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 who you intend to have wear it. 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 keywords 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 work well for high-contrast designs where you want a traditional and textured feel. 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.


PVC patches are the ideal option for designs that may be exposed to some wear and tear, as they are durable and waterproof. They also offer a 3D feel and tend to look more modern.


The classic patch choice for letterman and varsity jackets, chenille patches have a vintage feel while remaining affordable. The texture is a bit fuzzier than embroidery, too.


If you do go for a slightly more detailed design but still want that threaded look, woven is the way to go. However, these patches don’t offer the same durability as embroidery or PVC.


Custom leather patches are an excellent choice if you’re aiming for a professional, sophisticated feel. They are long-lasting and look fantastic on handbags and backpacks.


Printed patches work much like t-shirt design printing, meaning you can add much more detail and achieve photo-quality images. Even so, keep in mind that most patches are still quite small—be careful of overly intricate designs.

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:


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).


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.


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 ULTRAPatches

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 ULTRApatches, we go above and beyond to offer nothing less than the best custom patches online. We’re one of the few custom patch makers that offer an actual sample before mass production. That way, there’s no question that you’ll love your custom-made patches. Request a quote today to get started.