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Blog / Beginner's handbook / Hat Logo Size Guide

Beginner's handbook

Hat Logo Size Guide

Hat Logo Size Guide
Lilija Karpjaka

By Lilija Karpjaka

14 min read

Imagine the perfect finishing touch to an outfit: a custom embroidered hat that effortlessly ties everything together.

The secret sauce? It all hinges on the design.

Achieving that flawless look, where every stitch of your embroidery sits just right, begins with understanding the ideal hat logo size.

And here’s why it’s critical:

  1. Size matters. Create an embroidery design that’s too large, and the product will look crowded or distorted. Make it too small, and it may look insignificant or difficult to see.

  2. Different hats have varying embroidery area sizes. Considering these constraints helps create a design that fits within the available space.

After all, the logo represents your brand. The precision with which you design these logos is crucial, as it directly influences your merch’s perceived value and quality. Ensuring the design appropriately fits your chosen hat type, you can maintain branding consistency and reinforce brand recognition.

We’ve also included helpful info on ensuring your designs are embroidery-friendly and how to create your embroidery files. With this guide, you’ll have everything you need to create custom hats with logos like a pro.

Read also: How to Design a Logo for Embroidery: 7 Essential Things to Note

Embroidery types

Before you learn about design size requirements, you should also know that there are two types of hat embroidery at Printful: flat and 3D Puff

Flat vs 3D puff embroidery on custom hats

Source: Printful

Flat embroidery is achieved by stitching the threads onto the surface of the fabric without any added thickness. The end result is a design that is flat and smooth.

The detail thickness must be at least 0.05 (4pt)

Pt. means “points”. A point is the basic typographical unit of a measure. One point is equal to 1/72 of an inch or 0.0353 centimeters.

And if you’re using fonts, keep a minimum of 0.3″ in height for upper case letters and a minimum of 0.25″ for lower case letters. 

The 3D puff is a technique where the embroidery is raised. It’s primarily used for big shapes. With this technique, a foam underlay is cut to the shape of the design and added as an extra layer to the fabric. The embroidery machine then stitches over the foam piece, causing the design to lift and create a puffed effect.

To achieve the 3D puff look, the detail thickness must be between 0.2 (15pt) and 0.5 (36pt).

There are also two types of stitches: satin stitch and tatami fill. Our machines will also recognize run stitch, which is a single-line stitch. This is used as a last resort when the lettering is too small, or the details are too thin to embroider.

Satin stitch and tatami fill embroidery types

Source: Printful

Our graphics team decides what type of stitches will be best for each design during the embroidery file digitization process. 

Typically, satin stitch is used for shapes ranging from 0.05″ (1.3 mm) to 0.5″ (12.5 mm), while tatami stitch is used for shapes thicker than 0.5″ (12.5 mm). 

Note that uploading a graphic resembling one you’ve previously submitted could result in a different digital representation. This can happen because we have multiple digitizers, each with its own approach to processing the files.

Digitization

Every piece of embroidery on custom hats and other garments needs a specific digitized file that our embroidery machines can read. 

Submit your design to Printful as a vector file (preferably in AI or PDF formats, though high-resolution PNG also works), and we’ll digitize it for a one-time fee. 

You can submit an embroidery design when you create or upload a design in our Design Maker.

When you send us your embroidery design, our team will convert it into the required format for a one-time charge, known as the digitization fee. This fee varies based on the design’s type and location, leading to different costs.

The standard cost for digitizing most designs is $6.50 (€5.75) per file. If you want to adapt hat embroidery files for clothing or the other way around, there’s $2.95 (€2.50) charge for each file.

Standard digitization fee

$6.50 (€5.75)

Digitization for designs created using only the Design Maker’s text tool

$3.95 (€3.70)

Back and side digitization for hats

$2.95 (€2.50)

Adjustment digitization fee

$2.95 (€2.50)

You can also get free digitization for all your design files in a single order if you order 25+ embroidered items simultaneously. That way, you’ll be able to test out different products with different designs and get digitized files you can reuse at no extra cost.

Note that if you want to apply a 3D puff hat design to clothing, the digitization process needs to be done over, as the 3D puff technique does not translate to other apparel. 

Embroidery area

The size of your design will depend on the available embroidery area of your chosen hat. Some hats have a higher profile, so you can embroider a larger design. There are low-profile hats, like the 5-panel hats, with a lower available height.

