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Choosing the Best Custom Hats: 7 Expert Tips

Last Updated: 09-13-2022

Choosing the Best Custom Hats: 7 Expert Tips

When it comes to the perceived value of a promotional item, a custom hat almost feels like a gift. While custom t-shirts are a mainstay in giveaways, there are a number of reasons why people might not wear them -- the wrong size, an awkward fit, and so on.

Custom hats avoid a lot of those issues. A one-size-fits-all hat isn't impacted by a person's height or weight. It's also usually going to be a pretty good fit, especially if it's adjustable. In fact, if you're giving away hats, you can be pretty sure just about everybody is going to be able to use them... and that's what makes them an incredible promotional item.

However, even if you're not using a hat to promote a business, organization, or charity, there are great reasons for using customized hats. (Partly for the same reasons they excel as a promotional tool.)

Bolt wants to help you create custom caps

Custom hats could be the feather in your promotional campaign's cap

Hats have several advantages over other kinds of custom apparel when it comes to promoting a business, organization, or cause. These include:

- High visibility

Given hats are on people's heads, they're in a prominent, highly visible location.

Think about it -- even if you're in a crowd, you're going to see other people's heads. In fact, that might be the only part of their body that's visible. A hat is in a better place to be seen than any other type of apparel.

- Can be worn every day of the week

How many times does somebody typically use a t-shirt before washing it? And how many times a week can you see somebody wearing the same shirt even if it's clean?

Unlike most types of apparel, it's not unusual for somebody to wear the same hat everyday.

- People pay attention to hats

Although designs on custom apparel are likely to be noticed, a lot of people -- particularly sports fans -- seem to pay special attention to hats.

Hats are frequently used to show some kind of affiliation -- to a sports team, brand, or organization. Team hats are especially likely to get a reaction. And because peoples' eyes are drawn to hats, it's a great place for a logo.

Custom embroidery can be used to create great-looking caps

Top custom hat brands

Although all custom hats are a great promotional item, some brands are better than others. Here are a few of the most notable brands -- ones that people absolutely love (and will therefore be more likely to actually use!)

Richardson

Richardson is a super-popular, top-selling hat brand, typically seen as a mid-to-high-end choice. It offers a consistent, great fit.

We ship custom Richardson hats across the country

This consistency is perhaps Richardson's greatest value. When you buy a Richardson, you always know exactly what you're getting.

Flexfit

Unlike some other brands, Flexfit is sold by sizes -- meaning it's not adjustable. Instead,these hats come in small, medium, large, and XL.

Flexfit may have the perfect fit for your head

Despite being fitted hats, Flexfit can stretch. The brand is named for its "Flexfit Technology," a feature found in its core products (Flexfit®, Flexfit 110®, Flexfit 210® and Flexfit Delta®), which involves weaving polyurethane spandex into the sweatband and throughout the crown for added elasticity.

 

New Era

New Era is an incredibly well-recognized and respected brand. In fact, the company goes all the way back to 1920.

Bolt is happy to ship orders of New Era caps

The business, which started with fashion caps, first made the leap to baseball caps in 1934. By 1950, New Era was producing hats for 16 baseball teams. And, in 1993, New Era became exclusive baseball cap supplier for Major League Baseball (MLB).

So even if you haven't heard the name until now, you've likely seen New Era baseball caps. And, if you're a longtime fan, you might get a kick out of using the MLB's official supplier for your own custom hats -- especially if you're using them for your own team.

New Era custom hats are available as unisex and also by size.

Nike

When it comes to athletic apparel, few brands are as well-recognized as Nike. Their iconic Swoosh logo is known globally as a symbol of excellence.

Nike offers a lot more than just shirts and shoes. You could have your logo on custom caps right next to the Swoosh logo

There's a certain prestige factor to Nike products, which might count double for custom caps. After all, the design and style aren't just speaking for themselves, you also have the Swoosh. That automatically suggests a higher value in many people's minds.

Nike can be amusing choice for custom logo hats, considering the hats will have two logos -- whatever you choose to put on it and the Swoosh logo. While it's not an issue for a sports team, businesses might think twice when choosing it for their company logo hats.

 

The challenges of hat design

There are two inescapable facts when it comes to caps.

First, a hat's surface isn't flat. This means that something that might be legible on a shirt won't always be easily-read on a hat.

Second, you're dealing with a small space. The average maximum size for an embellishment is only 4" x 2".

These two aspects will influence a lot of your design choices. And, if you keep them in mind, you'll wind up with much nicer custom embroidered caps.

Why you should always stick with embroidery when it comes to custom hats

Although screen printing is the preferred embellishment method for custom t-shirts, embroidery is the standard for caps.

Why the difference? The nature of the surface area.

Screen printing works well on custom shirts because shirts provide a smooth, flat surface. Hats, on the other hand, don't have a flat surface. As a result, printed hats tend to turn out badly.

