Custom Embroidered Hats: 3 Simple Features That Make a Good Design

by John Amato

Forget boring, low-quality printed hats that customers stash at the back of their closet and employees cringe at whenever they have to wear them.

Your employees and customers alike will love wearing creative custom embroidered hats that show you put in the effort to make them look good. In turn, your business will reap the benefits of authentic promotion and advertising of your brand.

A well-designed custom embroidered hat should:

  • Be simple enough to convey your message while also appealing enough for your audience to wear with pride
  • Stand out from the crowd to advertise your business while still being functional and comfortable to wear during the week or weekend
  • Reflect your professionalism and attract the right attention to your business

Whether you’re looking for some swag for your employees or custom giveaways for your next promotional event, we’ll show you how to get the design right.

1 - Use the Right Font

Your message might be spot on, but if the text is ineligible, your marketing efforts will go down the drain. Using the right font ensures your message is clearly visible when the hat is worn.

Here are some tips for picking a font that will give you a minimalist, clean design:

Choose Sans Serif Over Serif Fonts

custom embroidered hats with sans serif font

Serif fonts have little extensions at the ends (think of the small tails in letters written in Times New Roman). These fonts give off a traditional, formal look; like the kind used in typewriters and printed publications.

However, when used in custom embroidery, it can be difficult to replicate the tiny details using thread, and you may end up with muddled, ineligible text.

But, did you know that “sans” is French for “without?” This means that sans serif fonts don’t have the tails at the ends, giving them a cleaner, modern look.

Be Big and Bold

Remember, it’s a hat, not a billboard. You want your brand to stick to memory at a glance, even when the wearer is moving about their business.

Using a bold font that’s at least 1/4 inches tall ensures that each letter is visible and makes your design pop. Opt for wide block letters that capture all the details of the design and give a neat embroidered finish. If your design has fine details with only a few characters, use well-spaced, thick capital letters for clarity.

Generally, avoid:

  • Using thin fonts for intricate details to ward off unsightly thread knots and running stitches
  • Squeezing letters in a small area to prevent closing up of letters and distorting your design

2 - Choose the Right Color Combinations

stylish multicolored arched hat

Researchers say that the average person can see over a million colors. However, this doesn’t give you the leeway to mix and match colors on your embroidered custom hats.

The wrong color combinations will result in an eyesore design that depicts unprofessionalism. On the other hand, using the right thread color scheme can turn a plain hat into a memorable marketing tool for your business.

Here are some tips to achieve a colorful design on your embroidered hats:

Stand Out With Contrasting Colors

colorful  419 hat with hues of mustard, blue, red, and white

Using contrasting colors in your embroidery design is a sure way to draw attention to the custom hat. If you want to achieve a harmonious combination, it’s important to understand the basic principles of color theory.


At the heart of this theory is the color wheel—a tool that helps you visualize the relationship between colors. This wheel will come in handy in helping you choose bold, contrasting colors for your custom hats.

Go for:

  • Complementary colors: Pair two shades that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel.

    For example, see how we designed this eye-catching Custom Dad Hat by setting the blue graphic against a red background.

  • Triadic colors: Combine three colors that lie in a triangle shape on the color wheel to achieve a vibrant design for your hat.

    For instance, in the above picture with a colorful 419 Trucker Hat, we set our red image against a backdrop of yellow and blue shades, making the design pop.

    If you feel the contrast of complementary colors might be too flashy for your audience, go for triadic colors. You’ll have more room to create attention-grabbing designs with a good balance of colors.

  • Analogous colors: Choose three colors that lie next to each other on the wheel for a more subtle, yet cheerful look.

    While this design calls for at least three colors, there’s always room to be creative and use more shades as long as they all blend well to achieve a laid-back but attractive look. See how we used analogous colors to achieve a classic look with this Retro Toledo Patch Hat.

