You have the perfect custom-branded hat design in mind, but once it arrives — it doesn’t look quite like you imagined. If this sounds familiar, you’ve likely invested in custom merch only to find that not all branded apparel is cut from the same cloth.
Investing in custom-branded hats is a great way to promote your business. But the trick is to create a polished one you and your team can wear with pride. We’ve outlined some practical tips to ensure your next order looks exactly how you envisioned it!
Embroidery: The Ideal Choice for Custom-Branded Hats
Embroidery has a rich and long-standing history. The technique involves stitching a logo, image, or text onto fabric with a sewing machine or by hand. No matter the method, embroidery is used to create quintessential, striking designs.
When it comes to branded hats, embroidery is the ideal choice. Embroidered hats last longer than screen-printed items, as designs made with a needle and thread don’t fade or chip — so they maintain their quality.
Popular Embroidery Methods for Custom-Branded Hats
Since embroidery offers various stitch patterns to choose from, you can get a wide variety of different looks using the technique. Below are some of the most popular options for hat embroidery:
3D embroidery is also known as puff or foam embroidery. This method involves securing a piece of foam onto fabric and stitching a design over it. This gives your design extra height for a raised, 3D effect.
Flat embroidery is when a thread is sewn directly onto the fabric, with the design lying flat against the fabric. Although flat embroidery is a more efficient and cost-effective option, it doesn’t offer the same boldness as a 3D design.
Partial 3D embroidery includes a combination of flat and 3D techniques in a single hat. This approach works well to add unique dimensions to your design, making specific elements pop.
Pro Tip: To get the best result, ensure your 3D design is elevated by a minimum of 3 mm for maximum impact.
Nailing Your Custom-Branded Hat’s Design
When designing a custom-branded hat, you’ll want to keep a few important factors in mind. From choosing the right hat style to creating the perfect design, the tips below will help you create the perfect hat to promote your business!
Consider the Dimensions of Your Custom-Branded Hat
Getting your design dimensions right is critical to creating a polished product. In general, it’s best to use a hat that offers plenty of space. An overly large or small logo can throw off the balance of your design and result in an amateur look.
For example, designs placed on the front of a trucker hat shouldn’t exceed 2.25“ in height and 4” in width. This sizing will ensure your logo pops without taking up too much space — and it works best with most machines.
The exact size of your embroidery area will be based on the hat you choose. You want to avoid having a large logo on a small space or a small design on a large one. The popular Richardson 112 Trucker Hat features a higher front profile to support larger designs. Low-profile hats, like 5-panel hats, offer a lower available design height. Always take your design space into consideration before putting pen to paper.
Pro Tip: You could consider incorporating a logo, small line of text, or design onto one of the sides or back of your hat.
Choose an Impactful Font
Choosing a clear, legible font is critical as it helps potential customers notice your brand. On the flip side, the wrong font can make your message difficult to read. Strategically choosing your font’s size and style will enable you to convey your message more effectively.
To ensure the text is easy to read, we recommended a minimum height of 0.3“ for upper-case letters and 0.25” for lower-case text. We also suggest keeping each letter at least 0.05” wide. To put these measurements into perspective, a letter width of 0.25” equals approximately 36pt font.
Pro Tip: Enhance readability by avoiding fonts with overly thin lines. While a single line of stitches — known as a run stitch — can be used for extremely slim lines, they’re hard to see on a hat and not ideal.
Size Your Design Elements Just Right
When designing shapes, we recommend a minimum width between 0.05″ and 0.5″ for flat embroidery. For 3D embroidery, a width between 0.2″ and 0.5″ is ideal. If your design features smaller shapes, flat embroidery might be a better option, as elements can be made smaller.
Maintaining a space of at least 0.05” between design elements is a good rule of thumb to produce a balanced result.
Practice the Art of Simplicity
When done right, a minimalistic design can leave a lasting impact. You’ll want to avoid small, complex designs — especially when making hats, as their curvature can make things a little tricky.
Minimalistic designs can offer a sharp look with tight, clean lines. Leaving out minor details, small text, and complex patterns usually looks best. For example, a basic design using white thread can look awesome against a black trucker hat when done right.
Patch Negative Design Spaces
If your artwork contains empty spaces that would cause your hat’s fabric to show through, it’s best to patch those up. You can fill empty design spaces with neutral-colored stitches, creating a more balanced, quality look that stands out.
Perfect Your Custom-Branded Hat’s Color Selection
When choosing the color of your custom-branded hat, you’ll want to consider contrast. It’s best to choose a darker hat when working with light-colored thread and a lighter hat for darker designs. Contracting colors deliver a more striking design that stands out.
For designs, it’s best to use solid colors rather than using gradient color blends. This is because it’s difficult to seamlessly transition from one color to another when working with thread. Sometimes, complex logos may need to be simplified to look good — and our dedicated team members are happy to help you with this process!
We offer long-standing marketing and branding expertise and pride ourselves on providing our customers with hands-on guidance. We can help your logo pop in a design and also assist with creating a branded merchandise strategy to empower you to reach wider business goals.
Order Your Next Custom-Branded Hat Today!
Custom-branded hats enable your business to effortlessly increase brand recognition within its community. Polished and well-made business apparel can make all the difference in how the public views your company.
Your employees will be riding in style, promoting your organization long after they’ve clocked out. Compared with other forms of advertising, embroidered apparel is a cost-effective investment that keeps on giving. Unlike screen-printed clothing — embroidery won’t fade or peel over time, ensuring you and your team can look professional for years to come.
If you have any design questions or need more information about creating your next custom-branded hat, contact us today!