THE INTRICACIES OF English vernacular are, at once, lauded and lamented. American colloquialisms have been known to trip up (often humorously) those who can’t quite navigate their ins and outs. Others, however, delight in the many turns of phrase at their disposal. Take, for instance, the cache of expressions coined to describe what one can do with a hat: keep things under it, throw it in the ring, wear more than one, and so on. And each token saying refers to a different, and markedly non-hat-related, activity.
When literally dealing with the item at hand, a similar number of possibilities abound. With countless fabrics, styles and designs available to the average consumer, not to mention an increasingly casual dress code pretty much everywhere, hats have become as much an expression of individuality as the clothing they accompany. And that’s just in retail. Throw in the new imprinting options for the advertising specialties arena, and the selection grows exponentially. Let’s take a look at what’s behind today’s choices in caps and headwear.
DOOR NO. 1: CUSTOMIZED LOOKS
“The great thing about caps is that when you create a custom piece for an end-user, it can be tailored to be very conservative and subtle, or loud and over the top,” reported Tony M. Karlicek, CEO of Frederick, Maryland-based Headwear USA. For a product that is “an American tradition,” as Karlicek describes it, customization can go a long way to help differentiate a brand from just another old baseball hat. At Otto International, Ontario, Calif., customers can personalize their custom orders to the last detail with options such as visor type, color, closure and decoration applications, said marketing manager Yvette Acevedo.
DOOR NO. 2: IMPRINTING SOLUTIONS
Embroidery and screen printing/heat transfer are the industry’s standards when it comes to adding a logo, Acevedo noted. “Embroidery is effective if you are looking for a long-lasting product. [The] color won’t fade and it is washable,” she added. Because of its benefits, this option is higher-priced than the alternative, screen printing, which is quick-to-
produce and inexpensive—more conducive for an easy promotional giveaway. Yet, the method does have its drawbacks. “The downside to screen printing/heat transfers is that the application may not last as long, there may be fading or peeling,” said Acevedo. Plus, it is limited to certain types of fabrics.