cap design idea with name embroidered on back

Inspiring hat design ideas to promote your business

Hats can be stylish, useful and fun. Most importantly, they are a great marketing tool for your business; a highly visible and cost-effective way to get your logo, slogaxn or brand colors into the world. Most hats are light and compact, and usually one size fits all, making them easy to hand out or send in the mail. But you should choose your promotional headwear with care. From baseball caps and visors to beanies and bucket hats, different styles have different associations. It’s worth taking time to figure out which hat design ideas are the best fit for your brand.

Table of contents

  1. Hat design ideas
  2. Types of hats
  3. How to put a design on a hat
  4. Why hats are an inspired choice

Hat design ideas

Flaunt your company logo

We look at people’s faces again and again when we meet them. Hats frame those faces, making them prime real estate for the colors, symbols and messaging that define your brand identity. If you’re looking to spread brand awareness, it doesn’t get better than a hat design with your logo front and center.

Baseball cap with a central logo. Source: print_design via 99designs by Vista

Woofast cap logo

This sharp logo for a delivery company implies speed and focus. Source: HANA via 99designs by Vista 

Logos are generally most memorable when in complementary colors set against a simple contrasting background. The most effective branded hats are often boiled down to the essentials—think of Nike baseball caps, which have evolved to an instantly recognizable simple swoosh and virtually nothing else. Get a logo cap right and your customers will wear it with pride.

truck parts company cap merch

Promotional cap for a trucks part company. Source: FASK.Project via 99designs by Vista

Hats’ visibility on the wearer’s head also makes them a good place to include key company information, such as a website, social handle or address, while many brands work the year the company was founded into their logo.

Promote an event

Caption: A hat can form part of a package of merchandise promoting an event. Source: Irisha_Design via 99designs by Vista

Branded hats are great tools for conferences, pop-up events, meetings or trade fairs. They can contain specific event details, such as its date, time or location, and be handed out to attract event-goers. Promotional hats can also be mementos for event attendees:

  • They can be worn by your staff to spread the word.
  • The portability and universal fitting of most styles make them easy to give away to event attendees, customers or passers-by.
  • They can be packaged with a tote bag or other merchandise to remind attendees about your event for years to come—as well as free future advertising.
  • You can tailor the hat to the time of year, with caps or visors for the summer and beanies in colder months.

Events are an opportunity to collaborate and hats can be used to celebrate these collaborations with like-minded companies. By mixing brand colors, logos or imagery you’ll create a souvenir of this synergy.

marathon cap

Event caps can be gifted to participants, who may keep hold of them for years. Source: VistaPrint

Say something with a slogan

favor baseball cap

Slogans on baseball caps should be short and punchy. Source: Graphics Guru 87 via 99designs by Vista

A slogan-emblazoned hat is a great way to show off your brand values and increase recognition. If you don’t already have a company slogan or tagline, think about what your brand stands for and has to say. The colors and artwork you choose should complement and reinforce your message.

Slogans on hats should be short and use clean fonts if you want people to be able to read them quickly. One well-known example is the I Love New York slogan; its sharp text and simple color scheme make it instantly recognizable on caps and T-shirts. But longer slogans that use the hat’s surface in inventive ways — or make the reader squint — can work just as well. Distorted or jarring layouts and fonts work well if your brand wants to cultivate an edgier image.

company slogan on a branded denim cap

Slogans can help your brand appeal to its audience. Source: The Stupid Pixel via 99designs by Vista

Eye-catching designs

When it comes to eye-catching designs, simplicity is often best, especially if low-cost and streamlined production is high on your agenda. Straightforward designs can hit hard: a silhouette can allude to what your brand does, while angular fonts and neon colors can make your brand feel futuristic. Colorful illustrations can pop out from a dark cap, while a family of designs can riff on the same image or logo, using different color graphics.

celso baseball cap

Use space to draw attention to a quirky artwork. Source: Curt Studio via 99designs by Vista

Creative hat designs can use:

simple music album graphic on a baseball cap

A simple graphic on a cap for music album merch. Source: Curt Studio via 99designs by Vista

Unusual hat design ideas won’t suit every business. They increase your costs and may have a narrower appeal. But they can also target a particular demographic and help your hats stand out.

Record label logo cap

This cap’s large central artwork catches the eye. Source: LALURAY® via 99designs by Vista

Types of hats

There’s a range of hats on offer, but a few styles are particularly effective for promoting your brand. Caps, beanies, visors and bucket hats are popular, easy to produce and have stood the test of time. To figure out which is the right fit for your business, get to know the characteristics of each style, as different hats suit different uses and audiences.

dourado outdoors cap

This fitted cap suits an insignia-like logo perfectly. Source: The Kreativia via 99designs by Vista

Caps

Associated with sports such as baseball, caps have experienced waves of popularity over certain eras and trends, such as 90s hip-hop and the 00s rise of the hipster. The baseball cap is a casual option, great for younger audiences or sports-related brands, but has increasingly cross-generational appeal.

trucker cap with twill front

Six-panel trucker cap with a twill front to add texture and depth. Source: Vistaprint

 Key varieties include:

