How to Design Apparel in Photoshop

How to Design Apparel in Photoshop

Photoshop is one of the most popular tools used to create designs for any apparel – including shirts, shorts, pants, and even shoes. Mastering the software may take some time, but you will definitely enjoy the process.

If you want to start designing apparel in Photoshop, we made a short but helpful guide you can use.

Step 1: Plan your design.

Before you even boot your computer, plan your design. Use a sketchbook or any piece of paper that you have. Make sure that the design has all the details that you need – like logos, company names, symbols, and anything else that you or your client specifies.

Step 2: Open Photoshop and start drafting your design there.

You need a blank canvass for your design. For the best printing results, graphic design experts suggest that you use a 150 x 150px canvass.

There are two common ways to go about designing an apparel in photoshop: you can either scan your drawing and enhance it using the software’s tools; or you can use the tools to recreate an electronic version of the device. Choose whichever you are more comfortable with. The scanning technique is usually best if you have limited graphic design skills.

However, if you have enough money to pay for more advanced tools, like a drawing tablet, you can also use that to trace your design.

Step 3: Put your design on a mock-up.

It is important to see how your design will turn out once it is actually on a piece of clothing. Since it is very expensive to do a test print, you can download a mock-up, or a 3d version of a clothing. There are tons of these on the Internet, and you can easily find one that matches your desired cloth color and material.

Once you have found the right mock-up, place the design over it. Adjust it to make it look like it is actually printed on the shirt.

Step 4: Make necessary adjustments.

If you don’t like how your design looks on the shirt, make the necessary adjustments. Make sure that the colors and elements work well together. After you’re finished, you can position it on the mock-up again to see how it would turn out.

Step 5: Do a test print.

This is the best way for you to see how your apparel would actually turn out. Check the material of the apparel and the type of ink used to make sure you get your desired outcome. If you don’t like the way it turned out, talk to the person in charge of the printing so he can make the necessary adjustments.


Be patient with yourself as you create a design in Photoshop. As mentioned earlier, it takes time to master the software and figure out how to design a shirt in Photoshop. Don’t rush and don’t poison yourself with negative thoughts if you are not able to come up with the design you want. With a little more time and practice – you’ll surely be able to polish up your design skills and create impressive works of art.