How to Make the Most of a One-Color T-shirt Design

When you’re talking about screenprinted T-shirts, more colors mean more money. To keep costs down, many marketers opt for a one-color design on their promotional T-shirt. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Here are 5 ways to end up with a super creative shirt design with only one ink color:

Method 1: Choose a color shirt!

Texas A&M University - Central Texas / Warrior Kids Promotional Shirt in Multiple Colors

Why? A white t-shirt is sort of a no-brainer for an inexpensive shirt. But did you know a color shirt with a one-color design is actually cheaper than a white shirt with multiple ink colors? There are shirts available in almost any color of the rainbow these days, so pick a fun color that suits your brand and make a splash!

Extra Cost: Less than a white T-shirt with multiple ink colors!


Method 2: Use a distressed effect for a trendy vintage look.

Why: Retro and vintage designs are very IN right now. It’s a simple process to add a distressed effect to your logo or message to make your shirt look more like something the cool kids would wear.

Extra Cost: None. It’s all done in the art file itself, and it doesn’t cost a thing.


Method 3: Be creative with “negative space”.

UMHB Promotional Shirt in one-color


Why? Use the color of your shirt as a “second” color in your design. Your logo could be “cut out” of the middle of a shape (your home state, or another shape relevant to your organization). It gives your imprint a big impact with out adding ink colors!

Extra Cost: None.


Method 4: Go for subtly with tone-on-tone.

Why: It’s trendy, saves you money, and makes your shirt extra wearable and hip! Tone-on-tone refers to the low contrast between the color of the shirt and the imprint color. Simply select an imprint color that’s a shade or two lighter (or darker) than your shirt color. BOOM!

Extra Cost: None, unless you need a very specific color for your imprint, which can cost anywhere from $25 to $60.


Method 5: Choose a unique shirt!

Why: Super soft shirts, V-neck shirts, 3/4 sleeve shirts, moisture-wicking shirts… the list of features is long. Invest your advertising dollars in a quality shirt your recipients will want to wear over and over, for maximum exposure — and no one will even notice or care it’s just a black or white imprint.

Extra Cost: Varies by shirt, but it’s built for attractiveness!


Bottom Line: While any one of these methods will give you some oomph, you might consider combining two or more. A tone-on-tone design that uses negative space and a distressed effect can bring a shirt design idea to life and make it THE hot promo item you’ve been looking for.

Need help creating a fun design for your promotional T-shirt? Call Perry Office Plus today: (800) 234-6605 or email for quotes and recommendations.

About Perry Office Plus
We're Central Texas' largest independent office products & furniture dealer and have been locally owned and operated since our establishment in 1920. Visit our website to shop for all your office supplies and call any of our fantastic Customer Service Reps if you have any questions or need help with your office products.

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