Using Fonts To Make Awesome T-Shirt Designs (Illustrator CS5/6) –


Hi there, welcome to!

My name is Gary. I have been working as a brand graphic designer for 20 years now, and I am here to share my wealth of knowledge with you. I teach people how to design, market, and promote their t-shirt business.

Today, I am going to write this blog about font driven t-shirts.

Now in case you don’t know what this is, then let me remind you that these are t-shirts, where the artwork is based on fonts.

So, have a look at this t-shirt:

When you are doing these types of t-shirts, then you are not working with an artist, and it does not take a lot of drawing, photoshopping, and doing a whole lot of other crazy stuff. So, pretty much everything that you need here is fonts.

Let me take you to a place where you can get tons of great fonts.

So, this is

This is where you get the fonts. Now, even if you use artwork, then you also have to use fonts along with it, in many cases.

So, all the fonts are categorized here:

You can see all types of fonts, such as Mexican fonts, for example:

Medieval fonts:

You get a lot of options here, and there are pages upon pages for each font.

Also, I am going to show you a website that has tons of good t-shirts, and this is going to give you a feeling of the stuff that we are doing.

So, this is the website,

Here, you can see a ton of t-shirts:

This one in particular, is very interesting to look at, like this “If You Snooze You Lose” t-shirt:

So, I am going to do a different version of this, and I will use a vector-based solution called Adobe Illustrator. You can also use Inkscape, but I am going to use Illustrator.

Let’s get into it!

I have already had this t-shirt, and I am going to use this as my reference:

Now, let’s go back to, and I am going to show you where you can get almost the same font.

Under the fancy heading, I am going to click on the “Horror” category:

And here it is, the second font in the horror category and the font itself is called the “Feast Of Flesh”:

I am going to download this by clicking on the “Download” button:

The font was downloaded in a matter of seconds on my desktop:

Now, I am going to right-click on it and click on “Extract All”:

Provide the location and click on “Extract”:

It’s done. The extraction is complete!

Now, I will double click on the “Font” folder, and you can see that there are two files here:

Click on those files to preview the font:

Now, I did not see any difference in both of these files, except that the lower font is slightly more slanted:

I am going to choose the first one:

So double click on that, and click on “Install”:

The font is getting installed:

Now, I am not going to do the same thing with something that appears similar, but I am going to type “You Slow You Blow”:

I will go to the “Character” option, and I am going to select the “Feast of Flesh” font:

I am also going to select “Italic”:

So, I am going to create outlines, and I am going to the “Type” option on the menu bar and click on “Create Outlines”:

What will happen is that it will turn those fonts into shape, and we can play with this now:

So, I have done this:

As you can see, I have added one lighting object here:

To add the lightning bolt, I went to my pen tool, and I created a lightning bolt here:

So, I took it, and I put it right there along with the “You”.

This is pretty much the basis of the t-shirt. Also, one more thing that I added was this:

This was simple, and I just created a box using the pen tool:

I aligned it with my design:

Now, as you can see this design, it has some ridges to it:

So, I created my ridges, and I took the pencil tool and started drawing my ridges. Look at this:

That’s it!

Now, I am going to show you how to put this to go with our theme.

So, I am going to take my last word, which is “Blow”:

I will go to the “Pathfinder” option, and turn this into one shape using the “Unite” option:

Then I am going to select the “Make It A Compound Shape”:

Note: When turning a graphic into a compound shape, then it will make it one solid word. So, if you mask up something, it will go into the entire shape.

I will take our ridges, and put this on the word below:

I will now bring it to the front:

Now, I will go to the object, and I will click on the “Clipping Mask” and click on “Make”:

We have it right there, and then we are going to put it on our clipped graphic:

Once we have put this on, then we are going to send it to the back:

Now, we have something very similar here:

We have to do this for every single word:

Note: Just in case if you have any problem doing this for all the words, so all you have to do is to go to “Object”>> “Arrange”>> “Sent to Back”, and that’s it!

As you can see, this design has a kind of an outline to it:

So, I am going to take my old artwork:

I will fill this with color, and give it a thick stroke (I increased the stroke weight to 27pt).

Now, you can see that these strokes have these crazy sharp strikes, and we do not want those crazy spikes.

So, you can limit them from the “Stroke” options:

Those ugly and nasty spikes have now disappeared!

For the next step, we will go to “Object” >> “Path” >> “Outline Stroke”, and this outlines everything:

Now, we go to the “Pathfinder” option again, and click on “Unite”:

So, we make an outline here:

Now we can place it on our graphic:

We want it be similar, so we are going to the “Select” option >> “Same” >> “Fill Color”:

I will choose the “White” color here:

Now, I am going to select the whole graphic:

I will choose the “Eyedrop”, and put the same color on the shirt:

So, we have the same color on our new design:

It is done. Now that is a t-shirt, ladies and gentlemen!

This was my design from an inspiration from the Karmaloop. I do not suggest that you use styles like this, but this was just to show you how you can create t-shirts without photographs, designers, drawings, or anything like it. That’s how simple it is!