Advantages of using mock-ups and some of the best tools to use
Fun fact: The word “template” originated from the Latin word “templum”, which means a consecrated place such as a sanctuary, where people go to for support or answers. Consider how the word’s developed since; nowadays, a template is something we use as a foundation to support a plan or a design. If you haven’t noticed, templates are actually a huge part of our lives. Think about it – your daily schedule is a template of your activities. You also probably have a shower routine and if you’re weird like me, it goes from washing your right elbow first before your big left toe and then back up to your chin. Templates, unsurprisingly, have also become the staple for design work, (as it so happens, the idea for opening this post with word origins came from a template) and it’s even more important for clothing brands. With a piece of garment at a designer’s disposal, the creative possibilities are endless. But sometimes, having a t shirt template goes a long way not just in designing, but also in running a clothing brand.
Giving a plain T-shirt to a designer is like giving an artist a blank canvas on which he can splash his creative juices. And that’s great in an ideal situation where everyone’s got all the time, money and patience in the world to get the design printed on a T-shirt, decide if you like it, make some tweaks, print it again, and so on and so forth – you get my drift. But the high demand of quick turnaround times these days means that nobody has that luxury of time anymore. Enter: T-shirt templates.
Part of why fashion is an ever-booming industry is because people want to look good – they want to be able to visualise themselves in what they wear. As a clothing brand, besides having a physical shop in which people can enter and actually try on the clothes and see how the designs look on them, your other point-of-sale would be your online shop, and that’s pretty much down to having to rely on T-shirt templates.
What do templates offer that make them such an integral part of a clothing brand?
Our brain processes images faster than anything else. Visuals provide more of an impact – pictures stick around in our head much longer than numbers or words. That’s why most people are visual learners. Having T-shirt mock-ups reduces the amount of guess work. For a clothing brand, this reduces the legwork and money otherwise needed to arrange for a photoshoot with models for your catalogue. It’s a fantastic way to showcase your products – be it a new launch or new season. If you’re an online T-shirt printing company, using mock-ups means customers won’t have to imagine what the shirt would look like on a person. Having a template to work around with allows you to actually clearly visualise the end-product.
You’ve now got a whole catalogue of models to choose from. Want that muscled dark-haired model to parade around in the new T-shirt designs you’re launching? Go for it! I’d personally prefer him topless but hey someone’s gotta model those T-shirts don’t they? How about that blonde girl reading by the beach? How would she look in this summer vest? Or the kid roller-skating through the park? One great feature of T-shirt mock-ups is that it allows you to see what different T-shirt designs, types and colours go well on models with different hair and/or skin tones, nose sizes and neck length, if those are what you fancy.
T-shirt templates & mock-up generators
When it comes to design websites that provide T-shirt mock-ups, you’re basically spoilt for choice. Most of these websites are pretty straightforward to use – just as long as you’re equipped with Wi-Fi and the ability to push the click button on the mouse, which I’m confident you do given that, well, you’re reading this right now. Some require Photoshop files but for those who, like me, aren’t that Photoshop-savvy, not to worry. There are many other mock-up sites that are much easier to navigate! Let us now walk you through two online mock-up generators that don’t require any Photoshop skills whatsoever!
Printful has a generator page with a simpler design and is super straightforward to use. Their generator page is ‘the easiest order fulfilment system you’ll ever use’. Accepted image formats include jpg, png, bmp, psd and many others.
After choosing your product type (anything from T-shirt to sweatshirts), garment brand, design/graphic and colour, just like Placeit, the system generates the final product in a matter of seconds from the click of a button. One advantage Printful has is that it also provides the actual print file you will need to print your designs.
The finished-product doesn’t quite have the smooth and cutting-edge quality as those generated by Placeit but it does do the job of giving you an idea of what your design would look like on a garment.
American company Placeit here has revolutionised the printing world with their high quality selection of mockups. Once you get to their generator page, your very first step is to pick the model to feature your designs. Am I weird for thinking that the “DROP IMAGE HERE” print actually looks pretty cool? Be prepared to spend some time with this as they’ve got a whole sea of options for you to choose from.
Hovering your mouse over each mock-up model provides you with a description of the model and the setting. Some of them though seem rather weird to me though. The very first one on the list features “an Asian woman in an abandoned house”. I fail to see the Asian-ness in her nor understand how she’s smiling after being abandoned but that’s a whole other issue. Moving on – once you’ve got your model, you’re taken to a second page from which you’re able to choose a whole array of colours. For the purpose of this example, I’ve decided to go with the boy sitting happily on his skateboard.
From there on, generating the image of the end-product is simply following the instructions that’s literally imprinted on all the models – drop image here! The programme will automatically apply the creases, shadows and folds for you to make the finished image as realistic as possible. Just wait a few seconds and voila!
T-shirt mock-ups are the gateway of any clothing brand to showcase their designs to customers without the hassle of a photoshoot. It saves you loads of time and improves efficiency especially when you’re preparing for the launch of a new season or design. Some of these mock-up sites provide a limited number of free downloads after which you’d have to pay a monthly subscription (Placeit for example requires a minimum three month commitment for their subscriptions). I reckon though that this is a worthy investment for any clothing brand, given the amount of time and money you’re already saving by using the online mock-ups. Design and fashion are synonymous and this is definitely not an area where you should be cutting corners!
What T-shirt mock-up generator do you use? Have you used any other T-shirt mock-ups and what’s your experience with them been? Have any other tips on using mock-ups? Do share your stories with us, we’d love to hear your feedback!