Stickers and decals are self-adhesive tags. They can be made using different materials, depending on their intended use. They are widely used in the business world by online retailers.

stickers vs decals

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A sticker is a printed or illustrated material with adhesive backing. Stickers are commonly printed on paper or vinyl. Sticker text and images are printed directly onto the substrate. You can peel off the adhesive backing and stick the material on a flat surface. Vinyl is the preferred material for stickers intended for outdoor use. Stickers printed on paper will not hold up, especially when exposed to the elements. Vinyl stickers last longer, without degradation of the print quality. Vinyl stickers can be easily removed. Simply lift one corner and peel. The sticker will come up without damaging the surface below.

A decal is similar to a sticker in many ways, so the two terms are often confused. A decal, however, involves a transfer from one medium to another. A decal is printed on one substance, usually a masking sheet, and transferred to a smooth surface. In making decals, letters and graphics are cut from a roll of vinyl with the help of a vinyl cutter or plotter to transfer the images to another medium. The vinyl cutter is connected to a computer in order to read the vector design files. A single blade cuts deep enough to penetrate the printable vinyl but not deep enough to slice through the backing paper. After cutting the vinyl, the text or graphics will be lifted from the backing paper and transferred to a smooth surface, such as wall wrap vinyl.

Stickers and decals have multiple uses within the retail industry. Stickers are often printed with bar codes for scanning purposes or used to track inventory. Decals are also widely employed in product advertising.