Blog

Articles on designing your own custom merch, growing your brand, and managing manufacturing as a small business.

How to Design a Great Patch: 2 Ways

May 13, 2021

How to Design a Great Patch: 2 Ways

So you’re thinking of designing and selling custom patches? That’s great! Patches can be a very hot ticket item for your online store.

But while partnering with a great factory can help take most of the manufacturing concerns off your plate… you’ve still got to have a clear idea of the sort of patch you’ll be selling and the design that’ll help you sell it.

(Put simply, it’s really hard to sell a boring or ugly patch!)

If you’re a designer who already sells their art on stickers, prints, or other products, chances are you already have a few ideas bouncing around in your head of designs you’d love to bring to life in a bold, textured patch. You’ve just got to be aware of a few patch-specific design tips to help you create a winning patch.

And if you’re NOT a designer… well, good news! You don’t have to be an awesome artist to design a great patch. The/Studio offers free professional design services with every custom patch order, with as many revisions as you need.

As long as you’ve got some sort of vision for your patch in your head, you can use The/Studio’s DIY online product creation tool to create a beautiful, best-selling patch.

We’ll go over a few questions to consider before you start working on your patch’s design, the elements of good patch design, and how to design a great patch (whether you’ll be taking care of the design yourself or you need some assistance).

 

Design Questions to Consider

How to design a patch 1

Before you start designing your patch, you’ve got to iron out a few details about what your patch will be used for and your strategy for selling your patch. Answer these four questions before you even begin doodling: 

What are you going to use your patches for?

If you’re going to use your custom-designed patches to personalize merch to sell, have a clear idea of exactly what you’re going for. What color of clothing or accessories will you be dressing up with these patches? Are you going for a retro aesthetic or more futuristic vibes? Do you need a patch that works against thin fabric, or will you be adding your patches to a structured jean jacket? Understanding how your patch will fit into the rest of the look may influence the patch design.

What are your customers going to use your patches for?

If you’re going to sell your custom-designed patches alone, you’ve got to think even harder. You can’t get inside your customers’ heads, and some of them will inevitablyl do their own thing… but it’s crucial to have a clear picture of how your target customer MIGHT use your patches. Are they going to decorate a gray duffel bag? Add quirky elbow patches to a favorite sweater? Add 10 patches to a cool leather jacket? Iron them onto a lightweight tee? Though you want to let your creativity run free to an extent as you design your patch, this can (and SHOULD) influence your final design.

How big is your patch going to be?

Patches aren’t like stickers. Depending on the size and type of the patch you create, some details or words may not be very readable. Decide how big your patch will be from the very beginning and keep the design prototype that size.

How will your patch fit in with everything else you sell?

If you already have an online store, consider how your new custom patches will fit in with the other products you sell. What sort of patches would your existing customers be interested in? Will these custom patches fit into the brand you’ve been working to create for your shop, or will they look like they belong in a totally different store? 

 

The 4 Elements of Good Patch Design

PVC Patches Header

Now that you’ve started thinking about how your patch design will fit in with your overall business and sales strategy, it’s time to learn a few patch-specific design tips that will help you create an attractive patch. Here are the four key elements of good patch design:

Color scheme

Patches are MEANT to stand out! If it works for your brand, go for bold, contrasting colors. Black and white is always a crowd-pleaser and one of the most popular patch color combinations. But why not try red and blue, black and yellow, white and electric blue?

Simple Composition

Remember, patches are SMALL. That makes any details even smaller. While ultra-detailed, busy designs may work just fine on large prints or graphic tees, they’re usually a no for patches. Less is more – don’t make things too cluttered.

Clear text

If your design includes words, make sure they’re big enough and clear enough to actually be legible. Include as few words as possible to communicate your message.

Right Patch Type

The/Studio offers 7 different types of patches – and while all of them are high-quality, some are good for different types of design. For example, if your design relies on really fine lines and small text, an embroidered patch might not be able to achieve the crisp effect you’re after. But if you’re creating a high-contrast design with texture, an embroidered patch could make your gorgeous design pop even more. 

 

How to Design a Great Patch: For Designers

design a custom patch

Learn how to design a great patch using your own expertise and The/Studio’s online product creation tool.

Get inspired

Start brainstorming ideas for your patch! Consider whether it’ll be part of a collection of multiple patches or be sold on its own. Think of how you or your customers might use it. Gather inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram, or even from your competitor’s patches to get a few ideas flowing. (Or click here for the top 50 evergreen patch designs!) You want to create an original, one-of-a-kind custom patch, but that doesn’t mean you can’t gather inspiration from all over the place.

