Setting Your Brand Apart: A Trendsetter's Guide To Puff Embroidery

by John Amato

Picture vendors in a bustling marketplace, calling out to customers enthusiastically. Does the calling guarantee they'll make a purchase?

Sure, it might attract a few passers-by, but it’s not a sustainable way to build a large customer base.

Likewise, the amount of marketing noise a brand makes doesn’t necessarily attract customers. In fact, the opposite is quite true, bombarding customers with too much advertisement can wear them out.

There’s a subtle yet remarkably effective method of differentiating your brand from the rest which we just so happen to love, it’s called custom branded merch.

In this article, we’re specifically talking about using puff embroidery to push your brand to the forefront.

Puff embroidery is an upgraded version of flat embroidery, normally used to brand merchandise. What differentiates the puffed version is its visual impact. It results in three-dimensional logos, illustrations, and patterns.

While it's most popular on hats, you can integrate this technique into just about any of your offerings, whether t-shirts, uniforms, and sweatshirts.

The table below provides additional information differentiating between puff embroidery and flat embroidery.

Aspect Puff Embroidery Flat Embroidery
Textured Appearance Creates a 3D, raised effect Results in a flat, 2D design
Visual Impact Adds depth and dimension Suitable for more subtle looks
Material Compatibility Works well with thicker fabrics Suited for a wide range of fabrics
Design Complexity Ideal for bold and intricate designs Best for simpler patterns
Branding Effectiveness Draws attention and uniqueness Classic approach to branding

We’re here on a mission—to demonstrate how puff embroidery is effective at telling your brand’s story.

Get ready to explore the following topics:

  • Why puff embroidery is popular nowadays
  • How this technique can benefit your brand
  • The remarkable designs you can achieve
  • Some challenges of using puff embroidery

Just as puff embroidered designs stand out on fabric, so will your brand stand out when you embrace this strategy.

The Basics: Introducing Puff Embroidery

Old Westender Hat

Puff embroidery is a technique that brings fabric to life using three-dimensional designs, giving you dynamic branding through the power of stitches.

Let’s take a journey back: The business world has always been fiercely competitive, with each brand striving to be memorable to its customers.

This competitiveness led to a desire for creative branding in order to thrive among a sea of competitors.

Luckily, advancements in embroidery technology fulfilled this desire, leading to the popularity of puff embroidery, also known as 3D embroidery.

Businesses saw puff embroidery as an avenue to make their brands stand out, and there, in the midst of flat embroidery designs, the puffed look became a breath of fresh air.

The allure of 3D designs is undeniable. It exudes a premium look that makes brands memorable, and customers have responded well to this trend, propelling it into the limelight.

The three-dimensional look of puff embroidery involves stitching over foam to create a raised effect. This is unlike the two-dimensional flat embroidery, which is stitched without foam and has a traditional flat look.

Puff embroidery is versatile, offering vast opportunities for creativity. By employing this technique, you can transform:

  • Wardrobe staples such as hoodies and jackets into wearable art
  • Caps, beanies, and hats into head-turners that demand attention
  • Brand’s uniforms and safety apparel from boring to stylish
  • Children’s clothing into adorable fashion statements

Benefits of Puff Embroidery for Your Brand’s Image

Our goal is to get your brand the attention it deserves. Whether that is a relationship building gift for a customer or branded merch to make your employees look good. 

Puff embroidery is the way. It offers a range of benefits that leave a lasting impression on your customers and employees.

Let’s see how this technique can elevate your brand.

1 - Increases the Visual Appeal of Your Products

It’s no secret that the goal with custom branded merch is to create products that people want to wear. The more it's worn, the more your business is seen and remembered.

Puff embroidery is always eye catching. It stands out because it's a little something extra that is different than your standard embroidery. It's a surefire way of making a positive first impression that makes your merchandise unforgettable.

2 - Increases the Perceived Quality of Your Products

With puff embroidery, customers can’t help but attach value to your brand. The most common association with puff embroidery is Major League Baseball hats. There's nothing that says quality like official MLB hats!

At the end of the day, quality is tied to cost for a reason. The better the products, the more someone pays to acquire them. 

And puff embroidery is more expensive than standard embroidery for a reason. It's more stitches, requires a foam application, and takes longer to sew than flat embroidery. 

All of these elements make it more than just a perception of quality. It's better for a reason and that reflects appropriately on your brand.

3 - Offers Flexibility of Expression

Every brand has an identity and theme they want to express, and puff embroidery is an avenue of endless possibilities to do so.

For example, a children’s clothing line can use cartoonish animals to portray their brand as playful, while another brand may use clean lines to portray minimalism.

