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Last updated on May 23rd, 2022 at 07:14 pm

For those who dread to design a t-shirt for fundraising in your school, church or non-profit organization, don’t fret anymore. This guide will help you everything you need for a great looking t-shirt that sells! A fabulous and well designed shirt is key to a fundraising apparel store success. We hope you will stick around in this post to get some tips!

Establish Your Goal and Audience

When you design a T-shirt for fundraising, set goals about the campaign. First, are you designing a shirt to raise money, promote brand awareness or a cause? Next, definite your target audience. These will be your supporters, patrons and customers. By setting your goal and defining your audience will drive many design decisions on the process. So, it is important to get these questions answered before anything else. 

What's Your Message?

As in any good marketing piece, a clear message is important . Similarly, t-shirt designs are the same way. Many popular shirt designs are straightforward but they have something in common: a simple and powerful message. You may start by brainstorming some key elements in your brand, it can be a logo, slogan, quote, hashtag, image. Furthermore, decide ahead of time what information needs to be included in the design so they won’t be left out in your drafts. 

Logos and Images

Any great t-shirt designs will require good quality logo files to produce the prints that you’d expect. For most types of t-shirt printing methods, you will need a vector logo for the sharpest print effect. It is because vector files consist of lines instead of dots, which will create the smooth lines of the imprint. Vector files usually have extension of .eps, .ai or .pdf. If you are not a graphic designer, you will most likely not be able to open an .eps or .ai, but your graphic designer or marketing department will probably have that logo format saved. PNG, JPG files are more common but they are only good for mockup purposes.

photoshop raster image for shirt printing
This image is 1″ x 1″ at 300 dpi, so it will be too small to print on a t-shirt.

Additionally, if you are including any images on your design, it can either be in vector format or raster format. You will need .eps, .ai or .pdf for vector, and a high resolution .psd file for the latter. Rasterized images consist of dots, instead of lines in vector files. Depending on how large you intend to use the image, you will need to make sure the image contains the correct number of pixels. For example, a 5″ x 5″ image at 300 dpi will require a minimum of 1500 pixels x 1500 pixels. Use a photo imaging program such as Adobe Photoshop to inspect the quality of the image before using it in the design.

Knowing the best format for each type of graphic elements will be an important factor in determining how good the print will look.

T-Shirt Typography

The fonts in the design affect greatly how it comes together. There are 3 types of fonts: serif, san serif, and script. Serif and script fonts look classic, while san serif can look more modern.

Using an interesting and fun font is a great way to add interest to the design. On the contrary, a clean looking serif font can make a simple message stand out too. For the best readability, any important message should be communicated in a clear manner. Check out some popular font pairings for inspiration.

T-Shirt Colors

Shirt colors is an important factor why many people purchase a shirt. In addition, the shirt color will also affect how much the imprint will stand out. So you can see, choosing t-shirt colors is quite an important decision!

On our pop-up fundraising apparel store, we allow up to 3 shirt colors for each design. So if you are printing white or a light color, any dark color shirts will work and standout. We always advise clients to refer to their branding guide in choosing the best t-shirt colors for their logo. In most cases, including black, navy, or dark grey color shirts is always wise because they are neutral colors that would appeal to most people. 

Imprint Methods and Colors

spot vs cmykThere are 2 most popular methods in t-shirt printing: screen print and direct to garment (DTG). Screen printing uses a porous mesh screen that has an ink blocking stencil transferred onto it. For screen printing method, spot ink colors are used, and you may hear people referring to them using Pantone (PMS) colors. They are specifically mixed ink that printers use to print on different materials, including t-shirts. Using spot colors ensure that you get the same shades every time.

On the other hand, direct to garment uses a method similar to the desktop inkjet printers. It uses CMYK inks which creates all the colors in the spectrum using the same 4 colors – cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The greatest advantage is ability to print any realistic photo or image. However when printing a brand logo that is in specified Pantone colors, the colors may vary each time since spot inks are not used. 

T-Shirt Imprint Positions

Last but not least, you will decide your imprint position. Where you place the design has a lot to do with the design and shapes of the graphic elements.

Most design utilizes the large center of the shirt. If the design is long and thin, printing it across the front maybe more preferable. Some design looks better in a smaller print in chest / pocket area. Another great place is back of the shirt. It is where you can really showcase the message.

You can play around with different options and decide what is best. Regardless of the shirt size, the imprint size will stay the same. Therefore when sizing the imprint, we do not recommend stretching it to the maximum because it will look huge on the smaller sizes, and vice versa.


We hope that this guide can help you start to design a t-shirt for fundraising. The best thing about starting pop-up fundraising apparel store with Garuda Promo? We can help you with the design! Contact us with your idea and we will do the rest!

Questions You’ve Asked About Fundraising T-Shirt Designs

What makes the best fundraising t shirt design? As we said earlier, a clear message is vital! You want to make sure that it’s a strong design that convey a simple, yet powerful message. Many fundraisers choose to put their logo, message, or slogan as the design. These are all excellent choices!

What is a T-Shirt fundraising campaign? A t-shirt fundraising campaign is a way for your school, club, organization to raise money for a specific cause. By designing a t-shirt and selling it you can earn money for support. Examples of t-shirt fundraising campaigns include a club wanting to earn funds for an upcoming trip or a school wanting to earn money to build a new playground. Whatever the cause is you’re trying to earn money for, a t-shirt fundraising campaign is a great way to make it happen! Remember the first step is making the t-shirt design.

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About the Author

Shirley Ho

Shirley is the co-founder of Garuda Promo and Branding Solutions. With a background in print production and graphic design, she specializes in promotional products marketing, creating end-products that aligns with her client's marketing goals and brand strategy.

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