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5 Design Tips for Your Custom Racing Shirts

by Steve Welk
5 Design Tips for Your Custom Racing Shirts

Design plays a major role in custom racing apparel, as it serves as a visual representation of your motorsports team's identity and brand image. Well-designed shirts not only help you stand out on race day, they also create a lasting impression on sponsors and fans.

But great designs don’t happen by accident. They’re often the result of a well-thought-out process that incorporates several key elements: understanding your brand, finding inspiration, and why and how to work with a professional designer, among others.

The trick is to let your creativity shine–and have some fun with it–while following some basic guidelines that will help ensure your custom racing shirts make a powerful statement while standing out from the crowd.    

1. Understanding Your Motorsports Brand

The first step in creating a strong design for your racing apparel is to understand your brand. Think about what you like and try to create designs that match your style. Remember, you want your design to reflect who you are. Put it this way: Flames aren’t cool… unless they are. It’s up to you to determine what design best aligns with your brand identity, i.e., the personality of your team and how it comes across.

Once you have a clear understanding of your brand, it's important to consider your target audience. Are you designing racing apparel for yourself or for a team? Understanding who will be wearing your designs can help you tailor your design choices to their needs and preferences. 

Additionally, researching current trends and styles in racing apparel can provide inspiration and guidance for your own designs. Keeping an eye on the latest trends can help ensure that your racing apparel stands out and appeals to your intended audience. 

2. Keep Your Racing Shirt Design Simple

Having too many elements can make your design look messy and confusing. For instance, incorporating flames, argyle patterns, and a dragon head all in one design is going to be too much. Instead, choose one strong focal point that represents the essence of your style. This approach (opting for simplicity) will make your design unique and easily recognizable.

A good example is the design concept behind AO Racing’s Rexy, which incorporates a primary image–the car–with a prehistoric “world” built around it. This design uses a singular dominant focal point but never goes overboard with too many secondary elements.

Similarly, when it comes to color choices, oftentimes less is more. Selecting a limited color palette can create a cohesive and visually pleasing design. Too many colors can be overwhelming and distract from your overall message. Consider using complementary colors or shades of the same color to add depth and interest to your design.

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3. Find Inspiration For Your Custom Racing Apparel

When searching for inspiration, don't be afraid to look at different styles, industries, sports, or even eras. Rather than simply copying someone else's style, however, use their work as a starting point to create something unique. Remember, originality is key.

At Styled Aesthetic, we invite clients to send us previously used designs that inspire or resonate with them to help us develop new creations. 

Incorporating elements from the past can also add a touch of nostalgia and authenticity to a design. One example is Paul Miller Racing, which used a vintage T-shirt design from the Long Beach Grand Prix to create a victory celebration shirt for the team’s three wins in a row. 

Consult a Designer Before You Make Custom Printed Apparel

If you have design concepts in mind, it’s a good idea to discuss them with a professional designer; you can benefit from their expertise and gain valuable insights on how to bring your vision to life. 

A good designer can provide feedback and guidance to ensure that your design not only looks visually appealing but also works effectively on the medium you intend to use, whether it's a poster or a T-shirt. Just understand that while a poster design you like may in fact translate well to a T-shirt, you will likely have to make some changes to the design in order for it to really work; one successful crossover is the SRO COTA Poster and Poster Tee, whose shared design is adjusted appropriately.

When working with a designer, it's also important to communicate your vision and goals clearly. The better you communicate, the better equipped they’ll be to help you refine your ideas and provide input to enhance your design. 

Additionally, designers should be up to date on the latest design trends and technologies, making sure that your design remains fresh and relevant. They typically have a solid understanding of things like color theory, typography, and layout, which they can use to help you create a design that captures attention and conveys your brand's personality. Working with a professional can also help you save time and avoid costly mistakes, as they have the skills and experience to navigate potential challenges and provide effective solutions.

Have Fun With Your Racing Team’s Shirts

Designing custom racing shirts should be a fun and imaginative process, allowing you to infuse your own creativity and passion into every design. Don't be afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of traditional designs.

This is your chance to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas that match your unique brand. Remember, the goal is to enjoy yourself while creating something that represents who you are. Let your imagination run wild, and have fun at every stage.

That said, never forget that your brand is far more than just a logo on a shirt. You shouldn’t waste your time with people who don't grasp the essence of your business. Instead, schedule a free discovery call with us and experience the difference of working with a company that truly understands motorsports and offers a complete solution for your team apparel and fan merchandise.
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