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The Difference Between Vinyl Stickers and Vinyl Decals

November 30, 2021 5 min read

Vinyl stickers and decals are decorative prints that you can apply to various surfaces for creative or advertising purposes. Stickers and decals are frequently used as advertising materials for vehicles, walls, laptops, books, or virtually any other surfaces that are responsive to adhesive. While stickers and decals are similar and are often thought of interchangeably, they are not the same.

A common misconception is that decals are professional-style stickers for businesses. Although decals are often used outdoors for advertising or displaying business information, they have multiple applications. Essentially, all decals are stickers because they have adhesive on the back. However, not all stickers are decals.

What are Vinyl Stickers?
If you’re thinking of using stickers or decals for business, advertising, or decorative purposes, it’s important to understand the difference between them. Before making your selection, you must also consider the size, quantity, purpose, surface, and location of the decal or sticker.

Vinyl stickers are made by printing the sticker design directly onto absorbent vinyl. This process is different from decal manufacturing because it uses printers and ink to create shapes and designs rather than cutting them from single sheets of colored vinyl.

At Vinyl Mayhem, we specialize in creating high-quality vinyl stickers for a range of purposes. The process for creating stickers is more intricate than making decals. We recommend that customers choose stickers over decals for detailed designs or images containing many colors.

We print all our vinyl stickers using a wide-format printer. These printers can produce high-quality images, ensuring amazing printing results for even the most complex designs. To make sure your prints last, we load our printers with quality inks. All our stickers are printed onto digital vinyl, manufactured to absorb ink for longer-lasting results.

Choose from various adhesives for your custom vinyl stickers to ensure they are suitable for the intended surface. For example, our vehicle stickers contain industrial-strength adhesive, preventing them from loosening or falling off easily. Despite being long-lasting, our vinyl stickers leave minimal staining or damage on the surface after removal.

The Cutting Process
Where possible, we print our vinyl stickers directly onto digital vinyl. We use vinyl cutters for a more precise finish. It’s ideal for specific shapes and designs, slicing through vinyl, and backing paper layers. We cater for all sticker designs, whether you need a small and simple bumper sticker or a large, detailed wall art sticker for your living room.

If you have a professionally designed image or photo, we can print stickers using vector files, raw image formats, or a high-resolution photograph. If you don’t have access to high-quality files or photos, our design team can work with whatever files you have to produce the best results. If you require a complete design or redesign, our designers can help you develop an idea, which we can produce from scratch.

Types of Vinyl Stickers
Besides providing vinyl products from leading automotive companies such as 8 Point, Oracal, Skunk2 Racing, and APR Performance, we offer custom sticker orders.

Our vinyl transfer stickers are available in various sizes, shapes, and styles, making them suitable for different surfaces. Vinyl transfer stickers are simple but effective stickers, often used for car windshields, bumpers, and laptops.

They are cut from a single piece of vinyl using a vinyl cutter to fit a particular shape, graphic design, or text. The adhesive is applied using transfer tape for easy application.

Whether you’re after an amusing tailgate sticker for the rear of your truck, a patriotic flag print for summer vacations in your RV, or a cool silhouette vinyl sticker for your game room wall, we have plenty of options.

What are Vinyl Decals?
A vinyl decal is essentially a type of sticker. The primary difference between decal stickers and regular vinyl stickers is that decals are usually cut from a single vinyl roll. For this reason, most custom vinyl decals are a single color.

One of our most important pieces of equipment and the main tool used for creating decals is a vinyl cutter. This is a computer-controlled device that uses a sharp blade to cut the vinyl into precise shapes.

Vinyl cutters can sync with computer software to access vector files of a particular design, symbol, logo, or image. The blade follows the design of the vector file, ensuring highly accurate prints.

The main drawback of this process is that vinyl cutters can only work on a single roll. If you want to create a colorful vinyl decal, each colored section will be designed and cut separately. Individual pieces must then be merged to create a final product. This is why we recommended printing stickers directly to the vinyl for colorful and complicated designs.

When the vinyl decal is cut, the final preparation is called weeding. This is the process of removing excess vinyl from the decal. It must be done by hand, so it can take a long time for large prints.

Types of Vinyl Decals
Like vinyl stickers, decals have a wide range of applications, from product labeling in a warehouse to large-scale advertising prints for retail store walls. Some of the most popular decals from Vinyl Mayhem are vehicle graphics.

We provide a host of decal stickers for cars, trucks, and motorcycles, including windshield signs, front panel stickers, vinyl windshield visor sun strips for trucks and SUVs, and custom font stickers.

Gear heads will love our angular stripe graphic kits that add style to the driver and passenger sides of your vehicle. We offer standard designs and encourage customers to create a custom style and experiment with different color combinations.

Decals and stickers are also popular print options for marketing. Many of our customers print small brand logos or designs to accompany products after a sale. This adds value to a product offering and helps increase brand awareness. Get in touch with Vinyl Mayhem to discuss custom decal stickers for your business.

How to Choose Between Vinyl Stickers and Vinyl Decals
Stickers and decals are often interchangeable. However, there are some factors worth considering before purchasing one or the other. If you’re choosing between vinyl stickers and decals, consider the following:

  • Intended use
Although stickers and decals can be used for different purposes, stickers are more suitable for multicolored and detail-oriented prints, like illustrations or logos.

Decals are more commonly used for decorating or advertising on walls, windows, and vehicles. Determine your intended use before making your print selection.

  • Size and quantity
Decals are often larger and ordered in smaller quantities. You can purchase stickers as one-offs, but buying in bulk offers better value.

  • Longevity
Decals are popular choices for outdoor advertising. They are cut from a single roll of vinyl, and you can apply them using industrial-grade adhesive. They’ll last many years in tough conditions.

Removability is key for laptop or notebook stickers, so they are manufactured with a lighter adhesive.
Visit Vinyl Mayhem for Your Sticker and Decal Needs
At Vinyl Mayhem, we have been producing vehicle graphics, transfer stickers, and advertising materials for 25 years. Whether you need custom stickers and graphics for your car or you require expert private labeling for a new business venture, we have the tools and equipment for your project.

Over the years, we have developed a reputation for excellence in our industry, earning us appearances in leading automotive magazines such as Import Tuner and D Sport and collaborations with X Games, Racewars, and Gumball 3000.

For all your sticker and decal needs, contact Vinyl Mayhem today. Browse our website to view our full range of products or request a quote on a custom order.