Screen Printing:

Enhancing the Focal Point

By Dane Clement, Contributing Writer

April 8, 2014

Consider this: A customer comes into your shop and wants a T-shirt designed for an event his car show group is putting on. He has a great hot rod, but has no good photos of it. All of the photos he has are from a standard Cruise-In that was held in a parking lot in town. These Cruise-In events often are held for car enthusiasts on Saturday evenings throughout the country.

This article will demonstrate how to take that basic photo and manipulate it to pull out the main element — his “baby.” By enhancing the car, you can really draw attention to the focal point of the design. Then, in a follow-up online exclusive article featured on, I’ll put some other elements together to complete the design, which will showcase his hot rod front and center.

Before starting the design, you must first find out from the customer all of the information he wants included. For example, how much text does he want? You will have to find a place for all of it and if you know how much text is needed, you can create a better design for it.

So for this project, you’ll need to know the name of the club, which is Louisiana Street Heat Classics. It also needs to include the words, “Cruise-In,” and feature the date of the event. Most importantly, the finished design must highlight the car.

Normally, I would optimize the entire photo before starting the project. But with this particular photo, I want the car to look as good as possible and not put as much attention on the background detail. So I optimized the car once it was on its own layer, which will help to “pop” the car out of the background.

In the attached gallery, I show how I approached enhancing the hot rod to make it really stand out as the main focus of this design.

Dane Clement is well-known for his expertise in computer graphics and color separations. He is the owner of Great Dane Graphics and has authored “T-Shirt Artwork Simplified” books for Adobe and Corel users. For more information or to comment on this article, contact Dane at or