There are many tools out there that you can use to make great designs. I personally use one called Gimp. You can download it here.
It's basically the same as Photoshop but is free. You can do some really crazy pro stuff with it but for us, the basics are more than enough to make great selling designs.
Teespring Designing is a skill. Overtime you learn that there needs to be a balance between going crazy with colors and art and keeping your costs low. The more colors you add, the more it's going to cost you to make which means the higher you'll have to charge your customer. This leads to less sales and ultimately contributes to unprofitable campaigns.
At the start, you'll probably come up with some design ideas that have a lot of colors in them. You need to be making designs with 1-3 colors. This will ensure your costs are low and in most cases you can make a $10 profit on tees priced at $20. A $10 margin for marketing to make a sale is pretty good.
Below I'm going to cover some simple techniques using Gimp to get you up to speed.
Colors -> Invert
Lets you flip the colors to the opposites on the color spectrum. A cool little trick to change black pics to white and vice versa. Handy when you want the same design but on a darker or lighter shirt where you'll be using either a black or white design.
Cut and Paste
I normally print screen, copy over to paint and select the part of the pic I want. Then, when pasting into Gimp,
Right Click -> Edit -> Paste as -> New Layer.
The shortcut to this is Right Click -> e -> a -> l
This pastes it as a new layer so you can begin editing it straight away.
This took me a while to figure out and can only be learned be playing around with the software itself. Basically think of it as a big burger, (imagine looking at it sideways). Each layer is a layer of food. Eg, lettuce, bun, meat, etc.
By working on a particular layer, you're effectively working on a specific food. If you were to delete a layer you will delete a food. This allows you to tweak a small portion of the overall design without effective the rest. You can also switch pictures from the back to the front and vice versa. It allows things to be much more customizable and ultimately lets you come back to the template of the design and tweak it to suit something else.
Again, you can only learn this by playing around with the layers
Fuzzy Select Tool
This is equivalent to Photoshops 'magic wand' tool. A pretty neat little tool that allows you to select a color or a set of colors which you can then alter or delete. I've explained this further in the tutorial video.
Self explanatory. You might want to download more free fonts. Search these in google and see if you like any.
Rotate Tool, (Shift and R)
This tool basically rotates the picture. Ads a cool effect to your design.
Scale Tool, (Shift + T). Self explanatory. Just remember that if you enlarge it too much you can pixelate/blur the image.
Effectively duplicating the pic on that specific layer. Just select the layer, right click and press 'u'.
When saving to upload on to your Teespring campaign, click export and save it as a png file.
If you want to save the template so you can open it up and play around with it later, click 'save as' and save it.
Use a 640 x 400 pallet OR 960 x 600. Depends on how big your designs are.
If you know this much and practice it over a weekend, you should be able to make designs on the fly which is a REALLY handy skill to learn if you're serious about an online business.
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