What the 2022 NFL Draft Hats Tell Us About Current Headwear Decoration Trends
For a handful of lucky athletes, the NFL Draft is the culmination of a lifetime of hard work and commitment. When their name is called, they take the stage and are handed the ultimate symbol of their new status as a professional football player: a hat.
The draft hat is now synonymous with the draft process, and lucky for those of us whose 40 times aren't quite as good as the draft pool, anyone can buy one.
Each year, New Era unveils a new hat design to capture not only the excitement of the night, but also the current trends in apparel design and decoration.
For example, in the early 2000's, New Era heralded the original arrival of the trucker-hat style.
NFL Draft hats peaked in 2003 pic.twitter.com/pjR92Vfapm
— matt (@MattFG53) April 29, 2022
The 2022 NFL Draft hats are two-tone: black with a brim color reflective of the team's colors. The front panel features a large embroidered graphic of the city in script font overlaid atop the team name in italic block letters.
It's a bold design choice, and some of the city-name combinations are a little clumsy together (looking at you, Washington Commanders). But when it works, it really works (for example, the Miami Dolphins).
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 29, 2022
Sort of like how Pantone's Color of the Year gives us clues about what graphic design and fashion might look like in the following year, the NFL Draft hat gives us a little bit of insight into what people want on their decorated apparel and headwear.
The first clue is that subtlety is not the most important thing in the world. The layered look creates sort of a busy atmosphere for the main panel, but the contrasting colors give your eyes a chance to make heads or tails. (Although, the Browns brown-on-black-on-orange is a little tough to handle.)
The hats also show that multiple decoration areas are definitely "in." In addition to the front-panel graphic, the hats feature an NFL logo in the team's colors on the side panel, as well as a team logo on the back of the hat. So, while your clients might think they just want a logo on the front, it might be that that's the only option they know about.
The Rams' 2022 NFL draft hat is out
Yay or nay? pic.twitter.com/STZmQLQqXn
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) March 28, 2022
The front graphics are also decidedly retro, with the front-panel decoration in particular evoking '90s sports fashion. Nostalgia has been a big influence on style trends since, well, forever, but the '90s are especially hot right now.
Finally, the hats showcase what you can do with a brand's color palette. After all, a professional sports team is a brand, too. Using a brand's colors in different ways and allowing them to interact on a hat as they do on signage can turn a small object into a big branding creation.