Other themes that can be portrayed using puff embroidery include:

  • Sophistication using intricate monograms
  • Sustainability using florals and earthy tones
  • Urban culture using graffiti and edgy typography
  • Nostalgia using vintage icons or lettering

Remember: As you navigate the branding process, remember that puff embroidery isn’t just thread, it’s a creative tool that brings out themes to help express your brand’s essence.

Which Designs Can You Make With Puff Embroidery?

Toledo Denim Hat

Your brand’s merchandise are blank canvases that can be brought to life by puff embroidery, transforming them from mundane to three-dimensional forms.

This branding technique exudes a touch of sophistication that’s hard to achieve using flat embroidery or embroidered patches.

Let’s explore the design possibilities puff embroidery holds:

1 - Lettering

Puff embroidery is particularly useful for initials and names. It’s used on:

  • Sports jerseys: Displays team names and player numbers, making it easy to identify them.
  • Apparel: Creates a more personalized look on items such as t-shirts, jackets, and sweatshirts.
  • Headwear: Excellent for giving hats a professional look.

The TOL Script Youth Hat and Old West Ender Hat—designed and decorated in the Midwest—are examples of how puff embroidery is effective for names and initials.

Toledo Youth Script Hat


Note how the puffed letters on the four hats add depth and texture.

Something For Everyone: We don’t just deal with big brands, We deal with individual orders too. So, if you’ve ever visited the Midwest and loved it, any of these four items make exceptional memorabilia for you or a friend.

2 - Logos

An impactful logo is key to effective branding, especially if you’re aiming to make an impression during trade shows and other events.

As a brand, you can use puff embroidery to creatively customize your logo using different stitch thicknesses, colors, and layering techniques.

At Jupmode, we can put your design on anything you bring our way (yes, really). We puff embroider promo products that enable customers and employees to show off your brand on something they’ll actually keep.

If your current design isn’t quite hitting the mark, we have a collection of designs for inspiration, and our graphic designers can also help you bring new ideas to life.

Tell us your idea and we’ll send you a response within 24 business hours.

"A great experience! I am super impressed with the responsiveness and professionalism of everyone I worked with."

Steve M., Verified Buyer, United States

Are There Limitations to Using Puff Embroidery?

Yes, though puff embroidery is a visually attractive and versatile way of distinguishing your brand, it has some limitations.

It’s crucial to understand these limitations to avoid handing in your apparel for embroidery without knowing the potential outcome.

Let’s look at these limitations:

1 - Complex Designs Don’t Come Out Well

Complex designs encompass intricate or minute details, such as fine lines or an exceptionally high degree of shading, which puff embroidery can’t replicate.

The challenge lies in the use of foam to create the raised areas. Due to this additional element, stitches tend to widen where foam is present, making it difficult to use fine stitches.

The good news is you can mix flat embroidery with puff embroidery to achieve the fine details in your logo. 

2 - Very Thick or Thin Fabric Is Problematic

When creating puff embroidery, some materials are difficult to work with:

  • Thick fabric such as denim poses a problem when stitching. Its stiffness doesn’t allow the needle to stitch easily.
  • Very thin fabric such as silk and nylon doesn’t adequately support the weight of the foam and stitches, causing distortion of the fabric.
    To solve this issue, additional support, such as a stabilizer, is used but cannot always eliminate the problem entirely.

3 - Costs More Than Flat Embroidery

One reason puff embroidery costs more than standard flat embroidery is because of the extra production time. Our embroidery machines stitch a set number of items at one time and can only move on to more when those are complete.

The density of the stitches and the extra cost of the foam that is used to create the 3D look are additional factors. The time it takes to embroider an item is determined by the stitch count. Naturally, the more stitches in the design, the longer it takes to complete.

Puff embroidery requires denser stitching in order to adequately cover the foam that is sewn into the design. 

Puff Up Your Brand’s Recognition With Puff Embroidery

Jupmode's embroidery machine

Brands are constantly vying for attention, and puff embroidery is the tool that differentiates your merchandise from the rest.

This technique adds a three-dimensional look that transforms ordinary apparel into luxurious items. The kind that anyone will be proud to buy or receive as a gift.

The ability to combine visuals and storytelling using thread is a skill we’ve perfected at Jupmode, with over 15 years of experience.

We specialize in embroidering and screen printing Midwest clothing, accessories, and practical items like coffee mugs, socks, and bandanas. We do it all, and we really love it.

There’s no limit to what we do. Whether it’s designing University of Toledo or Bowling Green State University merchandise, or a few of your personal items, we're big enough to handle any type of order, but small enough to make it perfect.

Contact us and let us puff embroider your brand’s apparel.

"I would recommend Jupmode to anyone who is looking for quality clothes and excellent customer service. My company has used Jupmode several different times to make T-shirts, Hoodies, and long sleeve T-shirts as gifts for our customers/employees. We always have rave reviews when gifting Jupmode to anyone. I highly, highly recommend"

Matthew S., Verified Buyer, United States


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