Promo 101: Everything You Need to Know about Promotional Caps

When it comes to promotional caps, not all caps are created equal. So how do you make sense of all the jargon and choose a cap that’s right for your business? In the first installment of our Promo 101 series, we’ll break down the options and help you find a perfect fit for your brand.

Structured or Unstructured?

First, you need to decide if you want a structured or unstructured cap. But what does that even mean? You’ll know it when you see it. A structured cap is somewhat stiff, and holds its shape when you wear it. An unstructured cap is soft and flexible, and loses it shape when you take it off. A lot of cap manufacturers now offer something in between: Soft Structured (also called Light Structured, depending on the vendor.)

Cap Structures
Image Credit: Paramount Apparel

Fabric: How do you want your caps to feel?

Different fabrics can create a totally different look and feel for your promotional caps. Some of the most popular fabrics include:

  • Brushed cotton twill (a budget-friendly cotton that’s universally appealing.)
  • Garment washed (fabric that has been washed multiple times to give it a slightly faded/worn look)
  • Performance (moisture-wicking fabric that is thin and pulls moisture away from the skin; great for sports and outdoors use.)
  • Mesh(Used in combo with another fabric to create styles like this best-selling trucker cap.)

What kind of profile do you want?

This refers to how high the cap sits on your head, and the most popular options include low or mid profile. (Occasionally, you might see a high profile, too.) If you’re flipping through a cap catalog, look for a style guide near the front or back. This should break down any company lingo and give you pictures of all the different profiles/fits available in the catalog. Here’s an example:

Image credit: Paramount Apparel

Size: Fitted or adjustable?

Most of the promotional caps we sell include an adjustable strap in the back so you can customize the size. However, we do sell fitted caps that come in certain sizes, such as small/medium and large/extra large. (Fitted caps seems to be most popular with athletic/performance style caps.) If you do decide to go with a fitted cap for a large order, ask for a sample so you can get a sense of how it fits. Large/extra large appears to be the most popular size.)

Closure: How do you want to adjust sizing on your cap?

You’ve got three  main options for the adjustable closure on the back of your cap: hook and loop (aka. Velcro), fabric strap with metal buckle (where you tuck the excess strap into a slot on the back of the cap), or plastic snap (often called snapback.)

Unstructured mid-profile cap with plastic snap closure. Shown with embroidery + decorative patch

Style: What bells & whistles do you want to add?

Cap manufacturers offer TONS of ways to change up the look of your promotional caps. Some of the most common include contrasting stitching, decorative side panels, distressing, sandwich visors, and special finishes. (Our customers love this camo wax finish cap!)

Decoration: Make your logo shine!

Embroidery remains the gold standard for caps. Don’t forget that you can also add embroidery to sides or back of the cap for lots of great branding opportunities! If you want to really spice things up, go with an embroidered or sublimated patch on the front of your cap! (We can do patches for as little as 48 pieces now!) Sublimated patches work REALLY week for logos with lots of details that might be hard to capture with embroidery. (Click here to see which styles are available with the patches shown below. Additional charges apply for specialty decoration.)

Embroidered patches.
sublimated patches
Sublimated patches. (Image credits: Paramount Apparel.)
We also offer a great option for high volume budget-driven projects: Image Lock heat transfers. These look a lot like screenprinting, but the image is slightly raised, and it bends/moves without compromising the integrity of the logo. (From a price perspective, go for 1 color logo to get the best bang for your buck.)
dad cap
Unstructured washed cotton twill “Dad cap” with adjustable strap & Image Lock logo.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Design your own.

You get to pick the fabric, design details and decoration techniques…all at a great price. Give us a general idea of what you’re looking for, and we’ll work with our design partners to mockup a cap that’s completely custom to your specs.

Image credit: Outdoor Cap Custom Creative

Let’s get started creating promotional caps for your business!

Now that you know the basics of choosing/designing promotional caps, let’s create a cap that’s right for YOUR business. Contact us today for more information!

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