Here are the size dimensions for embroidering on caps and beanies:

a diagram of different types of hats

Source: Printful

Knit hats typically have a 5″ × 1.75″ (12.70 × 4.45 cm) design area.

Dad hats have only 4″ × 1.75″ (10.16 × 4.45 cm) and come with back and side areas at 2″ × 1″ (5.08 × 2.54) cm.

Bucket hats can provide a little more room, with some offering a 5″ × 2″ (13.97 × 5.08 cm) area.

Here are the general line thickness guidelines that apply to all hats.

Flat Embroidery

3D Puff Embroidery

Fonts (flat embroidery)

Detail thickness must be at least 0.05″ (4pt)

Detail thickness must be between 0.2″ (15pt) and 0.5″ (36pt)

Minimum of 0.3″ in height for upper case letters - Minimum of 0.25″ in height for lower case letters

Let’s get into more detail and look at each hat type. 

Snapbacks

Snapbacks are 5 or 6-panel hats with a wide, flat brim and an adjustable snap on the back (hence the name). Their ancestor is the baseball cap, but nowadays, snapbacks have evolved into a symbol of urban culture and youth style.

Snapbacks have a high profile, allowing you to create large logo designs. 

These hats are distinguished by their taller front panels, which provide a more prominent space above the forehead. This design allows for a deeper fit on the head, creating a more pronounced silhouette than low-profile hats. Snapbacks often offer more room for graphic designs or logos on the front, making them a favored choice for branding and fashion statements. Their structured shape maintains the hat’s form, offering a bold, noticeable look that stands out in casual and fashion-forward settings.

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They have four embroidery areas: front, back, left, and right side.

  Printful's high-profile hat size guide

Source: Printful

 

Placement

Embroidery file size

Front

6.3″ × 2.56″ (16.00 × 6.50 cm)

Side & back logo

2″ × 1″  (5.08 × 2.54 cm)

 

 

Dad hats/baseball hats

Dad hats or baseball caps became a fashion trend in the 1990s, particularly among rappers who found that these caps complemented their style, which often included baggy pants and oversized clothing. It’s still a popular hat style today. For millennials and Gen Z, dad hats evoke nostalgia with their often vintage or retro designs, unstructured soft crowns, curved brims, and typically muted color tones. 

These are low-profile hats.

Low-profile hats are characterized by their shallow fit on the head, offering a more snug fit than other styles. This design typically features a less pronounced front panel, which doesn’t stand as high as those on traditional baseball caps or trucker hats.

The result is a more subtle and understated look, making low-profile hats a popular choice for those seeking a minimalist and less obtrusive headwear option. They’re versatile enough to be worn casually while maintaining a sleek and stylish appearance.

Printful's low-profile hat size guide

Source: Printful

 

Placement Embroidery file size
Side & back logo 4″ × 1.75″ (5.08 × 2.54 cm)

Front

2″ × 1″ (10.16 × 4.45 cm)

Trucker hats

Trucker hats, also called mesh hats, usually have mesh paneling, a high dome area, and a flat brim. 

Initially, these hats were cheap to produce. Feed and farming companies used them as promotional hats, giving them away for free at various events to truck drivers (hence the name) or other rural workers. This marketing strategy contributed significantly to the trucker hat’s rise in popularity, transforming it from a simple giveaway item into a fashion statement that continues to be favored by many.

The trucker hat has a large embroidery area in the front

a white and black hat with a red stitching

Source: Printful

Placement Embroidery file size

Front

6.3″ × 2.56″ (16.00 × 6.50 cm)

Bucket hats

When the world got a little tired of the seemingly million types of baseball cap variations, they turned to. . . the fishermen community!

a white bucket hat with a flower on it

Source: Printful

The bucket hat started as an accessory for fishermen, but it became trendy in the 1960s and 1970s. Young people from hippie and surfer subcultures embraced them as a symbol of youthful rebellion.

In the 2000s, the hat became a staple in the hip-hop fashion scene, and with the 90’s and Y2K trend reemergence, this hat is as popular as ever.


  maximum size design guide

Source: Printful

Like the trucker hat, the bucket hat has a large embroidery area in the front.

 

Placement Embroidery file size

Front

5″ × 2″ (13.97 × 5.08 cm)

Beanies

For those of us living in colder climates, comfort sometimes has to take precedence over style. But why not have both? After all, that’s what beanies are for. 

