the color wheel (here's a handy color wheel).

Outlines help decoration stand out on digital patterned shirts.You can also think in terms of “color temperature.” So if you choose “warm” colors such as yellow, orange, or red for your screen print, then choose a garment color from the “cold” side of the wheel (blue, grey, green) to make your decoration stand out.

3. Define With an Outline

Outlines are kind of a must if you want your design to be visible on a digital camo shirt. In most cases either a white or black outline is your best choice. Choose the outline to stand out against the shirt color and keep in mind that different parts of your design can have different outline colors.

There may be times when a color other than white or black will work to outline your design and set it off from the shirt, but you want to be careful not go get too many contrasting colors all mashed up together.

Designing For More Than Digital Camo

While the tips above were inspired by the popularity of custom digital camo shirts, they work just as well for a variety of other shirts with elaborate patterns, including:

  • Geometric Patterns
  • Tie Dyes
  • Traditional Camo
  • Carbon Fiber and Other Tech Patterns
  • Stripes and Extreme Heathers

Design Your Own Custom Digital Camo T-Shirt Now!

Ready to give our digital design tips a try? The button below will open the Badger 4108 Black Digital Camo T-Shirt in our online designer where you can use clipart and text to create your own design or upload your own artwork and see how it looks. You can also change the color of the shirt if black digital isn't your thing.

Have fun and let us know if we can help!

Design Your Digital Camo Shirt Now!