Pro Tip: When we need help choosing a color pallette or complementary colors, we like to use It quickly generates swatches of colors that go well together and can be very helpful for those that need a nudge in the right direction.

Stay Stylish With Tone-On-Tone Design

On the flip side, attractive embroidery doesn’t have to shout with flashy colors. You can use a tone-on-tone design to draw attention to your custom hats with a classy look.

To achieve this design, use a solid-colored hat and a lighter or darker tone of the same color for the embroidery. The result is a subtle, yet appealing design that reflects your professionalism in a minimalistic way.

tone-on-tone dad hats

3 - Select an Appropriate Embroidery Type

Jupmode’s custom hat embroidery machine

The most common embroidery types for custom hats are 3-dimensional (3D) and flat embroidery. When used correctly, they give your design a professional finish. Let’s break them down so that you can see which type suits your branding needs.

Create a Dramatic Look With 3D-Puff Embroidery

Toledo kid’s hat with puff embroidery

3D-puff is achieved by placing special foam on the cap before embroidering. The thread pops from the cap’s surface, giving your design a puffy, spectacular look.

However, due to its thick appearance, 3D embroidery takes up more space on the hat. It’s, therefore, ideal for straightforward, large designs, such as a simple logo that needs some “oomph.”

To achieve a neat design with puff embroidery:

  • Leave adequate space between the letters to avoid overlapping and distorting the graphic
  • Use matching color shades for the foam and thread to prevent the foam from showing through the thread
  • Run the embroidery machine at a slower speed to avoid awkward stitches or needle breaks from the thick foam

Capture Fine Details With Flat Embroidery

black custom hat with white flat embroidery

In flat embroidery, the thread is sewn directly onto the hat, giving the design a simple, neat finish.

If your design includes intricate details, such as longer phrases, complex fonts, or closely spaced letters, flat embroidery will enhance their legibility.

Expert Tip: If your design includes a mix of large and small fonts, use partial 3D-puff embroidery—a combination of flat and puff embroidery—to highlight the fine details and pop the larger ones.

Make a Statement With Custom Embroidered Patches

custom embroidered beanies

Custom patches involve attaching a pre-made design onto the hat, unlike 3D and flat embroidery where the decorations are stitched directly onto the hat.

At Jupmode, custom hat patches are one of the most popular trends we see. The two most common types of patches are woven and embroidered patches. Although both styles use thread to create the design, embroidered patches are made with thicker thread than woven ones.

As a result, embroidered patches have a puffy feel and are more striking compared to the flat look of woven patches.

The table below breaks down the differences between custom embroidered and woven patches.

Feature Embroidered Patches Woven Patches
Text Clarity Best for large capital letters with fewer details; the thick thread creates a bold, visible design Best for small lowercase letters with fine details; the fine thread captures intricate details making them legible
Overall Look Gives a traditional, retro look with a rough, dramatic texture Gives a modern, laid-back look with a smooth texture
Durability More durable and doesn’t fade easily thanks to the strong, thick threads used Less durable as the thin threads are more prone to wear off from regular use and wash cycles

Get Captivating Custom Embroidered Caps From Jupmode

So, there you have it—simple, yet eye-catching features that transform a plain hat into a walking advertisement. Now, the next step is to find an experienced embroiderer who can execute your design from paper to reality.

At Jupmode, we’ve been in the screen printing and embroidery business for 16 years. We’ve helped businesses create, print, and embroider custom designs on all kinds of apparel. Our custom embroidered hats, in particular, are a favorite for both our B2B and retail clients.

Want to make bulk orders to meet the deadline for the upcoming promotional event? We can meet your demand with our six-head embroidery machine that runs at about 600 stitches per minute and produces a clean, high-end finish.

Watch us at work on this video:

Tell us about your project, and we’ll give you a no-obligation quote. If you’d like help with creating your design, our super supportive staff will work with you to come up with attention-grabbing custom embroidery hats.

Our customer reviews speak for themselves:

testimonial from Eric

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