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Top 11 T-Shirt Design Software You Should Try in 2022

Top 11 T-Shirt Design Software You Should Try in 2022

By daniele

Lately, the custom t-shirt industry has taken a big leap in online retail sales, and with this, thousands of easy-to-edit mockup templates have appeared on dozens of new websites.

In fact, there are many graphic design programs to choose from today, so it can be tricky to decide which one is right for you. Here we list the best design tools that get the job done while teaching you useful skills and showing you the amazing designs you can create. On the other hand, to make your decision easier, this article will discuss:

  • Essential features of graphic t-shirt design tools
  • The top 11 t-shirt design software you should try
  • Tips on creating a framework for your first designs

11 Tools to Design Your T-Shirts

1. PlaceIt

This is an in-browser t-shirt design tool that comes with a large stock of design templates and offers its own t-shirt orders. PlaceIts main strength is its easy-to-use interface, quick setup, and large library of quality vector clipart.

So if you have an idea for a t-shirt and a clever design concept, this software is perfect for creating simple mockups that you can make quickly without managing every pixel. You can mix and match your assets until you have a functional and unique design.


  • In-browser tool without any required installation
  • Easy-to-use and comprehensive interface
  • Library of premium design clip art
  • Free to export designs anywhere


  • Access to some features is behind a paywall
  • No mockup t-shirt templates to measure your design on
  • No tools for image and design manipulation

2. Adobe Photoshop

This is perhaps the most extensive and recognized professional software at your disposal, although when considering this option, you should be aware that it requires advanced skills and is one of the most expensive options on this list.

Moreover, the Photoshop toolkit offers a world of customization for brush strokes, layers, blending, and image effect creation that you probably won’t find anywhere else.

It also has more design versatility than other Adobe products, although it doesn’t work with vector graphics, so you will have some limitations when printing. However, it will be possible to create designs for DTG printing but not screen printing or embroidery.

Finally, if you have purchased the Adobe Creative Cloud service, you can get a discount on your complete package, including Adobe Illustrator and Lightroom. The costs involved, of course, are the most significant disadvantage.


  • Extensive toolkit and plugins for layering, large brush art, and image editing
  • Trusted brand with high-quality tutorials and services
  • No limitations for creating pixel artwork of any kind


  • Takes a long time and patience to master
  • High recurring subscription costs
  • No t-shirt design templates, assets, or images
  • Does not work with vector graphics; limits printing options


This is an affordable Photoshop alternative. It is free, tech-savvy t-shirt design software that is open source. It has many of the same features.

The only difference comes down to the age-old question: Android or Apple, Coke or Pepsi? GIMP is known for being on par with Adobe’s services in terms of community support, tutorials, and add-on features.

GIMP offers a lot of freedom for third-party add-ons, although since many add-ons are available for free, you should apply healthy scrutiny to determine which ones are optimal and useful.

Also, it is not designed exclusively for T-shirt design, but you can easily find a template online and place it under your graphic. In the end, the tools and functions are respectable and have everything you need to start designing: change colors, add text, draw designs, work with blending modes, etc. 


  • Free software that can match high-end graphics tools
  • Available on all OS devices: Mac, Windows, Linux
  • High community involvement and open-source features


  • Expect an initial steep learning curve
  • Third-party plugins are not as reliable as paid software
  • Difficulty working well with large-scale images and layers
  • Lacks support for vector graphics, limits printing options

4. Adobe Illustrator

A complete image editing interface was created for high-end commercial products, infographics, and brand logos. It’s one of the most comprehensive tools we’ve seen so far. In fact, it’s the program you’ll see used by many professional designers.

If your goal is to design T-shirts, Illustrator is a software that excels in a couple of crucial aspects: the complexity of measuring fine details, manipulating complex shapes, creating patterns, and finishing high-resolution images.

Illustrator is the prime Adobe vector tool for a reason—you can easily size, shape, and manipulate your designs without compromising the quality and export an image file for any print method.

If you’re leaning more toward paying for a versatile Adobe editing tool to use in multiple projects, we’d recommend Photoshop, but if you’re looking to become a commercial graphic designer, Illustrator is the better option.


  • Top-of-the-line vector editing software with unparalleled tools and features
  • Great for shapes, patterns, and designs with a high print detail
  • High community involvement, from minor issue fixes to full-scale tutorials


  • Takes a long time and patience to master
  • High recurring subscription costs
  • No t-shirt design templates, assets, or images
  • Requires a capable hardware set-up to operate without issues

5. CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW is a great mix of variety. From a design point of view, this software is one of the most professional options, as it works as a vector graphics design tool but has flexibility for other formats. On the other hand, it prioritizes an easy-to-learn environment and is more beginner-friendly than other high-end tools.

Certainly, with the additional benefits, you will have to expect a higher cost, but if you have the funds to invest, it is worth it. Their website offers several unique subscription types depending on the degree of usage, from CorelDRAW Essentials to the full corelDRAW Graphics Suite.

