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How to Design Great Custom Socks: 2 Ways

August 11, 2021

How to Design Great Custom Socks: 2 Ways

Thinking of making custom socks to sell as merch?

Awesome plan! When done right, custom socks can be a very lucrative product. No need to knit them yourself or slave away over a screen printer – nowadays, small-scale creators and larger businesses alike can partner with factories to pass off production tasks. (So you can focus on the important things, like your sales strategy!)

Still, even if you find a reputable manufacturer to create beautiful custom socks for you, you’ve still got some serious decisions to make… like what type of socks you’ll create, the materials you’ll use to make your socks, and the design you’ll have printed or embroidered on your socks. (Because let’s be honest – it’s really hard to sell an ugly pair of socks!)

If you’re a designer who already sells their art on prints, stickers, pins, or other products, you may already have a few designs saved away that you’d love to see brought to life in a fun pair of novelty socks. All you’ll have to do is make some small tweaks to make sure your gorgeous artwork looks great on this medium that may be unfamiliar to you.

And if you’re NOT much of a designer… well, you’re in luck! There is no need to be an amazing artist to design a best-selling pair of socks – when you choose The/Studio as your manufacturing partner, you can also enjoy free professional design services with every order, with as many revisions as you may need.

As long as you’ve got some sort of vision for the socks you’d like to create in your head and you have a good idea of what your target customers are searching for in a pair of socks, you can design an amazing product using The/Studio’s convenient DIY product design tool.

Whether you’re planning on designing your socks all on your own or leaving the art to the experts, we’ll go over a few design questions to consider, the key pillars of good sock design, and how to design a great pair of custom socks.

 

Sock Design Questions to Consider

design custom socks - questions

Before you start putting pen to paper to design your socks, iron out a few details about how your socks will fit into your shop, what your socks will be used for, and your strategy for selling your socks. Here are a few Qs to consider:

What are you going to use your socks for?

Are you creating socks to sell to strangers in your online store? Are you creating custom socks to sell to your existing customers who’ve bought similar items in the past? Are you making custom socks as a gift for company employees and clients? Are you creating custom socks as part of a collection? Are you creating custom socks as part of a team or company uniform? Be sure you’re clear on what your strategy is for making a profit or at least making your money back. 

What are your customers going to use your socks for?

Different socks work better for different purposes. Are your customers going to wear your socks while working out? Will they wear them every week as part of a casual outfit? Will they wear them when they want to dress up a bit? Do they want these socks to be seen? What type of shoes will your customers wear these socks with? Getting clear on the socks’ purpose will help you determine what materials to use and the best design choice. Exercise?

What type of socks are you trying to make?

Certain customization factors will impact your socks’ overall design and feel, beyond the artwork you or your designer create to print on them. Consider the cuff size, color scheme, printing style, and fabrication method you’d like to use for your sock before finalizing your design. 

How will your socks fit in with everything else you sell?

If you already sell other merchandise online, consider how your new custom socks will fit in with the other products you sell. Based on their buying habits, what sort of socks would your existing customers be most interested in? Will these socks look like they belong in your shop? 

 

Pillars of Good Sock Design

custom socks - qualities of a good design

Here are the four key pillars of good sock design:

1. Color scheme

The/Studio allows you to include as many colors as you’d like in your sock design… but just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Carefully consider the sort of socks your ideal customers would be most likely to wear – colorful or neutral, stand-out or blend-in – and choose a thoughtful color scheme accordingly. When compared to usual white socks, even a solid color is a bold choice – make sure your color scheme fits the purpose and design of your socks!

2. Clarity

Maybe this goes without saying, but printing a design on a sock is very different from printing a design on a sheet of paper… and white lines or too much pixelation can make a good design look not so good really fast! Be sure any details are large enough to be clear.

3. Legibility

When it comes to words on socks, less is more – but bigger is better! If your design includes words, make sure they’re big enough and clear enough to actually be readable, and include as few words as possible to communicate your message.

4. Fabrication

Here at The/Studio, we offer three fabrication types to transfer your design onto your socks. These include jacquard knit, dye sublimation, and 360 printing. Each method will have an impact on how your sock looks and stretches.

  • Jacquard knit socks are socks that incorporate your design into the fabric of the sock itself, rather than printing the design on top of the fabric. Great for clean, simple designs and repeating patterns, jacquard knit socks are the most popular type of socks we offer.
  • Dye-sublimated socks are created using a heat transfer process that prints designs directly onto fabric. Though some may notice small white gaps when the sock is stretched, the design still looks good when worn. These socks are good for wild socks that incorporate lots of colors and detail.
  • 360 printed socks are created using an advanced fabrication technique that prints directly onto a sock stretched by a cylinder to avoid those pesky white lines. These socks are great for designs that are dynamic, continuous, and vivid, with images that wrap around the entire sock.

 

How to Design a Great Pair of Socks: For Designers

how to design custom socks - for designers

Now that you’ve done a little pre-design prep, you’re ready to start getting your ideas down on paper. Learn how to design a great pair of socks using both your own expertise and The/Studio’s handy online product creation tool.

