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The Difference Between a Sticker, Label And Decal

So you’ve got your business up and running and now you need to start promoting it. One of the easiest and fastest ways to get noticed is through the use of stickers, labels or decal. We can already hear you asking, there’s a difference?

And the simple answer is yes. A more detailed answer though will help you to decide which is right for you.

Firstly, when you’re deciding which one you need, you need to consider three things:

  1. The size. Are you looking for something small to fit on the back of your car, or something that will cover an entire truck?
  2. Color. Do you want a single, simple color; a few basic or primary colors; or are you thinking shades and tints and everything a rainbow has to offer?
  3. Duration. How long you want it to stick. Do you want it to last a few hours, a few weeks, or years?

Once you have decided on these, it’s time to decide what style of graphic you want, which brings us to sticker versus label versus decal. So what’s the difference?


A sticker can be a type of label, but not all labels are stickers. Stickers are either printed, made from cut vinyl, or are just blank to allow you to write on them or draw on them yourself. If you want something that is going to last outdoors, choose a sticker that is made from vinyl or polyester material.

A sticker generally has two layers: the decorative layer which has adhesive on the back side and pattern on the front; and the paper on the back which you peel off.

The term sticker can refer to everything from postage stamps, to gold stars, to the label on your beer bottle!

A good, durable sticker should last 8 years or beyond.


A label is basically an informative sticker. So they often have instructions or descriptions written on them. They aren’t usually used for outdoors, but are more suited to things like address and shipping labels, name tags or packaging.


All decals are stickers (but not all stickers are decal). A decal is basically a decorative sticker, generally used outdoors. They are a design that can be transferred from one surface to another and will have three layers: paper on the back, the decal itself, and paper on the front.

Decals aren’t made as tough and will generally only last around three years if used outdoors (and if laminated). They are usually made by using an eco solvent printing process or with latex inks through the use of a Thermal color printer, or similar. They are usually either printed vinyl or clear polyester. Vinyl cut stickers are also a type of decal.

When you are deciding if you want a sticker, label or decal for your business marketing, consider the above information to help you make the right choice.