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9 Best Affordable Software for T-Shirt Design in 2022

    Best Affordable software for t-shirt design
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    There is nothing quite like using Photoshop and adobe illustrator’s popularity and characteristics to boost your merch designs. However, the bad news for starters is that the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription required to use Photoshop can be costly. Furthermore, there is a steep learning curve in utilizing Photoshop and Abode Illustrator. This article will talk about our list of 9 best Affordable Software for T-Shirt or merch design as alternatives to Photoshop and Illustrator. Most of these alternatives are free or require a very cheap cost, or provide a more affordable option over the long term. Here they are, without further ado:

    1- Canva

    Canva is a great alternative to Adobe Photoshop, with a slew of features and capabilities that are substantially less expensive than Photoshop. Canva is the first on our list of best affordable software for t-shirt design due to its free mode functionality. Its free toolset is pretty comprehensive, and the subscription plans include even more editing options. Canva is ideal for creating graphics for your goods, business cards, and other printed materials. It’s also excellent for creating posters. It also allows you to share your works on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. 

    Canva Pro also has a Brand Kit tool, which makes redesigning each design a breeze. And suppose you’re a merch designer. In that case, they have a variety of ready-made templates that you can use to create your designs that are entirely customizable.

    The last advantage about Canva is the availability of a user-friendly application. With Canva will have most of the features of Canva available with you that you can use on the move and still produce beautiful designs. I have used it many times to make quick T-shirt designs for my Redbubble shop. You can read our article about Canva and watch a tutorial video by clicking here:  

    2- Krita

    Krita is the next most popular and free Photoshop replacement. Furthermore, expert photographers highly suggest the program, particularly when it comes to creative design for developing and improving digital photos.

    Another advantage of Krita is its functionality and interface are highly comparable to Photoshop. As soon as you see the toolbars, you’ll grasp the idea. They’re identical! Working with the program’s dark themes will also make you feel like you’re working in Photoshop. The bad news is that Krita may be extremely slow at times, and it lacks a RAW filter.

    3- Pixlr: The Free Version can be downloaded

    Pixlr is a free service. It features a fantastic UI that is reminiscent of Photoshop. Pixlr also has a variety of overlays, special effects, and borders that you can use to enhance and customize your photos.

    If you want to design photos on your iOS or Android device, Pixlr is a terrific solution. The picture editor and enhancer program is easy to use and provides all the necessary yet straightforward capabilities to get the job done.

    Users who don’t want to (or don’t have the space) download extra software or apps on their laptops would like the app. Furthermore, the user interface is identical to Photoshop Elements in terms of capability.

    The only disadvantage of utilizing the program is that you will need to be connected to the internet at all times when designing. While this is considered an advantage to some people, others might think of it as one of the cons of the program. However, it is personally my favorite software on this list because of its easy-to-use interface and that is why is it on our list of the Best Affordable Software for T-Shirt Design.

    4- Photopea (Best Affordable Software for T-Shirt Design Nominee)

    Photopea is another fascinating free Photoshop alternative, and the best part is that you don’t have to download anything to use it, similar to Pixlr. It not only has a similar appearance to Photoshop, but it also offers many of the same functionality. Overall, it’s an excellent program for both expert Photoshop users and novice graphic designers and t-shirt design amateurs. If you are working with PSD files, or want to download ready-made Merch templates from Vexels ( Number 9 in the list), then Photopea is a perfect choice. Photopea also has all of the same picture enhancing and editing capabilities as Photoshop.

    Photopea has a similar interface to Photoshop Elements. As a result, users will find the move from Photoshop to this program simple. The software also has vector and raster graphics and excellent layer editing capabilities. It’s simple to import PSD files, and it’s even simpler to improve your photographs!

    Even though Photopea is a free application, it has a lot of advertising, which may be a significant distraction. You’ll also have to pay $9 each month to have them removed. 

    5- Affinity Designer

    It’s been called an Adobe Illustrator alternative, and it works with a variety of graphic file formats, including Adobe Illustrator(AI). Other formats are Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Adobe Photoshop (PSD), Portable Document Format (PDF), and Encapsulated PostScript (EPS). Some Adobe FreeHand files may also be imported into the program (specifically versions 10 & MX).

    Vector pen and shape-drawing tools, support for custom vector and raster brushes (including the ability to import Adobe Photoshop (ABR) brushes), dynamic symbols, stroke stabilization, text style management, and vector/pixel export choices are among Affinity Designer’s primary features.

    Affinity Designer offers non-destructive editing across limitless layers, pan and zoom at 60 frames per second. It includes PANTONE color swatches, an end-to-end CMYK workflow with ICC color management, 16-bit per channel editing, RGB, RGB Hex, LAB, CMYK, and Grayscale color models. For a t-shirt designer, affinity designer is one of the best choices and alternatives to adobe illustrator.

    Affinity Designer is also included in our list of the best affordable software for T-Shirt design because it does not require a monthly subscription and instead charges a one-time fee of $19.99

    Additional features:

    It also features a capability to generate vector and raster drawings simultaneously. This may be accomplished by quickly switching between identities or workplaces, each with its own set of tools.

