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Graphic Tees: How it Started & How it's Going

graphic tees design blog

Shelby R., Pink Lily’s graphic designer, and Sydney, Assistant Buyer, give us a behind-the-scenes look at the design process for our one-of-a-kind graphic tees.

headshots of graphic designer, buyer


How it Started

How does the process start for designing new graphic tees?

Shelby: Our process can start a couple of different ways: either by planning out what graphic tees we'll need for a certain collection, holiday, etc. or by someone getting some kind of inspiration for a design & passing it along to me or Sydney.

Sydney: The process for new designs can start by evaluating our bestsellers. We like to look at what has done well in the past to see what our customers like and bounce new ideas/inspiration off that. For example, for certain holidays like patriotic or Christmas designs we will look at what our bestsellers were in that time frame from the previous year and try to do similar styles while keeping in mind what is currently trending.

What’s the approval process for a new graphic tee?

Shelby: Once I get the design finished, Sydney and I get together on what ink/shirt color combo we think will look the best. Sydney then puts in an order for a sample of that shirt so we can see the design on a physical shirt. We then evaluate if the whole design works or if we need to switch out the shirt/ink/sizing/whatever else. 

Sydney: Next, we show the sample to either Tori, Merritt, or Megan. It is either approved or we might decide that we want to change some details about it such as the ink color, font of certain words, the whole font in general, or the blank it is on (sometimes we will see a design sampled and decide it might look better on a totally different style). Basically, we keep sampling it and making small changes to it until it is perfected.

palm spring tee meme


What’s the next step after a new graphic tee design is approved?

Sydney: After the final product is approved, it then needs a website listing so I send all the info for that over to Sarah, the Listing Specialist. I then decide which collection it will go in depending on what the design is. The last and final step is for the product to get shot which is where the Photoshoot Team takes over. Paige and Anna shoot lifestyles and Heidi shoots flat lays!

How far in advance do you work on graphic tee designs?

Shelby: Right now, we're working about 3-4 months out. We just finished 10 new fall designs that are being sent as options to influencers for their August hauls! We also finished 4th of July in March, so our next big season is Fall/Halloween.

timeline of graphic tee design process



How it's Going

What’s your favorite design you’ve done and why?

Shelby: It's really hard to choose just one design but I'm definitely loving the "Sunny Days Ahead" and "Welcome to the Wild West" designs. They were so much fun to draw. Definitely be on the lookout for more like those!

Sydney: My favorite design we have launched is definitely the "Welcome to the Wild West!" I was so excited when I heard our photoshoot team was going to be doing a shoot in Arizona because I am all about those desert vibes. I think Shelby and I read each other's minds on the inspiration for this design when we heard that's where they would be shooting this collection, and I was so excited to see it come to life in the shoot. My favorite thing about this graphic is that it's neutral, but still fun and can be styled so many different ways to be worn all year-long. You could make it as casual as you want by pairing it with some denim shorts and sneakers, or you could dress it up by pairing it with a skirt,  cute hat, booties, and everything in between!



What are some of our must-have graphic styles right now?

Sydney: The monochromatic color schemes have been really popular in the past few months as well as anything travel/destination themed.

From a sketch to social media:

We love to see designs brought to life in photos from our customers! Be sure to tag @pinklily in your posts for the chance to be featured on our social media, blogs, and emails.

tagged customer photos

Here's an exclusive sneak peek at a brand new design debuting soon at!

graphic tee coming soon


Shop these tees & more exclusively at! 

shop graphic tees

 Additional featured photos by @whimsicallykristen, @jessyy.mac, @katrinMcDonald20, and @morgan.copley.