Screen Printing Art Software

Screen Printing Art Software

It’s pretty obvious that the best printed t-shirts and clothing generally have designs which catch either your eye and/or your imagination. That is, they resonate with you on some level. Just think of those tees that you love or that stick in your memory. Without doubt, it’s the artwork that makes the initial impression. Yes, after that, you may consider the quality of the shirt, how it fits and so on. But it’s the graphic that registers first. So, what program do you use for screen printing artwork? After all, that’s how your concept becomes something that we can print on apparel. This piece on screen printing art software will look at what’s currently popular with folk who create great designs.

Tools to design a tee for screen printing.

Before going too much further, we ought to put out that there are plenty of computer programs available that are aimed at artistic endeavour. And they run the gamut from expensive professional level applications to free stuff which is open to all at no cost. Many of them will suffice when it comes to screen printing art software. Ultimately, which you choose depends on your particular circumstances and requirements. Below, we’ve collated those which are most likely to get your screen print artwork off to a flying start.

Adobe Illustrator - Guide to Software for Screen Printing Art at Fifth Column.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Photoshop - Guide to Software for Screen Printing Art at Fifth Column.

Adobe Photoshop

CorelDRAW - Guide to Software for Screen Printing Art at Fifth Column.


Popular screen printing art software.

Okay, let’s go with some of the most popular pieces of software that people use for graphics. By which we mean illustrative tools that are established with numerous users. Not just for screen printing but across many creative disciplines.

Adobe Illustrator.

It’s fair to say that Adobe are generally considered to be a leading light in graphic design applications. And with Adobe Illustrator you have a piece of kit that’s recommended for vector artwork. The latter being favoured in terms of designs intended for screen printing. You can make strong graphics that have numerous uses whether it be logos, branding or t-shirt artwork. However, it is worth noting that it’s not the easiest tool to learn if you’re new to it.


This is a well established suite of graphic apps. As with the previous item, Corel Draw is the vector art software in that collection. On the whole, those who use it tend to be very positive about the overall capabilities of the program. And there’s a substantial community grown up around Corel which can be useful for support, user tips etc. Which is probably, at least in part, a reflection of its popularity. It’s fair to say that it’s in the moderate category with regard to a learning curve for beginners.

Adobe Photoshop.

Another incredibly well-known piece of graphics kit. Indeed, to ‘photoshop’ something has moved beyond its original niche into modern everyday parlance. Perhaps little surprise then that it’s a reasonable choice for screen printing art software. The real strength of this app is raster images. In terms of picking it up from scratch, possibly a little easier than Illustrator but still quite challenging. By the way, this and the two above are image tools that you have to buy. We’ve not specified costs because these are always subject to change and can therefore become instantly outdated.

GIMP - Guide to Software for Screen Printing Art at Fifth Column.


Affinity Designer - Guide to Software for Screen Printing Art at Fifth Column.

Affinity Designer

Inkscape - Guide to Software for Screen Printing Art at Fifth Column.


More software for screen print art.

Our second batch of software for screen printing designs differs from the first in that it includes some well-known stuff that’s free. Let’s face it, that’s never going to be a bad thing. Providing that usability and results are within acceptable levels. Which seems to be the case with what we have here.


As mentioned, with Gimp, we have something to create screen printing art that’s free. Furthermore, it’s open source. That’s to say, the code is available to anyone to look at, modify and improve. Given that it’s free to download and use, this software is a great choice for t-shirt designing on a budget. And also very capable into the bargain. That said, time is needed to be become properly acquainted with it. Plus, whilst online communities exist, there’s no official support staff as such. And if you’re worried about that name, it stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program.


Next, we have another open source, free to use piece of image software. And again, Inkscape is highly regarded by those who use it. Known for a strength with vector art, it’s compared by many as a good free alternative to Illustrator. Similar to several already mentioned, there is also a thriving communal aspect to this tool. Plus a host of helpful resources. By which we mean things such as frequently asked questions, manuals, tutorials and so on.

Affinity Designer.

Affinity encompasses a collection of software that includes Photo, Publisher and Designer. Albeit not a free option, at time of writing it is comparatively inexpensive. Perhaps due to its relatively recent entry into the market. We’re talking vector graphics editing again with this one. Developed by Serif, they offer versions that are compatible with Windows, macOS and iPad. A fact which should probably increase take-up and therefore continued development.


As mentioned at the outset, there are lots of options when you want to create artwork for custom t-shirts or designs to adorn branded merchandise. We’ve included some of the most well-known but it’s an ever evolving landscape. As with most things these days, new tools are liable to pop up without warning. And those already available can change. Certainly in how much they cost but also in their user interface and capabilities. At the end of the day, the best screen printing art software is that which works for you. If a novice, it’s worth remembering that you don’t necessarily have to become an absolute master. Or understand every single facet of the software. So long as you become proficient at what you need to fashion printable designs.

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