Inkscape – Gimp or another - any suggestions please


New Member
I know I have asked similar questions a year or more ago but I had to put my possible T-shirt design business on hold but now I am interested in getting back into it and that I would like some different perspectives on a few programs for beginners e.g. I have been looking at Inkscape and Gimp to make up T-shirt designs. I am hoping to put design or two onto Amazon’s Merch program as well as a few other programs, but I’m not sure which one would be best as well as easy as for a beginner (even though I learned a little back when I first started).


Active Member
As to the software, that’s easy. Do it the right way and learn illustrator, or even affinity. Inkscape doesn’t even export to CMYK – a first-hurdle fall if you are looking at print. You need to understand these sorts of things before even thinking about starting a print-based business.

Free always comes at a cost.

However, the software question is possibly academic, because, reading between the lines, I’m guessing you are not a designer and have little or no experience in this area? Yet, you talk about jumping into a highly-competitive area where a lot of qualified designers will be your competition. Granted, there is an awful lot of rubbish out there too from stay-at-home mums who were good at art in school. It is still a very busy place to be and you’ll have to bring something new to the party.

If I am wrong and you are an experienced designer or have fashion industry experience, I apologise, but the question leads me to think not. The fact you want to start a business looking at free tools, straight away rings alarm bells.

I am by no means saying don’t do it, but go in with your eyes open. You even say you are a beginner, which, in itself is fine, but a beginner is a long way from starting a business you expect to bring an income.

‘I want to open a car repair garage, what kind of spanner do I need?’ See what I mean?

Of course, I know nothing about you, your business plan, or your ideas, but simply based on your initial question, I’d say you are wanting to run before you can walk. Had your question been, ‘what is the best vector illustration software?’ Of course, I’d still refer you to my first para.

So to that end, why t-shirts? I get it, I’ve been looking at a side shizzle for ages. One day, I’ll find the time! But what are you looking at that is going to make them desirable? Are you a traditional illustrator and want to get into digital? Do you have a specific idea that you think is unique and has legs, or is it simply, that’s a good Etsy business you can do from home and have the time to be there for your kids? Spoiler; start any business and make a go of it, you are very likely to have less free time – at least in the first couple of years. A business like that will be all about brand and marketing if it has any chance of standing out from the crowd. Is that your area of expertise?

Well, you did say that you wanted different perspectives. Careful what you wish for!

I am not saying this to be negative, but just exploring the alarm bells that rang when I read your post.


Staff member
Inkscape and GIMP should be last resorts if you're looking to do this on a commercial level. As mentioned already - lack support for print technical items, like CMYK/spot colours and a few other things you'll need for t-shirt printing.

Adobe software for their entire suite is about €60 a month - it is subscription model. That's about €2 a day.
And you can tack that price on to the price of the t-shirt - say 0.50c for each t-shirt - and selling 4 t-shirts a day would cover the cost of the professional level software.

Affinity is a good shout - it's cheaper and a one off cost. But of course you need both Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo.

Other than that - I wouldn't really recommend anything other than Adobe or Affinity.

There's steep learning curves with them.
I wouldn't recommend anything other than (now Linkedin Learning) for tutorials and how-tos.

You are guaranteed solid tutorial with no bad practices.

People will tell you to go on YouTube - but you don't know these people - and I've seen terrible advice given on YouTube channels by people that don't know what they are doing.

Good luck.