Design that tee for free

There’s a reason t-shirts took over the world, ever since they evolved from underwear to outerwear in the mid-20th century — they’re easy to wear, easy to wash, even easy to make. They’re also an easy choice for people who want to represent their group; be that a rock band, a sports team, a professional project or a branding campaign for your new company.

Before you start talking to graphic designers, you might try and design your own t-shirt. It’s easier than you think, especially with the range of software freely available online.

These tools can help you make eye-catching t-shirt designs using photos and illustrations. Many include clipart, background textures and text manipulation options to help you get the design just how you want it. You might even want to use more than one software to combine effects. If you want to 

Here’s our rundown of the best image editing and graphic design software — and it’s all free.


This open source image editor is specialised in vector graphics, making it the free counterpart to Adobe Illustrator. It’s among the most respected of free design software because of its huge range of advanced tools and effects, allowing you to make whatever t-shirt design you have in mind with useful features like path-based text.


You know Krita was made with designers in mind because they have a set of tutorials to guide you through the more complex aspects of the software. Created by artists and completely free, Krita includes customisable brushes and tools for you to fine-tune your designs, and is particularly suited to cartoon or comic-style illustrations.


The grand daddy of free photo editing and graphic design software, GIMP has long been the free alternative to Photoshop for millions of users. Stocked with customizable tools and updated regularly by its team of volunteers, GIMP is as good as you’ll get without spending a penny.


Graphic designers use CorelDraw for a range of vector designs. It’s particularly useful for t-shirts because it comes stocked with clipart and images that you can use, and has a clean, intuitive design. Some new users may find it difficult to learn, but there’s plenty of manuals and tutorials for budding designers.


This in-browser designer is made specifically for t-shirts, and is one of the easiest designers to use. There are hundreds of images included from various categories, and easy options to add names and numbers for shirts for your sports team or project group.

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Trials 

Here’s a bonus suggestion – taking advantage of the Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator free trials. There’s a reason Adobe is the leading industry standard for image editing — their tools are the best, and the updates keep coming. Adobe software is far from free, but both Photoshop and Illustrator come with free seven-day trials. If you’re just looking for a quick job, you might consider doing it on the best software out there.

Printing t-shirts or apparel? At ICON Printing we offer fast turnaround screen printing, DTG printing and embroidery with a wide-ranging catalogue from t-shirts to caps to bagsGet a quote in 2 minutes online.