Patches 101: The 7 Kinds of Patches

Patches 101: The 7 Kinds of Patches

As the industry’s experts, we get asked a lot of the same questions about patches. And no wonder — for first-time patch buyers and even patch pros, the process can be intimidating. You’re swamped with dozens if not hundreds of options. Oftentimes, the cheapest route isn’t going to be the best for your product in terms of durability, application or overall appearance.

That’s why we’re writing a new “mini-series” on how to buy and design patches. And you’ll know that buying patches with The/Studio means your order is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee and free graphics design service to give your project less hassle and more hustle.

Our first lesson focuses on the first question you’ll be hit with when creating a custom patch:

Lesson 1: which patch is best for me?

There are actually  seven styles of patches, with the difference coming from either the material they’re made from or how they’re made — both of which affect your end result aesthetically and your bottom line.

Embroidered Patches


Embroidered patches make the most of high contrast designs.

Price: $
Turnaround time: fast
Best for: sports and work uniforms, giveaways, high-contrast designs, short deadlines
Embroidered patches are the perfect combination of affordability, durability and design potential with hundreds of thread colors to match your logo or drawing.  Their unique texturing lets some designs visually “pop” off the patch with real depth. They’re also easily made, meaning they’re deadline-friendly. Start yours here!

PVC Patches


PVC patches stand for Personalized, Vibrant and Colorful (not quite).

Price: $$
Turnaround time: medium
Best for: outdoors use, novelty designs, tactical gear, paintball/airsoft squads
PVC patches are rugged, rubberized emblems that hold up well to grit, water, mud, paintballs and whatever else gets thrown at them. The unique material lets you have unique “sculpting” for a three-dimensional effect as well as a great tactile feel. Craft yours here!

Chenille Patches


Chenille patches mean warm, wooly fuzz.

Price: $$
Turnaround time: medium
Best for: collegiate/highschool gear, glee clubs, retro fashion, simple designs
Chenille patches are old school, but they’re back in fashion, too. These fuzzy threads don’t show off detail well _— where they shine are bold, colorful pieces with simple lettering or design. Make your own right here.

Woven Patches


With woven patches, it’s all about the details.

Price: $
Turnaround time: fast
Best for: sports and work uniforms, giveaways, lettering-heavy , short deadlines
Woven patches have many of the benefits of embroidered, but due to the tighter weave they can “pack in” more details like small letters in the same amount of space. The tradeoff is that they don’t have the “texture” of embroidery, but that works just fine for small lettering. Get yours started here.

Leather  Patches


Warm, stylish — leather patches make a statement.

Price: $-$$$
Turnaround time: medium
Best for: fashion brands, outdoors brands, backback and bags labels, giveaways
One of our most versatile patches, leather can be made to look both outdoorsy or supremely classy. We offer both luxuriously thick hides as well as faux leather for customers looking for an affordable or vegan alternative – plus options like branded logos, rivets and more. Craft yours here.

Name Patches
Price: $
Turnaround time: fast
Best for: businesses with employees, volunteers, teams
Technically an embroidered patch, using our dedicated name patch technology allows you to create a “base” template and have up to thousands of different names on each without paying for a “different” patch design each time like some competitors. Outfit your crew here.

Printed Patches


Printed patches — detailed, affordable, fast.

Price: $
Turnaround time: fast
Best for: budget patches, giveaways, photo-realistic designs
Using the same technique used to print on t-shirts,  these are more or less wearable photographs — or any other design with lots of details or words. Perfect for cost-sensitive projects with deadlines — or when you just want a literal photo on a patch. Make yours today.

Bullion Patches


Bullion patches – 80% metal, 20% velvet, 100% class.

Price: $$$
Turnaround time: slow
Best for: VIPs, club membership,  brand programs, charity balls
Gold and silver metal filaments give these patches heft, substance and eye-catching appeal. An unquestionably high-dollar look, these take time to make by hand and aren’t tremendously affordable — but they’re definitely worth it. Get your “legacy patch” started today.


PRO TIP:  don’t shy away from buying a few more patches than you need. Because of how patches are made, the difference between 100 and 200 patches may only be a couple dollars, saving you potentially hundreds in the future if you plan in advance. Our customer representatives know all the price points and are glad to help you get the most bang for your buck.

Check out Lesson 2 — what are the 4 most important patch options? Or start a custom patch with us today and benefit from all our pro tips, plus free design and shipping for all orders.

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