How to Design the Perfect Patch

How to Design the Perfect Patch

If you’re looking to create custom patches to boost team morale, raise awareness for a cause, promote a business, create stock for an online store, or otherwise, the first step is to design the perfect custom patch! If you’re wondering where and how to start, you’re on the right page. Today, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the custom patch design process.

Brainstorming Your Custom Patches

During this first stage, you want to establish your goal for the patches and form some rough design ideas. The best place to start with that process is not with the patch itself but with whom you intend to wear it. Is it just for you or is for a group. Are you making military morale patches or is it a promotional giveaway, or is it something for a charity event or a fundraiser or you want to .

As a brainstorming activity, just write down everything you know about the purpose of your patch and the people that will use it. You don’t have to use all this information in your patch.

For instance, say you’re designing patches for your work softball team. In that case, you could start with what you know about the team. Do you have a mascot? Colors? If your designing patches for your business, what inspiration could you draw from your company? If you’re designing patches for your customer base, what are your best sellers? Who is your target market?

Once you have that info on paper, read over it and write down the first patch ideas that come to mind. Don’t overthink it, and keep a few guidelines in mind:

Aim for something simple. You want a design that fits well in a small space, so ultra-detailed designs generally don’t work well.

Account for text size. If your patch needs to have text, such as team member names, a business name, brand, etc. You’ll need a decent-sized, legible font. Make sure the rest of your design allows for that.

Try to work in contrasting print or thread colors. Colors opposite on the color wheel will pop and make your patch both eye-catching and easier to see.

If you need to, head over the Google image search, Pinterest, or even Instagram for inspiration. Try searching for some of the terms from your brainstorming list.

Choose Your Patch Style

By this point, you should hopefully have a much better idea of the design you want and maybe even some rough sketches. Now you need to pick a favorite and refine it. In that regard, it helps to know a bit about your options.

For patch styles, you have six main types to choose from:

Custom Embroidered Patches

Embroidery patches work well for designs where you want a traditional and textured feel, embroidered patches have multiple customization features and are very popular in the casual fashion industry. While in the past, embroidered patches were made by hand, these days, they are done by machine, which not only makes the production process much faster but also ensures the quality and design of the embroidery is uniform across all the patches that you order. Embroidery coverage is also one of the most important factors that will make a difference to the outcome and pricing of your patches.

Custom PVC / Rubber Patches

PVC patches are the ideal option for designs that may be exposed to some wear and tear, as they are durable and waterproof. They are available in 2D and 3D effect and tend to look more modern. When designing your pvc patches you need to be aware of certain design limitations that come with it. As embroidered patches are the most popular patch type, pvc is fast gaining popularity. Here is a comparison between both patch types. When you order your pvc patches with us we always create a mockup which is a realistic drawing of your pvc patches which shows the sizing, layers, colors, recessed lines, sew-line and everything else. With the pvc patch mockup we make sure that after any required changes, your pvc patches are made exactly according to the mockup that was approved by you.

Custom Chenille Patches

The classic patch choice for custom Letterman patches and varsity letters, chenille patches have a vintage and fuzzy look and feel while remaining affordable. The texture is a bit fuzzier than embroidery, too. Chenille patches are more popularly used to make custom varsity patches for Letterman jackets, large and small chenille letters, numbers and award patches.

Custom Woven Patches

If you do go for a slightly more detailed design but still want that threaded and fabric look, woven is the way to go. However, these patches don’t offer the same durability as embroidered or PVC patches, but offer much more detailed designing, woven patches are great for custom labels and patches, after all a woven patch without any backing is essentially a woven label. Woven patches can be customized with a lot of design features like borders and threads. For customers who have a very detailed design which is not compatible with the embroidered style we usually recommend them to opt for woven patches, you should also remember that woven patches can only be made with a maximum of nine colors. Here is a comparison between woven and embroidered patches.

Custom Leather Patches

Custom leather patches are an excellent choice if you’re aiming for a classical vintage, premium feel. custom leather patches are very popular to use on hats. . We make custom leather patches in 100% real leather, suede leather, nubuck leather and synthetic leather also known as faux leather. Our 100% real leather patches are long lasting and look fantastic on hats, handbags and backpacks. Leather patches can be customized with embossing, debossing and printing.

Custom Printed Patches

Printed patches work much like t-shirt design printing, meaning you can add much more detail and achieve photo-quality images. No matter what the size, with printed patches you can be sure to get the exact same design no matter how colorful it is. If your design is something with a lot of small details, gradients and shadings and it is of utmost importance for you to retain those details then printed patches are for you. Printed patches can be customized with borders and different attachment methods.

Choose An Attachment Method

In addition to patch material, you’ll need to decide on how your patches will attach to whatever they’ll be placed on. There are six primary attachment options to choose from:


Sew-on patches are physically stitched on with a needle and thread. They aren’t the best option for materials that are harder to stitch, like thick leather.


Iron-on patches are attached using heat-activated glue. They work well for most materials (except those that aren’t heat safe, of course). Iron on backing method is an easy and convenient method to attach your patches.


Hook-and-loop velcro patches are removable. The loop side will need to be sewn on the attachment location, while the back of the patch has the hook side which attaches to the loop side. Velcro is very popular for military and law enforcement uniforms. Here is an interesting piece of information regarding Velcro.


Another removable option, magnetic patches can be attached to fridges, cars, and more.

Tape, Peel & Stick

Tape, Peel, & Stick patches are better if you want a temporary option as they don’t stay on as long or require a permanent Velcro patch.

Button Loops

With custom button-loop patches, a small hoop is sewn in the top of the patch so it can be looped around a button and moved as needed.

Determine Your Patch Size

Most custom patches are available from between 1 inch and 7 inches. However, keep in mind that size will impact pricing and patch usability. We recommend measuring out the size you have in mind on paper so that you can better visualize how large your patch will be. You can even cut out a piece of paper of that size and shape and test it on whatever you plan to put the patches on.

If you want a small patch, it may also affect your patch style options., but all that depends on your design.

Get Your Custom Patches from ProPatches

Still have questions about patch design or need a hand coming up with the perfect custom patch? We’re happy to help. Our friendly team can offer pointers or design a patch from scratch for your review.

At ProPatches, we go above and beyond to offer nothing less than the best custom patches online. Request a quote today to get started.

One Reply to “How to Design the Perfect Patch”

  1. Hi Great article thanks. I love collecting patches and happy i found your site. Will definitely be ordering soon. Now going to read the other articles! Again, a very big thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.