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9 Things to Remember When Designing Custom Hats

The industry is always changing with creating or designing custom hats and/or beanies. With new advances in techniques, branding, fabrics, and materials, options may seem overwhelming.

In this blog article, I will be discussing 9 things to remember when you design custom hats that we use to help clients make important decisions during the design process.

“Where do I start?” This is a common question, and an important one. This leads us into the discussion of key tips that will help you, your company, your designer, and manufacturer in creating your custom hats.

1 – Artwork for Custom Hats 

When designing artwork, it is important to focus on the essentials. As we look at successful brands and companies, they all have one thing in common: a simple yet distinguishable logo or text.

Brands are noticed by their logo. If I showed you distinguishable icons used by major companies, you would be able to identify then right away. This is important when considering how you want to follow this trend yet separate yourself from others.

“Simplicity is not simple.”

Some may believe that going over the top is the best idea, sometimes this is correct. Most of the time, we identify key ideas and stances based on text or a simple icon.

It is ideal to tie in the nature of your company or brand into your artwork as this will allow for easy recognition. For example, if you own a coffee company, you would want your artwork to somehow visually show this in one shape or form.

When creating artwork, it is important to visualize your brand as a whole, and narrow that down into a creative outlet. You may ask, how can I incorporate so many ideas into one thing? This is not the easiest of tasks but achievable.

2 – Include Your Customers in the Decision

You would not be where you are without the support of others, let them help! I find that drafting multiple ideas regarding artwork is a helpful tool. These can be used in small focus groups, or simply asking your customers which one they prefer.

This tool is not only helpful but important, when you realize that these patrons will be the ones choosing to buy your merchandise, so you want that demographic to relate and enjoy the appearance of your design.

3 – The Right File Type for Custom Hats

While there are many different outlets to create artwork, it is important to focus on the highest quality. During the manufacturing process, companies want the best possible file type for your logo so that it will be produced with the best details.

In this industry, most manufacturers would prefer Illustrator based files or something with a high DPI. You could have an awesome design, but if it doesn’t translate well into a branding element, these things are lost.

4 – The Style of Your Custom Hat  

There are so many options of different styles of hats now. This will continue to grow as companies and individuals have new and exciting ideas. There are many ways to choose where to start or what would work best with your brand.

Some styles Delusion MFG offers are 5 panel hats, snapback hats, trucker hats, beanies, toques, bucket hats, unconstructed hats, dad hats and more. (Yes. There’s more).

Some Pro-Tips for this include: demographics, type of company, location, weather / climate and general style preferred. It is also beneficial to observe your customers to take mental notes on what styles they seem to lean towards. This is important because they will be the audience you are selling too.

5 – Hats Have Always Made a Statement

People wear headwear like hats and beanies or clothes to reflect their themselves. This could relate to their ideals, personalities and overall style. Whether it’s beanies, 5 panel hats, snapbacks, bucket hats etc.

These items of clothing are important not only to the business or person selling them but the people that want to wear them, customers. It is important to produce at the highest quality while incorporating your own ideals.

6 – Can you Hear the Audience

Your audience will guide you in more ways than you know. The customer base that you have worked so hard to build has given them a voice in helping you grow and expand. (Especially in the market of custom headwear or clothing).

I know I touched a little on this before but, observation and communication are key. The success of a brand is directly related to its care and attention to those involved on the business level and customer level. These two lines overlap. It is never a bad idea to listen to ideas, share ideas, and collaborate with customers.

7 – The Spectrum 

Colors are so important in designing a hat. From the artwork down to the base of the hat fabric to even the stitching. Don’t be overwhelmed that there are literally millions of color shades to choose from! Sorry to scare you but it is the truth! Most designers and manufacturers use the Pantone Color Scale to help match the best colors to the ones you intended.

To avoid any issues, using this guideline from the beginning would be very helpful! Colors invoke moods and emotions, so when choosing colors that best relate to your brand and the headwear fabric, it is important to gain a feel of the mood that this style is portraying.

There are some important questions you can ask yourself when choosing colors. How does this make me feel? How does this make me look? Does this portray the trend or style that I am going for? Would people be drawn to this? These questions relate to every element of the hat. Should you stick to a neutral or vibrant base? These should be considered when drafting ideas.

8 – Can You Feel It 

Hat materials are so important to not only the look and style, but the environment in which these will be worn. Each type of fabric has its advantages and disadvantages.

I will be covering this in the future, but making these decisions helps with some research. Do not be afraid to ask or do your homework. Even go to your local clothing retailer and feel the fabrics yourself. There is nothing you should be afraid of or avoid doing in your journey to creating the best possible headwear product.

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9 – Trust the Pros

When working with graphic designers, fabric companies, and hat manufacturers; it is important to listen to their feedback and suggestions. Ask them questions, that’s what they’re there for.

The knowledge that is gained over the years from reputable custom hat manufacturers is key not only to your success but their success as well. If someone is unwilling to listen to questions or concerns, it would be in your best interest to look elsewhere. It is important to find a manufacturer that will pay endless attention to detail and steer you in the right direction.

True professionals will not suggest certain things that would be counterproductive. Do your research when finding a custom hat manufacturer, this is VERY important. As there are many to choose from, it is key to find one with a proven track record of success from both the customer service / artwork side, to the actual manufacturing side.

Many manufacturers are happy to send samples to help you see their work up close. Having a great experience with a company who is helping make your hats as well as going above and beyond are the types of things you want to see. You are trusting someone to deliver on your vision.


Because we have seen the results firsthand. We have been involved in the custom apparel industry since 2008, with previous experience in the brand apparel sector and hospitality industry. That’s almost 10 years of experience!

We have seen how not only has society and technology continued to change but the growth of the small business. Delusion MFG can proudly say that we continue to team up with businesses (from big to small) around the world! We gladly lend our hand in helping businesses grow and succeed on the custom apparel spectrum.

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