For that reason, Bolt Printing doesn't offer custom-printed hats. If we can't ensure a level of quality you'll be happy with, we don't want to risk providing that service. (And while there are companies who sell custom-printed hats, you should be careful -- not every company has a commitment to quality. Many are all too happy to do whatever you ask, no matter how badly it turns out... and will often avoid your phone calls when you try to complain.)

While it can still be tricky to embroider custom hats, it's much more reliable than printing.

7 Things to consider when choosing -- and designing -- a custom hat

#1 - Too much information is often a problem

While you might think potential customers need to know as much as possible about your company, remember that your hat isn't a business card.

There's a place for your phone number, but it's probably not on your hat.

There's a place for your email address, but it's probably not on your hat.

There's a place to list what services you offer, but it's probably not on your hat.

So what should be on your hat?

  • Your company logo. This is the best option for a custom embroidery.

  • Your company's name. Whether on the front, back, or side of a hat, it's practical to have your company's name since not everybody will recognize your company logo.

  • Maybe a website. This one is iffier because it can be harder to read. And, honestly, most people can just Google your company's name.

Always keep in mind the average person might not see your hat for very long. If the person wearing your hat and the viewer are both walking, they might only see your design for a few seconds (and that's while the hat is being jostled!)

#2 - Avoid tiny elements

How much good is a graphic or text if nobody can see it? When you go with smaller elements, you run the risk of people either struggling to figure out what's there or missing it completely.

And then you have the practical issue of embroidering those details. A sewing machine is a bit like a jackhammer -- or, in other words, it tends to struggle with very small, very precise detail.

#3 - Less is more

With so little space to embellish, you really need to prioritize your content.

Again, anybody who sees your cap while walking will likely only catch a glimpse of what's there. The more content you have, the longer it'll take for them to make sense of the design. You might only have a few seconds to deliver your message. Make that time count.

#4 - Sizing

While the great thing about hats is most people can wear them, you still need to think about the sizes while ordering.

If you're planning on a normal giveaway, make sure to order a one-size-fits-all style of hat. After all, you won't know who's going to be wearing them.

However, if you're giving hats to specific people -- such as your employees -- you might choose more precise sizes instead.

(Note: Be careful with sized hats. You're often better off ordering a sample to make sure you get the right size.)

#5 - Comfort

The comfort level of your hats will influence how often they're worn. Unfortunately, comfort comes down to a lot more than just a question of size, but also how the headwear fits and other small details.

Higher-end brands tend to do better in terms of comfort. While you might spend a little more on a nicer brand of custom caps, those additional few dollars could decide whether it's something a person wears all the time or not at all. (Which can be huge if you want people wearing your custom logo hats -- think of each person as a walking billboard, bringing attention and interest to your business or cause.)

#6 - Style

There are more hat styles than most people realize and those styles can give very different impressions of your brand.

Some styles are more casual while others are either fashionable or practical. The style you might give to somebody working outside could be very different from the hats you might hand out to customers during a giveaway.

After all, dad hats will appeal more to some people than others.

#7 - Stay within the limitations

Similar to issues with tiny elements, there are a number of technical limitations when it comes to embroidering hats. Trying to incorporate too much into a small space will cause issues.

 

Bolt Printing has great headwear at great prices

Whether buying hats or beanies, Bolt Printing has you covered.

We carry all of the top brands and, thanks to our incredible embroidery knowledge (as well as our white glove service), we can make sure your custom apparel looks amazing.

Get your own logo embroidered custom -- ink not required!

Unlike other custom apparel companies, we have no setup fees or hidden fees -- the price is the price. (And, if something changes -- such as needing to make a substitution because a product isn't in stock -- you'll be notified promptly.)

Does it get better? You bet! We offer free shipping on most standard orders to a single location. And, if standard shipping isn't fast enough for you, we have expedited options at reasonable shipping costs.

How can Bolt Printing afford to offer such low prices and great terms?

There are a lot of things that can contribute to the cost of custom apparel. The biggest one by far is whether or not a company outsources its labor -- the actual customization of that apparel -- to another business. Basically, this is when one company serves as a middle man, standing between a customer and the company actually doing the work on the customer's order.

Bolt Printing is not a middle man. We handle all of our production in-house within our own facility in sunny Brookfield, CT.

That means we can offer you low prices WITHOUT sacrificing quality.

Start designing your own hat today!

If you've been considering custom embroidered hats for a while, now is a great time to look into them. You can use our online design studio to see how your custom embroidered caps might look.

Our design lab brings your custom embroidered hats to life! Create with confidence for any occasion.

Upload your art into our design lab to see how it'll look on a hat or, if you don't have a graphic, you can always pick something from our huge selection of clip art.

Not ready to order today? You can save your design for later.

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