When developing t-shirt designs, try to think of each idea or design as a part of a collection. Refrain from creating a collection that is all over the place; each t-shirt should flow into the next. If you’ve planned out your brand personality correctly, creating a flowing collection should be no problem. Maintaining a reoccurring theme or style is the easiest way to do this. (As seen in DQM New York’s past collections pictured below)
A line of t-shirts is similar to an artist’s portfolio. Having an artist’s background and going through multiple art schools, it was always stressed that your portfolio should be in sync, even though you may use different media depending on the assignment given. The same applies to your t-shirt collection. Although you might incorporate different styles into each design, there should always be a common ground.
Even something as simple as color scheme is a way to keep the collection in sync. How about making all your tees black and white? Or maybe entirely neon colors? Whatever you decide on to unify your t-shirts, make sure to keep it consistent for the first few releases.
We often hear the question, “Well how about such and such brand? Their t-shirts don’t look the same. You can’t even tell what their brand is about.” We used to think the same thing, but we soon realized that many of those brands actually did start off with a solid theme for each collection. They’ve just expanded to the point that they’ve already established the direction of their brand and are thus able to take on new themes and looks while maintaining their customer base.
Once you’ve proven yourself as an outstanding brand, you can literally do whatever you want and your customers will still throw money at you. Just look at some of the big-name brands on the store racks.