The Most Popular Techniques for Decorating Branded Apparel

What draws your eye when you see someone strolling around in branded apparel? Is it the style of the apparel itself? A vibrant logo or slogan? A cool texture or embellishment? The best-branded apparel combines all these elements to create something cool, stylish, and boldly represents your brand.

Branded apparel remains one of the most powerful promotional tools. It conveys your brand to the world while also providing customers and employees alike with quality, stylish pieces they can wear in their daily lives. The more visually appealing and fashionable the pieces, the more likely people will wear them – and promote your brand.

A wide variety of techniques can be used to decorate apparel and make it stand out. Here’s everything you should know about which techniques can get your brand to have the biggest impact when it comes to apparel.

Promotional Apparel

Techniques for decorating promotional apparel vary widely. The type of apparel, the desired style, the details of the designs, and the price point are all factors that can impact which technique (or techniques) are used for your specific pieces. We can do whatever you want to bring your vision for your design to life!

Some of the most popular techniques include:

  • Screen Printing: A mesh screen transfers ink onto the fabric. This technique is ideal for large orders due to its cost-effectiveness.
  • Puff Printing: Uses a special ink that expands when heated, creating a “puffed” 3D effect for texture and emphasis.
  • Embroidery: Specialized machines are programmed to stitch designs onto the fabric with thread, giving a professional and high-quality finish suitable for logos and text. Embroidery can be combined with appliqué, in which pieces of fabric are sewn onto a garment to create the design.
  • Heat Transfer Printing: Heat and pressure transfer designs from a special paper to the fabric, allowing for detailed and colorful prints.
  • Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printing: A digital printing method where the ink is applied directly to the fabric, perfect for small orders and intricate designs.
  • Sublimation: Heat-using techniques transfer dye onto polyester or other synthetic fabrics for all-over designs.
  • Vinyl Cutting: A plotter cuts designs from colored vinyl sheets, which are then heat-pressed onto the fabric, either as single-color or multi-color designs.
  • Laser Etching: A laser burns a design onto fabric. The result is a subtler, more sophisticated look, especially on thicker materials like fleece or denim.
  • Foil Printing: A thin layer of metallic foil is applied to the fabric using heat, resulting in a shiny, reflective finish, ideal for spot highlights.
  • Discharge Printing: A chemical process removes the dye from the fabric, creating a design that is softer to the touch and has a more vintage look.
  • Rhinestones & Studs: Who says bedazzling isn’t still fun? Decorative stones or metal studs accent the fabric with a sparkling or edgy feel.
  • Tie-Dye: Retro styles are in, and so is this process, where fabric is tied and dyed in different patterns and colors, creating unique, one-of-a-kind designs.

These techniques can be used individually or combined to create unique, customized promotional apparel. When deciding which techniques are best for achieving the look you want, keep in mind your intended audience for the apparel, as well as your overall brand identity and goals.

Branded Hats

Hats, caps, and beanies are trending big right now! Branded hats can feel less intrusive than larger pieces like jackets or T-shirts, but they still get your brand and message across. Beyond the classic baseball hat, you can also lean into seasonal or trending apparel with different styles, like knit beanies or trucker hats.

Many of the same techniques used for other apparel are great for decorating hats, too. Popular options include embroidery, screen or stencil printing, heat transfer, digital transfers, and more. The exact steps taken to decorate a hat may differ slightly from thinner pieces of apparel, but the skills and equipment are similar.

One technique that has taken off in recent months is the patch/badge style. As the name says, this technique involves attaching embroidered, woven, or printed patches to the hat, either using stitching techniques or invisible adhesive. This style is ideal for creating multi-dimensional, textured hats that truly stand out from the crowd!

Are you unsure which technique would best suit your brand and your project? We’re here to help! Talk to the team at Priority to learn more about the options available to you and get expert insights to make your apparel the best it can be.

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