Designing your own T-Shirt used to be an arduous process, but now it’s easier than ever. There is plenty of free and paid T-Shirt design software to help you start designing immediately. These tools let you upload your own images or choose from thousands of templates, change the color scheme to fit your brand, add text, and make your clothes look outstanding.
As usual, some of them are easier to work with, while others are more advanced. Still, there is something for everyone. Let’s not waste more time and see what our options are and then see our verdict.
1. Adobe Illustrator
|Capabilities: 5/5||Ease of use: 3/5||Value for money: 4.5/5|
Adobe Illustrator is the first “big gun” from Adobe. Adobe Illustrator is the industry-standard vector graphics software. Using Illustrator, you can easily create high-resolution vector graphics suitable for screen printing, embroidery, or any other printing method onto a T-Shirt. As a result, Illustrator is the best T-Shirt design software that you can use to create your own T-Shirt line and print it out on-demand anywhere in the world.
But it’s made from professionals to professionals. This is why to access its best capabilities, you should spend a lot of time learning the program. But don’t worry – there are plenty of online tutorials which can help you get on board. You can even check out our collection of 10 tutorials to master Adobe Illustrator
2. Adobe Photoshop
|Capabilities: 4/5||Ease of use: 4/5||Value for money: 4.5/5|
Adobe Photoshop is more versatile than Illustrator but still – it doesn’t perform that well with vector graphics. The good news is that Adobe improved the compatibility between Photoshop and Illustrator, so you will be able to use vectors. While it is not very favorable for all kinds of print, it’s actually quite pragmatic if you use DTG printing.
It’s easier to use than Illustrator, it has more features, and you can add more creativity to your T-Shirt designs. No matter which product you choose, in the right situation both are the top-rated solutions. Let’s not forget there are so many tutorials and templates for Adobe Photoshop.
|Capabilities: 4.5/5||Ease of use: 3.5/5||Value for money: 4/5|
CorelDRAW is one of the most capable platforms for T-Shirt design work. It is very rich in functions and different fonts, making it suitable for a big range of unique designs. On top of that, CorelDRAW has plenty of templates built for it, since it has been around for many years now.
It is quite capable in general but we have to mention it is not particularly made for such type of designs, so it is not perfect. Still, it holds a good value for money, since you can use it for professional T-Shirt design work.
CorelDraw is a amazing drawing tool, but is it better compared to Adobe’s Illustrator? We have a special article comparing both tools and all their features.
|Capabilities: 3/5||Ease of use: 4.5/5||Value for money: 4.5/5|
GIMP is open-source, free software that enables users to create and edit images. It is mainly a raster graphics editor but can be used with plug-ins and extensions for additional creative opportunities. You can get started using GIMP right away with its clean layout which makes it extremely easy to use and navigate through.
While it’s fairly easy for users, we still have to mention that it is not nearly as capable as Adobe’s or Corel’s alternatives. But given the fact you pay nothing to use it, you get more than enough for basic use. There are plenty of online tutorials, too.
|Capabilities: 4.5/5||Ease of use: 2.5/5||Value for money: 5/5|
Inkscape is an open-source, vector graphics editor that allows users to create a variety of different graphics formats. You can get Inkscape straight from the source, and it’s completely free. It’s on par with Illustrator for capabilities and you can get so much better results, once you get better.
There are two problems, though. There aren’t T-Shirt design templates for Inkscape and on top of that there aren’t many online tutorials, so it will be very hard for novice users to start using it. But there isn’t any design app nearly as good as Inkscape when it comes to free products.
|Capabilities: 3.5/5||Ease of use: 4.5/5||Value for money: 3.5/5|
Canva – the software which appears in any search, without being made for top-class designers. What’s the trick? With Canva, you have 4,000 T-Shirt templates to choose from, and almost half of those are completely free. And there are plenty of tutorials on how to create one.
While Canva is more than decent for T-Shirt design, we have to mention its limitation and a subscription price of $9.99/mo(paid annually) which is the same as the Photography plan in Creative Cloud. On top of that, you don’t have the IP rights of your T-Shirt designs which might become a problem at some point.
|Capabilities: 3.5/5||Ease of use: 4.5/5||Value for money: 4/5|
PlaceIt is one of the tools that can save clothing designers a lot of time and keep them enjoying the painting process. With many templates available, you can easily mock up your designs on T-Shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, etc.
We didn’t like that print-on-demand isn’t available as an option. On top of that, we can’t say there are many advanced font and color options. Priced at $7.47/mo on an annual plan, it’s not much more to ask for.
|Capabilities: 3/5||Ease of use: 4/5||Value for money: 3.5/5|
Printify is a very capable print-on-demand app. You can import your design from any software you like. The supported formats are JPG and PNG and the maximum file size is 50MB. The different suppliers provide different printing capabilities, so you need to check the supported colors in advance.
If you want to start an online store and sell apparel, Printify is going to be a great option, as it will significantly reduce your workload. You won’t have to think about fulfillment and shipping but you should have in mind the higher prices for each T-Shirt, and you can’t really create in-app designs.
|Capabilities: 4/5||Ease of use: 3.5/5||Value for money: 4/5|
Printful is arguably the biggest name in print-on-demand designs. It allows you to import designs, as well as create such from the platform. There are plenty of options on the website and even big names like Coca-Cola are using its services. One of the coolest features is that you can embroid logos, thus adding huge value to your brand.
It’s not all great. Like Printify, you have to pay a decent amount of your profit to the supplier, and the in-built design functionalities, despite having plenty of fonts and options, cannot match advanced apps like Illustrator and Photoshop.
10. GraffixPro Studio
|Capabilities: 4.5/5||Ease of use: 2.5/5||Value for money: 3/5|
GraffixPro Studio tries to combine the art of creating professional artwork with the comfort of printing, inventory, and order management all at the same place. This is an ambitious task and we have to admit there aren’t many apps out there that can fit everything in the T-Shirts design process – from creating a design to printing it, saving templates, etc.
The only shortcomings are the program is available only in the US and Canada and there isn’t any officially stated price on the website, though it is believed to be around $900 for a perpetual license.
Choosing T-Shirt design software is going to be hard. And not because there aren’t options available. It’s vice versa. It’s because of the plethora of programs that can do a great job! And still, some apps are better than others for different purposes. Let’s see our categories:
Best for unique artwork
- Adobe Illustrator ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Adobe Photoshop ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- CorelDRAW/Inkscape ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Best for templates
- Canva ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- PlaceIt ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Best free option
- Inkscape ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- GIMP ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Printful ⭐⭐⭐
- Printful ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Printify ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- GraffixPro Studio ⭐⭐⭐⭐
If you find our review useful, you can also check some of our other articles that can help you make better T-Shirt designs:
- How to Design Your Own T-shirt: Best Practices & 40+ Examples
- 40 Trendy Free Fonts for Commercial Use in 2021
- What Are Stock Photos and Why You Should Use Them? [Master’s Guide]