Finally, it excels as an excellent visual marketing software and manages to offer thousands of art assets, unique fonts, and images, as well as easy editing tools for your own photos.


  • Great for creating detailed mock-ups
  • Easy-to-learn with added tips and tutorials
  • Library of premium design assets and images
  • Access to extensive editing tools for any product type


  • High purchase and subscription costs compared to competitors
  • The number of features makes some tools less developed than others
  • The quality of file exports and imports has received some negative feedback

6. T-shirt Designer

Living up to its title, this free app is used to create custom T-shirts for Windows 10 and features excellent pre-made templates, such as crew neck, V-neck, and polo shirts.

T-shirt Designer allows you to upload images, draw with a selection of brushes, and work with all sides of the T-shirt. Create custom designs, shapes, and patterns with back and front views. 

Nonetheless, you may find the final design editing a bit limited in scope, as some interface options are not up to par with others on this list. This software is great for previews and creating a proof-of-concept design, but don’t expect to play with fine details and intricate measurements.


  • Multiple t-shirt templates
  • Freeform brush editing and color options
  • All-around front-and-back designing


  • Lacks useful editing features like saving, an undo button, and print formatting
  • Real-time preview is not available – you must edit dimensions before placement

7. InkScape

InkScape is a more practical and flexible general graphic design tool preferred by many professional designers. While similar to GIMP, InkScape is praised as a high-end freeware alternative.

In addition, it is designed specifically for vector editing, allowing you to export images in various sizes for high-quality designs. 

InkScape’s features include a wide range of dynamic font options, stylized effects, and measurement tools. Most importantly, InkScape will export vector images in a screen-printable format.


  • Suitable for multiple fabric printing methods
  • Comprehensive design tools
  • Easily converts pixel bitmaps to vector images
  • Compatible with all major OS systems


  • Initial learning curve
  • No t-shirt templates and previews

8. Fatpaint

It is a free tool that has a huge library of almost a thousand fonts, original templates, and hundreds of clipart images. You can also use it to create dynamic 3D-modeled images to help you fully conceptualize your piece.

In this interface, many templates have been created by the community, allowing you to select unique concepts not found anywhere else. Fatpaint is a fairly simple design tool but has the ability to create original art and incorporate multiple assets.

While its website looks outdated and displays ads cluttering the interface, all of its core features remain free, including its large number of product templates.


  • Massive range of t-shirt designing templates
  • All-in browser app with a quick start-up
  • Total focus on creating product designs and images


  • Outdated website UI with longer load times
  • Required sign-up, guest version might not load properly
  • Ads and affiliate partnerships clutter the workspace

9. Design’N’Buy

This tool has a straightforward interface with a competitive set of design features. Moreover, it is preferred by many online stores when talking about t-shirt design. Design’N’Buy is a smart t-shirt design platform that offers e-commerce store integrations and publishes useful articles to help you during multiple stages of development.

With this software, you can rely on 360° preview tools, resolution metrics, and controlled graphic editing that allows you to overlay and lock specific elements. Its library includes a variety of fonts, clipart, and color options.


  • Full business integrations and product previews
  • Website team offers a support network and helpful articles
  • Integrated web-to-print technology


  • Design templates are not their sole focus
  • The free demo excludes some site features
  • Platform expects you to work within their service framework

10. Krita

This is undoubtedly another powerful, zero-cost graphics design alternative that can be used to place images and edit t-shirt designs. It is also an open-source, digital painting-centric software that truly excels in creative image editing.

Krita allows you to apply your creative skills by experimenting with multiple customizable tools: brush control, color and blending modes, opacity controls, and effect controls.

All this is combined with simple tutorials for beginners and a free creative photo editing interface. Another highlight of this interface is its ability to seamlessly create your own patterns that work well with a wrap-around design.


  • Highly customizable creative design tools
  • Open-source and cross-platform compatible
  • Great for tweaking ready-made photos and images


  • Large projects are prone to performance issues
  • Expect a slight learning curve
  • Lack of t-shirt templates and comprehensive typography tools

11. GraffixPro Studio

The last spot is taken by a paid design software that is unique thanks to the fact that its key features are specifically focused on creating custom t-shirts for online retail, even if you are a complete beginner.

GraffixPro has an extensive library of unique designs and templates, fonts, and images. In its own words, it is made to simplify custom t-shirt creation and aims to maximize your earning potential.

Likewise, it offers additional features such as inventory management, a quote generator, and barcoding.

So if you’re looking to manage t-shirt design without getting your hands dirty, GraffixPro makes the design process easy. Note that you can still manipulate the details and edit your artwork, but the goal is to make sure your designs can be published and sold without much effort.


  • Made for personalized t-shirt designs on a business level
  • Create custom t-shirt designs quickly and easily
  • Simple-to-use interface with little-to-no prior knowledge needed


  • Limits the use of more intricate graphics design tools
  • Has a high purchase cost
  • Less design control and fewer design assets than competitors