5 best hat design software to start your own designer line

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • The easiest way to start designing hats is to use specialized design software that enables you to use different templates.
  • It is very important that the hat designing software you choose focuses more on letting you create than tweaking the software.
  • To get the latest information regarding the best app options worth investing in, check out our Graphic & Design webpage.
  • Don't forget to bookmark our Software Hub for constant up to date information in this field.
hats - hats design software

Being able to design your own apparel is a great way to stand out from the crowd and represent your personality entirely, but because not all of us have any clothing design skills, getting some help from CAD (Computer Aided Design) software is a must.

In order to create a virtual model of your preferred apparel item (t-shirts, blouses, hats) you can choose between 2D elements (panels), or create the full 3D object directly.

If you are planning on transferring the virtual project into reality, then it would be recommended that you create your project using the 2D option. This allows for a faster transfer of your hat panels into printed guidelines, allowing you to start working faster.

In this article, we will explore some of the best software options that allow you to design your dream hat, no matter if you have experience with design or not.

Best design software to create custom hat designs

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator - Best hat design software

Adobe Illustrator is our top pick for the best hat design software available on the market because of its never-ending capability to create amazing designs.

This software enables you to create projects from scratch, edit older projects, or simply use one of the multiple design templates.

There is no software on the market that gives you such a great selection of templates and presets to choose from. No matter if you are going to use the creation templates as they are, or edit them and make your own, this process is simplified considerably.

Here are some of the most important features of Adobe Illustrator:

  • Snap to Pixel feature that ensures your projects come out perfectly designed
  • The color synchronization option helps you choose the best option for the design with just a few clicks
  • Warp-tool that allows you to customize your design easier than ever
  • A fully customizable interface that enables you to create the layout you need
  • Toolsets are designed simply, and only show the detailed features once a specific tool is activated
  • Can handle a wide range of file formats giving you unlimited freedom to create

Download Adobe Illustrator free

SolidWorks

SolidWorks - design hats software

Solidworks is a great software option that can help you create professional-looking renderings and models of your preferred hat designs.

The wide range of features included in this software allows you full freedom when it comes to the way you can modify and edit your virtual model.

You can use SolidWorks to design your virtual hats, can simulate the use of the model to help you spot any issues with the structure, and can even estimate material costs depending on the choices you make.

SolidWorks also gives you access to a wide range of elements for your design – pins, straps, etc. , extending its customization capabilities even further.

Here are some of the best features found in SolidWorks:

  • Can set custom geometry and scene setup
  • Can add markups to material panels and other parts of your design
  • Customizable material appearances, textures, decals, etc.
  • Can set up custom material properties, notes on nodes, and even design content tables
  • Can set custom relationships between your project’s elements
  • An extremely exact measuring tool that assures your final template is as exact as possible

Download SolidWorks 3D 

Optitex

Optitex - hats designer software

Optitex is another great software option that enables you to create your custom hat designs with ease. The features found in this software allow you to customize every aspect of your project, set custom stitches, etc.

Because of a user-friendly and easy to understand interface, Optitex is extremely useful for both moments in which you have a design in mind and need to transfer it before you lose the inspiration, and for long-term planned apparel creation as well.


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What makes Optitex stand out from the crowd is its ability to combine 2D and 3D elements into one project, without turning managing both types into a chore.

You also have access to a large library of elements, both 2D and 3D, to customize your designs no matter what vision of it you may have.

You can find a comprehensive list of tutorials that cover how to use Optitex, on the official website.

Try Optitex 

Rhino 6

Rhino 6 - design software for bags and backpacks/ for hats

Rhino is another great design tool for your hats project that offers an incredible range of features. As in the case of SolidWorks, Rhino is more of a CAD software than Optitex and requires a bit of a learning curve to be able to use it properly.

Once you move past the learning stage, Rhino offers you basically unlimited customization power and can create anything from car designs to clothing and hats.

The measurement done in Rhino are extremely exact, to the level that you could even build car parts with it. This feature comes in very handy if you’re trying to design a new model of a hat, and need to have exact panel templates in order for the final product to look as it was designed.

One of the best features found in Rhino is the fact that it uses double-precision meshes, making it easier than ever to get exact results. You can also animate your project if you want to, see the way it performs in real-life environments.

In order to start creating a hat in Rhino, you will first need to create the individual panels of your project, then use the ‘Unroll Surface’ command. This transforms all the panels of your project into 2D flat surfaces that can be printed to scale. Having a ‘printed to scale’ design makes it easy to cut out the materials and build your project.

Click here to see some useful tutorials about how to use Rhino 6.

Download Rhino 

Modo

Modo - hats design software

Modo is another very useful tool to have downloaded on your PC. This app is designed specifically to tackle 3D modeling, but it can also customize the textures you use in your project, and also gives you the ability to create beautiful renders.

Because of Modo’s simple user interface, anybody can understand how to use it easily, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks in other departments. Here are some of its best features:

  • Great photorealistic rendering with customizable shading and lighting settings
  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) type software
  • The wide range of available tools can be extended even more by creating your own
  • Shading system based on layers and nodal connections
  • A wide range of built-in materials that look real
  • Access to even more customization by downloading different plugins

You can find a good tutorials page on the official Modo website.

Download Modo 

Conclusion

In this article, we explored some of the best software options on the market that can help you create beautiful looking hat designs.

After your design is complete you can simply use the built-in features to print out the designs to scale, and start creating your hat.

We would love to know how your experience was when trying out this software. Please feel free to let us know by using the comment section found below this article.

FAQ: Learn more about digital hat design

  • How can I design my own hat?

The first step in starting to design your own hat is to download and use one of the software options mentioned in this article.

  • What is a hat designer called?

A hat designer is usually called a hatter, or a milliner, depending on the level of creativity involved in the design.

  • What is the difference between a hatter and a milliner?

A hatter is a person who manufactures, designs, and sells hats, while a milliner is assigned to make, sell or repair already designed hats.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.