Difference Between Decals and Stickers

Taye Harding

 

If you’re wondering what’s the difference between decals and stickers, you’re probably looking to shop for one. The trick is working out which one is the best choice for you. Decals and stickers are very similar. Oftentimes, they're used interchangeably. Decals, stickers, and labels are comprised of two layers: a paper backing and an adhesive layer. The adhesive layer is put on the paper backing (usually some type of wax paper or something similar) and then the design is printed on the front of the adhesive layer. The adhesive layer can be made of different materials including vinyl, paper, and aluminum.

When you’re buying decals, stickers, or something else like labels, there are many things to consider like the intended use, size/quantity, application surface, and lifespan you want. Take a look at the table at the end of this blog post for a comprehensive guide to work out which sticker/decal is the best choice for you.

Intended Use

Decals, labels, and stickers have a lot of similar qualities, but the true differences between them are their intended uses. Usually, stickers are used for logos and illustrations. Labels are used for informational purposes like product packaging. And decals are used for adornment or advertising purposes on floors, windows, vehicles, etc.

Size/Quantity

Stickers and labels are usually smaller in nature and applied to smaller products like computers, reusable water bottles, and other product packaging. Decals, in comparison, are usually larger and applied to places like walls, windows, floors, or vehicles.

Decals are usually ordered in smaller quantities. A business might order one wall decal and/or one window decal. Stickers are ordered in quantities from one to several. Businesses might want to shop for stickers with their company’s logo to give to employees or customers. Due to their intended use, labels are sold in rolls and are available in large quantities.

Application Surface/Location

As mentioned above, decals are great for walls, windows, and floors. There are variety of different kinds of decals. A decal that goes on the ground is different than a decal that goes on a wall and both of these are different than a decal that would be put on a window. If you’re trying to find a decal/sticker which will be used outdoors and is more permanent, you will need to look into permanent decals.

Stickers are typically used in small format advertising. they're typically applied to smooth surfaces and easily removed. If you’re searching for something that’s easy to apply, stickers are perfect. People prefer to decorate their laptops, notebooks, and water bottles with stickers.

Labels are primarily used on product packaging like jars, cans, bags, and bottles they are available in rolls making them quick and straightforward to put on numerous items.

 

Lifespan

Another important factor to contemplate is the lifespan of the label/sticker/decal. Decals last the longest, followed by stickers, then labels. If you're searching for something which will last over a year, you may want to go with some form of decal. If you’re trying to find something that's small and quick and simple to put on, you’ll want to use a sticker or label.

Decals, Stickers, and Labels

Product

Intended Use

Size

Typical Quantity

Surface

Indoor/Outdoor

Lifespan

Wall Decals

Businesses, home decor

Small to Large

Few

Walls

Indoor

5+ Years

Repositionable Decals

Businesses, home decor

Small to Large

Few

Walls

Indoor

5+ Years

Window Decals

Business

Small to Large

Few

Windows

Indoor and Outdoor

3+ Years

Vehicle Decals

Vehicles

Small to Large

Few

Glass, Metal, and Other Vehicle Materials

Outdoor

3+ Years

Floor Decals

Events, Businesses, Grocery Stores

Small to Large

Few

Floor- Hardwood, tile, laminate, concrete

Indoor

Varies Depending on Use

Carpet Stickers

Events, Businesses

Small to Large

Few

Carpet/Rug

Indoor

Varies Depending on Use

Street and Sidewalk Decals

Storefronts, sidewalks, streets, events, etc

Small to Large

Few

Asphalt, Brick, Vinyl, Tile, Metal, Concrete, Stucco, Cinderblock

Indoor and Outdoor

1 Year

Permanent Decals

Industrial, Permanent

Small to Large

Few

Any Non-Porous Material

Indoor and Outdoor

5+ Years

Boat Decals

Boat, Submerged in Water

Small to Large

Few

Smooth Wood, Fiberglass

Indoor and Outdoor

5+ Years

Roll Labels

Products, Packaging

Small

Many

Glass, Metal, Cardboard, Plastic

Indoor

Varies Depending on Use

Bumper Stickers

Vehicle Bumpers

Small

Many

Vehicles

Outdoor

Varies Depending on Use

Stickers

Laptops, Water Bottles, Notebooks, etc

Small

Many

Smooth and Flat Surfaces

Indoor and Outdoor

Varies Depending on Use



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