1. Gather inspiration

First things first, start brainstorming some ideas for your custom socks. Consider who will buy your socks, how you want your customers to feel when they wear your socks, and how you’ll style your socks. During this phase, get inspired by anything you can, whether Pinterest, Instagram, socks sold at the mall, or even competitors’ socks sold online. You’ll definitely want to create totally original socks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get ideas from anywhere and everywhere. 

2. Start creating

Next up, it’s time to launch your creative process… whatever that usually looks like for you. Get out your iPad and start doodling, hash out a few ideas in your sketchbook, use Illustrator to create a rendering – whatever it takes to get your ideas flowing. 

As you design, consider how your artwork will be incorporated into your sock, whether as embroidery, a repeating pattern, or one large image. Don’t worry too much about finalizing your design – whether you deliver a masterpiece or a black-and-white sketch, our designers can work with that!  

3. Create your socks

Now, it’s time to use The/Studio’s DIY online product creation tool to start bringing your socks to life. You’ll have the chance to customize:

  • Cuff size – choose from no-show socks, quarter cuff socks, crew socks, or knee-high socks
  • Fabrication method – choose from jacquard knit, dye sublimation, or 360 printing
  • Pack size – choose whether you’d like your socks to be packaged individually or as a group
  • Kitting – add on additional packaging or kitting options for retail purposes
  • Size – choose the size of your socks, anywhere from baby socks to a men’s size 13
  • Material – choose from casual, dress, or active cotton blends
  • Thickness – choose whether you’d like your socks to be regular, thick, or extra-thick
  • Add-ons – customize your socks even further with optional i

Choose your options carefully – all of these will influence how your socks ultimately look! 

4. Approve a sample

Once all of your sock customization options are ironed out, simply upload your sock design and leave the rest to us. Our team of in-house designers and manufacturers will take everything you gave us and turn it into a real-life pair of socks. We’ll send you a photo sample or a physical prototype for your approval. 

Thrilled with it? Perfect, we’ll move forward and create the rest the same way!

See something you’d like tweaked? Send detailed notes to the production team of what you’d like changed, or head back to the drawing board to make changes to your original design. Any revisions are totally free of charge!

5. Receive & style your socks

Once you’ve approved the final design, we’ll move forward with production and send your socks with free domestic U.S. shipping. Then, all that’s left is to show off your socks in the best light through targeted marketing efforts!

 

How to Design a Great Pair of Socks: For Everyone Else

design custom socks - non designers

Don’t feel confident about tackling the design by yourself? Hey, we totally get that! Learn how to design a great pair of socks with the help of The/Studio’s online product creation tool and expert designers.

1. Gather inspiration

Even though you won’t be doing the leg work when it comes to designing your socks, it’s still important to have a clear vision of how you hope the end product will look. So start brainstorming some ideas for your custom socks! Consider who will buy your socks, how you want your customers to feel when they wear your socks, and how you’ll style your socks. Gather inspiration from other sock shops, Instagram, Pinterest, and beyond.

2. Get your ideas down on paper

Next up, write or draw your ideas down. No need to translate your ideas perfectly onto paper – just do your best to communicate the most important aspects of your design so the designer tasked with creating your socks has a good idea of what you’re looking for. You might want to sketch your designs down (no judgment here!), write a description of your socks, or find a few links to socks you really like.  

3. Create your socks

Now, it’s time to use The/Studio’s DIY online product creation tool to start bringing your socks to life. You’ll have the chance to customize:

  • Cuff size – choose from no-show socks, quarter cuff socks, crew socks, or knee-high socks
  • Fabrication method – choose from jacquard knit, dye sublimation, or 360 printing
  • Pack size – choose whether you’d like your socks to be packaged individually or as a group
  • Kitting – add on additional packaging or kitting options for retail purposes
  • Size – choose the size of your socks, anywhere from baby socks to a men’s size 13
  • Material – choose from casual, dress, or active cotton blends
  • Thickness – choose whether you’d like your socks to be regular, thick, or extra-thick
  • Add-ons – customize your socks even further with optional i

Choose your options carefully – all of these will influence how your socks ultimately look! 

4. Approve a sample

Once all of your sock customization options are ironed out, simply upload whatever you’ve prepared for your sock design (hasty sketches, notes, links, etc!) and leave the rest to us. Our team of in-house designers and manufacturers will take everything you gave us and turn it into a real-life pair of socks. We’ll send you a photo sample or a physical prototype for your approval. 

Thrilled with it? Perfect, we’ll move forward and create the rest the same way!

See something you’d like tweaked? Just let us know what you’d like fixed – we’ll make as many changes as it takes to make your socks perfect, totally free of charge!

5. Receive & style your socks

After approving the final design (even if it takes some back-and-forth!) you’ll enjoy free domestic U.S. shipping on the rest of your sock order. Then, all that’s left is to show off your socks in the best light through targeted marketing efforts!

 

Start Designing Your Custom Socks

The/Studio’s DIY product creation tool allows you to design high-quality custom socks within minutes, no matter how much design experience you do or don’t have. Plus, all of our custom socks come with free shipping in the U.S. and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Start the creative process here.

 

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