Design and Print a Skateboard Deck and T-Shirt

Today’s tutorial will focus on creating a brand for a fictitious skate company and also applying graphics to a skate deck and T-shirt. We’ll demonstrate how to achieve professional results every time – both items were actually printed using the tutorial techniques.

For screen-print fanatics, there’s an extra bonus; you’ll discover how the Apply Image command enables you to create knockouts and error-free spot colors without the need for expensive RIP software.

I would especially like to thank Steve over at Advertees for printing the shirts and providing invaluable technical advice.

Tutorial Details
  • Applications Used: Photoshop/Illustrator CS5
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Estimated Completion Time: 3h +

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Final Product What You’ll Be Creating

Stage 1 / Initial Design Concepts

A logo is the single most important marketing device for any company. A logo will appear in both web and print applications; it must also be designed in such a way so it can be applied to a variety of promotional products such as a brochures or T-shirts and work in color and mono as well as being legible at different sizes / from a giant billboard to a fax header; but above all the design must be simple and effective.

It’s good practice to always start off with some initial sketches no matter how rough to establish the basic design concept; some of my scribbles are shown below.

Here’s a couple of early logo experiments. It was at this point I decided to keep the branding in black and white.

Next, I started to strip away excess detail, to leave a clean typographic solution.

From here I worked up some rough ideas for the T-shirts using public domain vintage engravings, as well as free vectors found on the web. I wanted these designs to reflect 13’s core concept of superstition, phobia and fear / this also allowed room for additional designs based on the same theme.

I spent a lot of time on this rejected T-shirt design. The final choice was the Ace of spades design; which I had initially disregarded. On reflection, this was probably the strongest idea as it represented the brand perfectly.

Here’s final rough layout showing the logo, skate deck and T-shirt. This standard of visual is perfect for submitting to your client.

…and that’s the end of the preview!

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