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The Eye on Design Guide to Ironic/Iconic Baseball Caps for Graphic Designers

Since it was first worn in 1860 by Brooklyn baseball team the Excelsiors, the classic baseball cap has become an indispensable beacon that calls out to like-minded individuals, whether it’s embroidered with a sports team, college, or company logo—or even a political tagline. A trusty cap is a practical shade in the summer, but it can also signal a hobby or alignment. It’s no news that in the recent years, the most successful example of political branding came down to a simple red cap emphatically marked with a Times New Roman slogan. A hat can say a lot, despite the tiny surface available for adornment.

While political, sports-related, and heavily branded baseball caps abound, what about the baseball cap for the dedicated followers of team graphic design? We asked five designers and illustrators to recommend their most beloved cap to us, to help beat off the glare of the fall sun.

Left: The Spreadsheets Cap for those designers tethered to the Excel spreadsheet, available from The Pretend Store.

The “Garphic” Hat

Ping Zhu selects Garphic Design

“This cap is by two dads who are more formally known as the Young Jerks (Dan Cassaro and Dan Christofferson). It was given to me as payment for modelling the hat around Greenpoint, as you can see in the photos. I wear it when it’s sunny or to any event where there are a lot of people who are into graphics. I want to let them know that I appreciate their craft and maybe make some new friends.

“I really like that it’s straight to the point and it serves an entire industry of people who just want to identify with graphic design inside and out. It’s also great because you can wear it at any age, as long as your head stays the same size. If it does change, there’s a strap in the back where you can adjust it to your new head size.”

Sport the Garphics cap yourself by heading to the Garphics website. For fellow New Yorkers (or anyone who is a huge a fan of the MTA), Zhu also recommends the hats sold at the Transit Museum. “They have all the different subway lines on it,” she explains. “It’s really cool how you can wear a hat with your favorite line, or whichever one you have the most allegiance towards. I’m closest to the C train, but unfortunately the shop doesn’t have a C train hat. If someone asked, well which one would you get then since there is no C train hat?’ My answer is that I would get the A train hat.”

The Meta Cap

Charlotte Rhode selects Holly St Claire

“This memorable cap was designed by Holly St Clair, a London-based graphic designer and illustrator that I follow, and who can been seen wearing the hat in this picture. She creates all sorts of merchandise, from caps to cards and skateboards. The particular cap was featured by my friend’s project thek, which is a curatorial project that creates pop-up stores for art and design and sells various zines, prints, and apparel. It’s here that I discovered it.

“I love the cute and innocent irony of the drawing, which is super-meta yet very child-like. That’s why I’d wear it to any business meeting, combined with a pantsuit and a briefcase.”

Nab the cap yourself from Holly St Clair’s online store. As well as this whimsically illustrated cap, Rhode highlights a very utilitarian alternative by her friend Deniz Weber from Düsseldorf: this freelance design for Carharrt.

The Logo Cap

Pete Sharp selects Tom Chudley

“My hat is designed by one of my oldest friends Tom Chudley who runs Blacksmith Store. There, he stocks a lot of great workwear bits as well as his their own range of designs, which I have collaborated on a few times.

“It says NHS on it in the old VHS tape logo. Tom spent quite a bit of time in hospital last year and at the start of this year and the NHS saved his life. The NHS is really important in the UK and not enough is being done to make sure it’s kept afloat. Without an increase in funding then the NHS could go the way of the VHS and millions of people without the means to secure private healthcare would die. The current government don’t seem to be too fussed about doing much to save it.

“I usually wear this particular cap while out socializing with other creatives or while coming up with ideas at the studio or just chilling around the house (reading a book or eating some food). It’s also good in the hot weather for keeping the sun out of ones eyes or in the colder weather for keeping the rain out of one’s eyes.”

While Sharp usually wears a blank cap, he also recommends Braindead for well-designed caps every seasons. “Sci-Fi Fantasy also do a very strong cap which is unfortunately a bit too small for my enormous head,” he adds.

The Discwoman Cap

Sindre Annweiler selects Discwoman

“This cap’s made by Emma and Christine of Discwoman, a collective and booking agency representing some of the most exciting acts happening in electronic music at the moment. The cap is in a denim fabric and simply features their logo, which is quite nice and low-key. I sadly lost the cap in a cab about a month ago.

“I got it originally soon after I moved to NYC and started doing flyers for the Technofeminism club nights at Bossa Nova (ironically, this is also where I lost it), a local Bushwick venue that’s showcasing their roster quite frequently and acting as a bit of a home turf for their NY-based talent.

“What I like about it is that regardless of whether you’re familiar with the agency or not, everyone gets the Discman reference/commentary and loves it. It’s not simply a cool and obscure ‘If-you-know-then-you-know’ hype garment but rather an effective piece of design (that’s also linked to some pretty cool artists).”

A second shoutout from Annweiler goes to Boot Boyz Biz and its recent sell-out Eros cap: “I envy those who managed to get one.” says Annweiler.

The Boobers Cap

Pitch Studio’s Christie Morgan selects Kriz Tonian

“My girl Kriz Tonian gifted this cap to me! Kriz is an animator and artist from L.A. and has worked with clients such as Adult Swim, MTV, Snapchat, Bjork, and Samsung. I wear this when it’s sunny outside and I’m feelin’ arty.

“I love the design firstly because I love white hats. There’s something fresh about it. But I also love both prints. The cap’s embroidered on both front and back sides and features one of Kriz’s signature abstract characters. It has metal adjustable buckle straps too.”

Purchase the cap yourself from Oozankuu! mart. For more colorful, pattern-heavy designs, Morgan recommends P.A.M. She also loves this Nature Child cap available via Mister Green

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