 

Start creating

Begin your creative process, whatever that looks like for you. Doodle with a pen and paper, jot some ideas down on Procreate, build out your design in Illustrator, whatever’s most comfortable for you.

As you design, keep the size and shape of your patch in mind, along with the top four design tips mentioned in the previous section. 

Don’t worry about making your design 100% finalized – even if you just have a black-and-white sketch, our artists can take your ideas and polish them.

 

Create your patch

Use our DIY online product creation tool to build out your patch. You’ll be able to customize the type and size of your patch as well as upload your patch design artwork. You’ll also see additional customization options you may not have thought of, including materials, backing, and borders. All of these will influence how your patch ultimately looks! 

 

Approve a sample

Our team of expert designers and manufacturers will take everything you gave us and turn it into an actual patch. Then, we’ll send a photo sample or a physical prototype for your approval. 

Happy with it? Great, we’ll move forward and create the rest exactly like that!

Not so sure about it? Head back to the drawing board and tweak your design if need be, or send detailed notes to the production team for what you’d like changed. Any revisions are totally free of charge.

Receive & style your patches

After approving the final design, you’ll enjoy free domestic U.S. shipping on the rest of your patch order. Then, all that’s left is to make your patches look their best! 

 

If you’re using them to customize clothing or other accessories, do so. If you’re selling them on their own, take photos showing your customers how they might use and style them. With your design skills and The/Studio’s unparalleled product quality, they’ll practically sell themselves! (Looking for patch marketing tips? Click here!)

 

How to Design a Great Patch: For Everyone Else

How to design a patch 2

Learn how to design a great patch with the help of The/Studio’s online product creation tool and expert designers.

Get inspired

Even though you won’t be doing the leg work when it comes to designing your patch, it’s still important to gather inspiration from all over the place and get a feel for what you hope the end product will look like. And even if you’re not as confident in your design skills… you still have taste, and you still have a good idea of what you and your customers are after. 

Brainstorm ideas for your patch, consider whether you’ll sell these patches on their own or as part of a collection, and think about how you or your customers might use them. Then, gather inspiration from other patch shops, Pinterest, Instagram, and beyond. 

Get your ideas down on paper

Next up, write or draw your ideas down. You may not be able to translate whatever’s in your head perfectly – and that’s okay. But do your best so the designer you ultimately hand this project off to will have a good idea of what you’re looking for. Doodle your designs with a pen and paper, write out a detailed description of what you’d like to see in your patch, or even put together a document with links to patches you love and notes on what you love about them.

Your sketches don’t have to be perfectly finished (or look any good at all!) – our artists will take whatever ideas you give them and polish them. 

Create your patch

Use our DIY online product creation tool to build out your patch. You’ll be able to customize the type and size of your patch as well as additional customization options you may not have thought of, including materials, backing, and borders. All of these will influence how your patch ultimately looks! 

Then, you’ll submit whatever you have for your patch design – doodles, detailed notes, examples of what you like, etc – and send your request off. Our team of expert designers will take it and turn it into a beautiful patch!

New to this? That’s okay – reach out to our excellent customer service team via live chat. They’d be happy to assist you!

Approve a sample

After a short turnaround time, our design team will send a photo sample or a physical prototype of your patch for your approval. 

Happy with it? Great, we’ll move forward and create the rest exactly like that!

Not so sure about it? Any revisions to your patch or design are available totally free of charge. Just send detailed notes to the production team about what you’d like changed.

Receive & style your patches

After approving the final design (even if it takes some back-and-forth!) you’ll enjoy free domestic U.S. shipping on the rest of your patch order. Then, you’ll just have to make your gorgeous patches look their best!

If you’re using your patches to customize clothing or other accessories, do so. If you’re selling them on their own, take photos showing your customers how they might use and style them. Just make sure your patches stand out and work with your brand’s overall aesthetic!

 

Start Designing Your Patch

design a patch

What are you waiting for? With The/Studio’s DIY product creation tool, you can design a gorgeous, high-quality custom patch within minutes, no matter how much design experience you do or don’t have. All of our custom patches come with free shipping in the U.S., low minimum quantity orders, rapid turnaround times, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Start the creative process here.

Interested in learning more about what it takes to create a winning patch? Check out our latest blog post here.

Chat with us