Design is a tricky thing. It’s subjective, can be difficult to define, and it’s often used as an excuse for something that’s not quite right or good enough. But what does good design look like? Here at ICON, we work with our clients and tailor the experience based on your needs: from design, choosing the most appropriate base garment and printing techniques, right down to the final product. Here’s our list of top tips breaking down the basic elements of good design and how your business can engage with these for your next custom-made merchandise orders.

Good design is innovative. 

Innovative design is the best design, because it’s most relevant to the customer and their needs. When defining design in terms of proprietary artwork and company branding, continuous innovation within your decision of typography, juxtaposition of colours, graphic choice and placements is a key way to differentiate from the crowd. Our clients at Minor Figures did just that, with their unique use of elegant typography and targeted use of playful yet minimal graphics which address their target customer’s needs, have created a design that is one of the most effective within their operating industry.

Aesthetic plays a large role in design

Design is a way of communicating. It’s how we share things with each other and how we express ourselves, our ideas and feelings. Without design, us humans would find things mundane and utilitarian, and effectively remove the joy of effectively connecting with a brand/business. To make complete use of your design, consider implementing traditional design principles such as utilising white spaces, playing with proportions and creating patterns. Top tip: patterns are a great way of giving your design that extra bit of oomph and are extremely pleasing on the eyes, for more, why not check out: The Power of Colour.

On T-shirts, utilising aesthetic company designs and artwork further encourages your customers to wear your personalised merchandise often and in settings your brand may not be able to organically reach, building an even stronger force of brand awareness your way.  

Quietness is a sign of quality

It’s quiet when you don’t have to shout to be heard and it’s quiet when there are no extraneous sounds coming from your design, whether they’re in the form of too many colours, mismatched fonts or other distractions. Minimal design is a classic style of design that is characterised by simplicity, clean lines, and a monochromatic palette of colour enhanced with accents, and one that will live on beyond its time. Famously seen with luxury brands like Hermes, the sleek choice of typography and intricacy in line design make it easy to associate with and timeless in nature. Similarly, consider using symbols where possible to keep your designs clean and feeling minimal, and for the ultimate accompanying fonts, read our infamous article on: The most Successful Typefaces, backed by Science.

Good design is as little design as possible 

It doesn’t need to be complicated, just do the job well. In a world where we are bombarded by design sub-genres, styles and trends, it can be hard to differentiate what makes one good design different from another. While there may be no easy answer (it depends on who you ask), there is one thing all good design has in common: it’s as little design as possible. It’s about being honest and authentic— and designing something that’s still beautiful and meaningful but still fitting the formality of the nature of your customer, product, service or industry offering.

So the takeaway is, good design is good design. But not just any old good design—it has to be innovative and make sense in context, whilst making use of our favourite design elements. In other words, it’s not just a matter of making what looks good, but what makes you feel good. 

Keen on finding out how we can take your dream merchandise designs and make them a reality? Get in touch with a member of our sales team at or click here for an Instant Quote