Beanies are a staple for warmth and comfort during the colder months and serve as a canvas for creative expression year-round. Their versatility makes them an ideal choice for personalized gifts, especially during the holiday season when a cozy beanie can be a warm Christmas present.

Beanie logo size guide Printful

Source: Printful

 

Placement Embroidery file size

Front

5″ × 1.75″ (12.70 × 4.45 cm)

Visors

The visor is often associated with tennis and other outdoor activities. This crownless hat is best known for its functionality since it protects the face from the sun.

These open-top wonders allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds—basking in the warmth without worrying about overheating. Perfect for beach days, sports events, or just a casual stroll in the park, visors are the go-to for anyone looking to make a fun and functional style statement.

Currently, we offer just one visor—the Visor | Flexfit 8110

a white visor with red stitching

Source: Printful

Placement Embroidery file size

Front

4” × 1” (10.16 × 2.54 cm)

Hat logo design embroidery tips & tricks

 

Armed with the knowledge of optimal hat logo sizes for your designs, we’re poised to delve deeper into the intricate realm of embroidery. Let’s transform your ideas from mere concepts to tactile masterpieces.

Make your designs embroidery-friendly

Or the art of creating exceptionally cool custom-embroidered hats.

Many store owners make the same mistake over and over again. They take one of their designs (which may have worked well on t-shirts) and try putting it on hats. But depending on the design, it can be a big mistake.

Embroidery is an entirely different beast compared to direct-to-garment printing. For that reason, it requires a wholly different approach to creating a successful design. Here are some key elements to consider when designing your custom hat embroidery designs. 

As always, remember that your designs must follow our Acceptable Content Guidelines.

Go minimalist

A minimalistic design can have a striking impact. Simple designs are easy to embroider and have a finished look with nice, tight lines. For example, a basic design with minimal details can look striking with a white thread against a black cap.

It’s best to avoid small, detailed designs, which are difficult to embroider. To recap:

  • For flat embroidery, the minimum thickness for shapes is 0.05″ (1.3 mm)

  • We use satin stitch for all shapes that are from 0.05″ (1.3 mm) to 0.5″ (12.5 mm) thick and tatami stitch for shapes thicker than 0.5″ (12.5 mm)For 3D puff, the minimum thickness is 0.2″ (5 mm) and the maximum is 0.5″ (12.5 mm)

  • There should also be a space of at least 0.07″ (1.8 mm) between 3D objects

Our free Design Maker allows you to create text-based designs for flat embroidery. You can choose from over 100 fonts, and the Design Maker will warn you if the lines in your design become too small.

a black hat with white text embroidery

Source: Printful’s Design Maker

Feel free to choose any clipart or Quick Designs, as these graphics are perfect for embroidery. They’re minimalistic and simple.

a black beanie with white embroidery

Source: Printful’s Design Maker

The main takeaway? Use simple designs with thick lines.

Take limited colors into account

When developing embroidery designs, remember that the number of thread colors impacts the hat’s appearance. If you opt for multiple colors, ensure the details are large enough for effective sewing, similar to the letters and forms shown in this hat.

Remember that there’s a limit to how many thread colors you can use. We offer 15 colors, but you’re limited to 6 thread colors per design for all embroidery types. Except if you pick a hat that allows unlimited color embroidery.

Unlimited color embroidery is a technique best for designs that require a wide variety of colors and shades. With this, you can also achieve a gradient effect.

Just be careful not to go overboard with the colors and avoid the following mistakes:

  • Too small and too many details

  • Neon and metallic colors

  • Small or short gradients

  • Negative space objects

 

a colorful text with a peace sign

Avoid small or short gradients

 

a red rectangle with white text

Avoid filling the negative spaces with another color

Learn more: Creating the perfect embroidery file

To find hats that offer embroidery with this technique, go to the product catalog, select all hats, and then choose the technique.

Printful's product catalog

Stick to symmetry

A good hat design has a good balance.

One rule of thumb is to focus your design on the middle bottom and span out from there. Centering your design is a must, as most people don’t want to seem lopsided when wearing their hats.

 

a custom white baseball cap with a logo on it

Source: Printful

Dabble in side embroidery

For a polished look, you can add your small embroidered logo on the side of the cap. Ideally, you would add a logo, company initials, or something else that’s small and can fit in the side space. You can only use flat embroidery for sides–no 3D puff.