  • Snapback cap. The classic baseball cap comes with an adjustable strap at the back. Its flexibility means it should fit everyone.
  • Fitted cap. This version of the baseball cap comes in a range of sizes, with no adjustable strap. The fitted cap is well-shaped and robust—but won’t fit a big variety of head sizes.
  • Trucker cap. This popular snapback variation has a mesh back with a foam front panel, making it a strong warm-weather option.
  • Five-panel cap. The ‘panel’ refers to the pieces of fabric the hat is made from. Each panel can use different fabrics and colors, making it easily customizable for different design ideas. The five-panel cap has a single front section—great for displaying a brand name or slogan cleanly.
  • Fidel cap. This army-style cap gets its name from former Cuban president Fidel Castro, so has associations with military chic. Depending on how you customize it, the Fidel cap can also give an edgier punk vibe.
  • Performance. Tight-fitting endurance mesh caps help keep the wearer cool and reduce sweating. This lightweight and breathable style has associations with running, golf and yachting.
Trucker cap

This trucker cap oozes retro 70s style. Source: athenabelle via 99designs by Vista

Visors

Visors are the ultimate in lightweight headwear, making them easy to distribute in numbers. They leave the head open to the air while protecting the wearer’s eyes and face from the sun. If you’re handing out merch at a warm-weather event, visors can shield attendees’ eyes, as well as promote your brand.

branded visor

Visors are useful in sunny weather. Source: Vistaprint

Used to promote golf and Formula 1, visors are linked to everything from gaming to poker. They’re fun too, making them ideal for casual brands or travel companies. The drawback of this hat style is its space restrictions: the relatively short frontage doesn’t fit much more than a logo or brand name.

Beanies

The beanie — a simple wool or acrylic knitted hat — is a good choice for handing out at cold-weather events. It also works for brands connected to winter sports or the outdoors. The beanie style is associated with a dressed-down casual look, bringing comfort to your existing or potential customers’ minds and lives, whatever your business’ offerings.

Beanie with a logo on the cuff

Beanie with a simple logo on the cuff. Source: OBΛY via 99designs by Vista

branded bitcoin beanie

Put a hashtag or QR code on your branded beanie. Source: netralica via 99designs by Vista

There are generally less options with beanies than baseball caps, but you can still personalize them easily:

  • choose a color that fits your brand or complements your logo
  • choose between cuffed (with a folded trim offering more warmth) or uncuffed (with a more contemporary feel) styles
  • choose extra features such as pompoms or ear flaps
customized beanie

Simple logos and bright colors make uncuffed beanies stand out. Source: VistaPrint

Bucket hats

Of all brim hats, it’s bucket hats that are most commonly used as branded apparel. But unlike other brim hats, bucket hats are light and can be packed away easily without losing their shape, meaning they’re easy to store and mail out.

a customizable bucket hat

Bucket hats can carry a variety of messages, with this perky blue hat hinting at sunshine and good times. Source: VistaPrint

Bucket hats are a little more niche than baseball caps or beanies, which helps them — and by extension your brand — stand out. Originating in the hats worn by Irish fishermen, the style’s associations vary from region to region: in some countries, they gained popularity after the 2022 soccer World Cup, while in Tanzania they are popular among older people and in the UK they’re associated with the England cricket team.

With the right logo, a broad-brimmed bucket hat can evoke an outdoorsy vibe, while a brighter, narrower design fits the music festival scene and can be handed out at events with younger brand-appropriate attendees.

How to put a design on a hat

You’ll almost certainly work with a custom print service to bring your hat design ideas to life. Most websites allow you to shop by the style of hat or the type of printing process. If you’re customizing the hat design, such as with a logo, you’ll be given the chance to upload it and see how it works with different colors before making your order. Not every custom print service is the same, so consider:

  • the styles and materials they offer
  • personalization options
  • decoration technology
  • pricing per hat
  • the delivery charge
  • minimum and maximum order numbers
embroidered hat design with man wearing it

Embroidered logos can look sharp and smart, adding a touch of formality to a baseball cap. Source: VistaPrint

Embroidered designs

Embroidered designs, machine-drawn with a needle and thread, work best with hats made from cotton and wool, such as beanies, bucket hats and cotton caps. They are:

  • physically stitched into the fabric, giving them a wholly integrated feel
  • durable, even if the fabric is washed many times or crushed
  • useful for creating a formal or professional look—this is why insignia on uniforms are often embroidered
  • able to handle complex designs, though for intricate designs screen-printing is better
Multicolored "mush" logo cap

Source: VistaPrint

Screen printed designs

This method involves ink stamped onto the hat’s fabric. This works best for synthetic materials, although it can be applied to other fabrics. Screen printing is:

  • best for designs with real detail, such as small pieces of text
  • good at capturing fades and gradients
  • generally easier to apply and less expensive than embroidered designs
  • likely to result in a shiny look with a more casual feel

Heat transfer designs

Heat transfer is a similar method to screen printing although usually more expensive. The design is produced on paper and a heat press melts the ink into the fabric, creating crisp designs and bright colors.

Why hats are an inspired choice

Hats are one of the best ways to share your brand identity through a logo, slogan or message. They’re robust, inexpensive and easy to customize. And they’re also fun. When people put on a hat — whether it’s a visor at a sunny event or a beanie they received in the mail — they take a little bit of your business with them, passing it on to everyone they meet.