    Plan and sketch your design with the “Pixel Persona,” then use the “Vector Persona” to construct shapes, color fills, and line work. You may go back and forth during the process to add shading and tweaks to your drawing. It also allows you to import your fonts and vector brushes from your desktop PC, a fantastic tool. You don’t need the apple pencil to produce simple artwork more significantly. With just a tap of a finger, anything could be modified.  You may also use Affinity Designer to get free stock footage that you can use in your creations.

    The user interface is highly appealing since it displays all panels with recognizable tools. If you wish to conduct some retouching in desktop apps, you may produce your artwork in the suggested sRGB color profile and export it as a PNG file with a transparent backdrop, as well as other formats.

    If you’re new to designing on a tablet, keep in mind that learning to use hand gestures to improve your workflow will take some time. Affinity Designer is a great tool to have if you want to produce embroidery patterns and print files for various goods.

    Because vector files are scalable, you may quickly change the pieces to match the print area of the product.

    6- Gimp

    Without Gimp, no list of free Photoshop alternatives would be complete. This program has a considerable presence in the graphics editing community and has a large user base. It’s ideal for working with tiny files and producing basic designs.

    GIMP includes many excellent features and tools for photographers, and it’s reasonable to say that it’s pretty similar to Photoshop in terms of functionality. GIMP, on the other hand, has a handful of significant flaws. For instance, the parameters for many preset brushes are identical. Furthermore, GIMP lacks any drawing capability.

    7- Procreate

    It’s a multi-award-winning painting and sketching program that allows you to produce rasterized artwork. This program has an extensive customizable brush library that will enable you to create any brush for a one-time charge of $9.99. If you’ve ever used desktop software, you’ll notice that Procreate’s user interface is quite simple, with all panels concealed.

    This, however, has no impact on the app’s general functionality. After all, this is drawing software, and your canvas is the entire screen.It’s effortless to become acclimated to the app because it’s so straightforward.

    Customize your canvases the size, DPI, and color space with ease. When it comes to determining the dimensions of your canvas, depending on your iPad model, you may be limited. When making artwork, the higher the quality of your files, the fewer layers you have to deal with. 

    Procreate needs processing power, and not all iPads are equal in processing power. When creating your design, keep your product in mind to determine the appropriate measurements. You may also save your artwork as a PNG, which is helpful if you want a translucent backdrop on it. Additionally, use Brushes with text to produce stunning results.  You may also save your work in PSD files and modify them with Photoshop on a desktop computer.

    Designs for DTG goods, mugs, and posters are best created with Procreate. If you want to make all-over print pattern designs, the program doesn’t yet have a function that allows you to do so. However, you may use our Printful mockup generator to generate seamless patterns by importing your design elements as PNGs.

    8 – Vexels : One of the Best Affordable Software for T-Shirt Design over the long term

    Vexels is a one-stop place for merch designers who don’t have the time to invest time in learning on other design tools. On Vexels, you will have design stock where anyone may find many ready-to-use graphic materials for any project. There are also some fantastic online tools for customizing and creating your designs. T-shirt maker, Mockup Generator, and Logo Maker, for example.

    They’re methods for prioritizing the optimal outcomes for your user experience. When you pick a design, the search results will highlight Graphic Resources for Professional Design; when you choose merch, the search results will be focused on Print-ready items for usage on products like T-shirts and phone covers. Switching experiences do not affect a subscriber’s Account progress, such as downloads, licenses, or payment plans.

    You’ll get access to hundreds of print-ready designs that you can sell on Print-on-Demand platforms, as well as advanced online tools for generating your designs, with a Vexels merch membership.

    Special design requests:

    Furthermore, Vexels is fantastic for merch designers since you may have two monthly design requests with your membership. All you have to do is submit a brief about your design needs, and Vexels will create the design for you. To put it another way, you may receive design briefs from clients, ask Vexels to complete them, and then give the finished design to your client and be paid. So, for an annual or monthly membership, you’ll have access to hundreds of ready-to-wear designs and merch, editable T-Shirt templates and designs, an online design tool where you can create your plans, and finally, two monthly design requests. You can watch this video to learn more about Vexels. 

    9 – Sketch

    Sketch is our final software on our list of the best Affordable software for T-Shirt design. Sketch is available for free for a 30-day trial period. The software is one of the most fantastic free Photoshop alternatives, especially if you’re seeking a low-cost image editing tool for your Mac.

    The app is simply a vector graphics program that may enhance and design images. Additionally, the Sketch community provides a plethora of plug-ins that you may employ to make the software more consistent.

    The user interface is intuitive and straightforward, including layers and gradients comparable to Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. You may also experiment with various style presets and a color picker to help speed up your picture design and loading. Even better, Sketch has a pencil tool that you can use to sketch your image from the ground up.


    This was our recommended list of the best affordable software for T-Shirt design. The above list includes some options that suit tablet users who want something on the go-to design (like Affinity designer). Other options provide an easy experience and fast learning curve. Others who want something similar to photoshop will find their choice in photopia. What are you waiting for? Go and choose your preferred program and start designing right away.

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