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Stickers and Decals

Written By: Leslie Taylor | Article Date: January 07, 2021

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Stickers vs. Decals: Which Product is Best for Your Need?

Wondering what’s the difference between a sticker and a decal? Many use those words interchangeably, and it’s easy to see why. Both have the same components (an adhesive layer and paper backing), and they sometimes share the same function. Decals and stickers can both be used for promoting a business or advocacy.

But here’s the thing: all decals are stickers. However, not all stickers can be classified as decals. Now that sounds even more confusing, doesn’t it? How do you distinguish one from the other?

Banding is powerful. You have to maximize every opportunity in order to In this article, we’ll talk about the differences between a sticker and a decal. To help make a clear distinction, we’ll talk about stickers and decals in terms of materials, function and application, size, and life span. We’ll also walk you through how you can design and print stickers and decals with NextDayFlyers.

What’s the Difference Between a Sticker and a Decal?

Stickers and decals may look the same, but they have different qualities that set them apart from each other:


Let’s start with the most obvious difference. If you hold a sticker and a decal on each hand, you’ll notice that most of the time decals are made of thicker and more durable materials. Wall decals, for example, are printed on adhesive fabric, which contains woven fibers that last for many years. The material is also repositionable, so the decal can be used on any clean wall. Decals also come with transfer tapes that will help you apply the graphic onto any surface. Sometimes, decals are cut out separately (e.g., letter decals), while stickers are printed as one piece.

On the other hand, stickers are usually printed on premium paper. Sticker paper is not waterproof, so these stickers are best suited for indoor use only. However, vinyl and BOPP have waterproof properties that allow you to use them outdoors. These sticker materials are sometimes treated with a UV coating, so graphics won’t fade away easily when exposed to sunlight and other outdoor elements. Stickers also come with a permanent adhesive backing, which sticks firmly to any smooth surface. This makes stickers hard to reposition.

Function and Application

What’s your purpose for getting a sticker or a decal? Is it to promote your brand? Do you want to make your storefront enticing to passersby? Identifying your purpose and knowing where you’ll use the sticker or decal will help you figure out which product to choose.

Oftentimes, custom stickers are used for product promotion. They can be inserted into packaging, so customers can see your logo and keep your business top of mind. Sometimes, stickers are handed out to people on the street. Political stickers, for example, are effective promotional tools because they are handy and easy to remember. If you want to place markers on event grounds, decals are perfect for the job. Floor graphics help people navigate an area and remind customers of social distancing.

Here’s a table showing where you can use stickers and decals:

Decals Stickers
Packaging and promotion
Storefronts and sidewalks
Event locations
Home and business décor
Floor graphics
Personalization (laptops, notebooks, water bottles, etc.)


Stickers are usually smaller compared to decals, which can be as big as 58” x 120”. Since stickers are usually applied to small items, it makes sense to have them in small sizes as well—except for some such as warning stickers that can be as big as 9” x 12”. Because of their size, stickers are usually printed in large quantities for distribution.

Decals, on the other hand, are ordered in smaller quantities. They are usually applied to large surfaces such as walls and windows, that’s why they are ordered in small batches.


When it comes to longevity, decals outlast stickers. Decals can last up to five years depending on how they are used. Stickers have a shorter lifespan, especially those that are printed on paper only. Paper stickers last only for months. However, adding special coatings can make the material deteriorate slower. On the other hand, vinyl stickers can last up to five years. These outdoor stickers are waterproof and UV-resistant, so they can be used in any weather.

Print Stickers and Decals With NextDayFlyers

Ready to print stickers and decals? NextDayFlyers’ online printing services allow you to print any design that fits your needs. If you already have an artwork, you can upload it to the website, and our print specialists will take care of the rest for you.

No artwork yet? Create your artwork online even if you don’t have any design experience. Our online design tool makes it easy to create any artwork from scratch. Choose from over one million stock photos from our library to help you create the best design for your brand.

Want to add a professional touch to your stickers and decals? Our Design Service Representatives can help you make small fixes to your design or create your artwork fast. Call 844-340-9962 to get started.

Sticker and Decal FAQs

Can I order decals in custom shapes?
Custom shapes are available for floor decals only. Just select Custom Shape on the dropdown, then upload your artwork. Other decals are available as rectangle and square only.

Are wall decals repositionable?
Yes. If you make a mistake in placing your decal, just peel it off from the wall and adjust its position.

How soon will I receive my order?
Deliveries vary depending on your location and courier. To get an estimate, click the Get Delivery Estimate button and type in your ZIP code.

Will I receive an online proof with my order?
Yes, you can get a free PDF proof of your design. After uploading your artwork, select I Need a PDF Proof as your proofing option.

Will you still check my design if I don’t request a proof?
Yes, our print specialists will still check your artwork file for any technical issue even if you don’t request PDF proof.

How long do stickers and decals last?
The durability of stickers and decals is influenced by material, environment, and potential exposure to substances, necessitating careful handling for optimal service life.