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The Difference Between A Great Graphic and a Great Graphic T-Shirt

by Brooks Chambers
art & design, featured

It takes a great graphic to make a great graphic t-shirt. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it’s not as simple as all that. In this clip from his class, Designing Graphic T-ShirtsBrandon Rike shares his thoughts about the line between a great graphic and a great graphic t-shirt:

“A good graphic could be anything. It could be really complicated and have all this detail and just be really beautiful to look at. You could make a poster out of it and hang it on your wall and kinda just stand there for a while just looking at all the ins and outs of this poster because it’s complicated and it works for that. So in that way, you could say it’s a good graphic.”

Designing Graphic T-Shirts

Image via Brandon Rike

But Brandon draws a line between a good, standalone graphic and a good garment.

“What I’m trying to do is design a great garment. If a great garment means all I have to do is write the band name really simple, then that’s all I’m going to do, because it’s a good garment…and that becomes someone’s favorite t-shirt.”

Designing Graphic T-Shirts

Image via Brandon Rike

Most of the time, your favorite t-shirt is pretty simple. Don’t feel like you need to overcomplicate what you make just to please a client or show them that you’ve done enough work. I don’t care if it took me five minutes – I want to make you a great t-shirt.”


Image via Brandon Rike

Watch the video above for examples of this principle in action. For more in-depth design lessons from Brandon Rike, check out his CreativeLive classes: Designing Graphic T-Shirts and Simple Methods for Custom Lettering, Adding Vintage and Distressed Effects with Photoshop, and Creating Custom Photoshop Brushes.

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Brooks Chambers

Brooks Chambers is an excitable design advocate and writer at CreativeLive. He loves people and the stuff they make.