It’s available on both sides of the cap or just one. Or you can skip the front embroidery altogether and just design a cap with side embroidery. Here’s how the pricing breaks down:

  • Just one side (no front embroidery): base price

  • Both sides (no front embroidery): base price +$3

  • Front and one side: base price +$3

  • Front and both sides: base price +$6

Polish your embroidery skills

Want to learn more about custom embroidery? Check out our YouTube videos and articles for everything from navigating Printful’s Design Maker to elevating your unlimited color embroidery projects. Whether you’re starting from scratch or aiming to refine your techniques these resources will help you out. 

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Read our articles: 

Take a look at our landing page guide for the basics. This page also covers the most common embroidery mistakes. 

How to prepare an embroidery file

Ready to transform your designs into flawless embroidery? Let’s jump into Photoshop and Illustrator, where we’ll guide you through tweaking your artwork for that perfect stitch. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, our straightforward steps are designed to make the process smooth and successful. It’s time to take your designs from digital to tangible, ensuring they dazzle on every piece.

P.S. You can also find these instructions in the file guidelines section under your chosen product.

Photoshop  

Photoshop icon

 

  1. OPEN The Printful template or CREATE a new document

  2. Create or copy/paste graphics within the maximum graphic size area

Pay attention to graphics resolution.

  1. CONVERT TO SHAPE all vector fonts and select the text layer first

Photoshop tutorial

  1.  SAVE

1. Turn off the guides by using the eye icon tool 

2. Choose File - Save As and Rename your file 

3. Save as .png

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe illustrator icon

 

  1. CREATE new document

• Make sure Raster effects are set to 300 DPI or higher

• Make sure the color space is set to RGB

  1. PLACE raster graphics or create/copy & paste vector graphics within the maximum graphic size area.

Pay attention to graphics resolution (see requirements above).

Adobe Illustrator tutorial

    3. EMBED raster graphics

Adobe Illustrator tutorial

     4. CREATE OUTLINES of all vector fonts

Select text first

Adobe Illustrator tutorial

    5. SAVE AS PDF OR EXPORT AS PNG

1. Choose “File” — “Save as” or “Export as” 

2. Rename your file

3. Choose .pdf or .png as the file format 

4. Click the “Use Artboards” checkbox 

5. Click “OK” to save the file

How to order a custom embroidery hat

You’ll have to create an account before you place an order with Printful. You can make an individual order or start your store and then make an order.

  1. Go to your Printful Dashboard and click “New order” in the top right corner.

  2. Choose Test your designs. These are sample orders and will get you 20% off and free shipping to select destinations.

  3. Choose your product. In this case, it’ll be hats.

  4. Choose your model.

  5. Choose your color.

  6. Upload your design, or create one in our Text Tool. You can also use a design from our clipart and Quick Designs collections. Drag it around, size it, and position it the way you like. Pay attention to the DPI–ensure it shows as Good!

  7. Select if you want it to be all flat embroidery or 3D puff embroidery.

  8. Choose your thread colors.

  9. Click Continue to confirm the order, check the shipping address, and submit the order.

If you haven’t used one of our sample graphics, which are already pre-digitized, your order will have a digitization fee. The digitization fee depends on the type and placement of your design:

  • Standard digitization fee for most designs: $6.50 (€5.75) per file

  • Text designs made in our Design Maker: $3.95 (€3.70) per file

  • Designs on the back or sides of a hat: $2.95 (€2.50) per file

Afterward, the digitized file will appear in your library, and you can make future orders with no repeated digitization costs.

Learn More: How to Start an Embroidery Business: 5 Steps to Success

Rock them around the city

Now that you’ve made your order, all that’s left to do is wait for your custom embroidery hat to arrive. Once you’ve checked the quality, we’re sure you’ll have no qualms about selling it on your online store. Read more about starting your online garment store.

author

By Lilija Karpjaka on Feb 16, 2024

Lilija Karpjaka

SEO Content Writer

Lilija is an SEO content writer at Printful. She's passionate about ecommerce, and in her spare time, she's an avid reader of various book genres.

Lilija is an SEO content writer at Printful. She's passionate about ecommerce, and in her spare time, she's an avid reader of various book genres.