Making Your Mark: 2 Design Options for Custom Trucker Hats

by John Amato

Trucker hats are the unrivaled masters of headgear. Truck drivers love their practicality, sportspeople swear by their comfort, brands can’t resist using them for promotions, and fashionistas rock them in style. They’re the crème de la crème of hats.

What’s even better is that your hats don’t have to look similar to everyone else’s. With a bit of professional customization, you can make your mark with custom embroidered trucker hats that define you.

Whether you’re an individual who loves the Midwest or a proud business owner looking to carry your brand’s name far and wide, trucker hats are the canvas for your message.

We’re here to help you choose a design option that caters to your preference. A few questions can point you in the right direction:

  • Do you love the look of flat embroidery?
  • Are you into the 3-dimensional look of puff embroidery?
  • Do you want to step things up with customized patches?

We’ll discuss each of these options and how each offers results that will help you tell your story without uttering a word.

Speaking of stories, let’s kick things off with an interesting one about trucker hats.

How Did Trucker Hats Become So Popular? You’ll Be Surprised

customized trucker hat

Trucker hats burst into the scene in the 1970’s when savvy agricultural companies discovered the role of hats in advertising. They distributed them to truck drivers (hence the name trucker hats), farmers, and other rural workers as promotional giveaways.

The hats were made of a foam front panel and a mesh back. Interestingly, the rural workers quickly found them useful in shielding their heads from the hot sun. The foam padding absorbed sweat while the mesh back allowed air circulation that cooled their heads.

Unknown to the agricultural companies, they had just solved a major problem for the rural workers, who continued wearing them as part of their everyday work attire, and just like that, the trucker hat trend was born.

Today, some trucker hats still sport a front foam panel and a mesh back. However, they’ve picked up a few names over the years, such as mesh caps, gimme caps, and feed caps.

They’re also increasingly becoming a blank slate for creativity, meaning you can customize them with just about any design—logos, illustrations, patterns, and slogans that express what you’re passionate about.

With that in mind, let’s check out the options available for achieving awesome designs on trucker hats.

1 - Embroidery: Achieve a Classic Flat or a 3D Puff Design

If you’re a fan of old movies, you’ve probably noticed intricate decorative needlework on the actors’ clothing, handkerchiefs, tablecloths, and more. The craft is none other than embroidery.

Embroidery has stood the test of time as a decorative tool and today—thanks to the power of needle and thread—you can use it to bring to life your brand’s trucker hats as well or your personal favorites.

There are two types of embroidery to choose from: flat and puff embroidery

Flat Embroidery

It’s also known as surface embroidery, and is the original and most common embroidery technique. A flat embroidery design has a flat look and an even texture.

The flat design is achieved by stitching directly onto fabric without incorporating additional elements to puff it up.

The main advantage of flat embroidery is that it allows stitching of small letters and other fine details. The reason is that the stitches lie as flat as possible on the fabric, avoiding possible distortion.

A good example of flat embroidery in action is the Holy Toledo Hat below. Notice how well the fine details in the word “Holy” have been replicated to give the design a clean look.

flat embroidery design on a hat

If you‘re aiming for a classic minimalist look or have fine details in mind for your trucker hat, flat embroidery is the way to make a lasting impression.

By the way, do you know what Holy Toledo on the hat means?

Fun Fact: Holy Toledo is a phrase people use whenever they’re surprised or excited. Find out the three interesting explanations for the origin of this humorous expression.

Now, let’s explore the second embroidery technique.

Puff Embroidery

When we talk about puff embroidery, the most common examples that people relate to are Major League Baseball hats. Their designs stand out because so many of them use 3D embroidery to make the thread literally stand off of the hat.

Puff embroidery has a bold three-dimensional (3D) look that creates the illusion of depth, making it pop out from the fabric.

Did You Know? The puffy, attention-grabbing look is achieved by laying foam over the area you want embroidered, then stitching over it. The thickness of foam used is determined by the desired puffiness.

An example of puff embroidery is our Toledo Denim Hat. The extra depth in the embroidery gives the design a little something extra that commands attention.

puff embroidery design on a hat

You can also take things a notch higher by combining flat and puff embroidery.

The next example showcases a fantastic flat and puff combo on the 419 Trucker Hat. The white outline features flat embroidery while the red area is puff embroidery.

flat and puff embroidery combination on a hat

The three-dimensional look of puff embroidery has a way of enhancing the perceived value of an item.

Brands can benefit greatly from this perceived value since they can price their puff embroidered merchandise attractively.

Now that we’ve discussed in detail the two embroidery techniques, the table below summarizes their differences.

Flat Embroidery Design Puff Embroidery Design
Appearance Flat stitching with even texture Puffed stitching with varied texture
How It’s Achieved Stitching is done directly on fabric Foam is laid on fabric then stitched over to create the puffy look
Advantage Allows stitching of sharp lines Gives the design a 3-D look which creates the illusion of depth
Disadvantage Lacks depth and texture Doesn’t replicate fine details well
Application Excellent for stitching fine writing and other minute details Useful whenever you need to make a bold statement

2 - Customized Patches: The Small Yet Powerful Billboards

customized trucker hat

Your trucker hats are a canvas for creativity and patches are like extra tiny canvases attached to your trucker hats. 


To create custom patches, two distinct techniques are employed: The design is either woven or embroidered onto the patches.

Each technique yields its own unique results, and we’ve laid out the key differences in the table below to help you identify the most suitable.

Woven Patches Embroidered Patches
Appearance Design has a smooth, flat surface Design has a raised, textured surface
Thread Type Thin thread used Thicker thread used
Advantage Can replicate minute details Has a three-dimensional look
Disadvantage Has a one-dimensional look Can be a bit bulky due to the weight of embroidery thread and the patch itself
Application Ideal for complex illustrations, logos, and lettering Ideal for designs that don’t require much details

At Jupmode, we use both woven and embroidered patches. Check out the difference in appearance between the two techniques.

custom woven patch custom embroidered patch

Notice how the first patch (woven) boasts a flat surface with even texture while the second (embroidered) patch has a raised surface and varied texture.

Looking for a different kind of patch besides these two? You can also customize your trucker hats with felt patches, especially if you want a simple design such as letters or numbers. See how cool they look in the examples below.

felt patch on hat felt patch on hat

Hopefully, you’ve found these design options useful and interesting as well. If you want to learn more or want to make an order, contact us and we’ll make fun, fresh apparel for you.

Make a Lasting Impression With Customized Trucker Hats

We all desire to make an impact, whether in business or as individuals. A simple yet effective way is through customized trucker hats.

With the help of embroidery or some cool patches, we can transform your trucker hats into fantastic instruments of self-expression.

Got a logo, slogan, or illustration you want us to replicate? At Jupmode, we can put your design on anything.

As the custom screen-printing and embroidery experts, let us add your logo or design to your hats and other promotional products—from impossibly comfy, well-fitting T-shirts to stickers, bags, and everything in between.

Listen to what our customers say:

“Jupmode is simply the best! They’re big in heart, and I'm very grateful for the help our non-profit received from Jupmode. Always professional, friendly, and quality service. Thank you so much and may you have many more years of success!” — Deborah M.

“Excellent service! When I had a question about my order, the young woman was helpful and made me feel valued as a customer! Thank you!" — Barbara H.

Don't hesitate to put us to the test; we've seen it all and are ready to deliver exceptional quality.

If you ever find yourself strolling in uptown Toledo, visit our Jupmode store on Adams Street. You can also take a virtual tour in the video below and see what goes on in our production facility.


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