How To Design And Print A Perfect Sticker Or Decal

Stickers and decals

A sticker is a sticker and you stick it on things. Right? No, you need to think a bit before you have a sticker printed. Let’s say you are on the school governing board and you get the job of printing licence disc stickers for parents. So they can think about paying school fees every time they get in their cars.

You have some things to consider. The glue side of your licence disc sticker will go on the window, while the printed side will face into the car. The sticker needs to extend beyond the edge of the licence disc by 8 to 10mm. You must be able to peel the backing off without destroying the sticker and the sticker must be sun-proof for at least a year. All this sounds obvious, but it is not to everybody. But let’s change tack.

Tack

Tack refers to the glue on the sticker, specifically where you want to stick it and how long it should stay or how easy it will be to get off again.

High tack is what you want for your licence disc holder. It will stay where you stick it, on a smooth surface like a windscreen. As long as you press out any air bubbles, it will immediately, and for a long time, sit tight and look good.

Low tack is also called removable. It is for when you are not sure or it is just for a short time. It will sit, but you can pull it off easily and without pulling off the paint or whatever it is stuck on. Ideal for “Dog show, 30 August” that you do not want on your bumper after 30 August.

Static cling just sticks to smooth surfaces with static electricity and can be pulled off and put back at will.

Permanent is what it says – you are committed to your message. Like a stop sign or warning label.

Cutting

The thing about labels or stickers is that they should be easy to get off the backing sheet. The backing sheet is a piece of paper/board with a surface that your sticker can be pulled off without tearing. Your licence disc holder will have either a crack-back or a kiss-cut. The crack-back is when you bend the sticker and the back separates along a line that that can pull off. A kiss-cut is when the shape is cut through the sticker, but not through the backing. You just bend it on the cut and peel it off with your fingernail.

Paper or plastic? Roll or individual?

Printing stickers or decals have more permutations than any sane person would want to consider. Paper is cheaper and can be made to last longer with a coating, but that will cost more. Vinyl is more durable but has its own properties to consider. Depending on the quantity you need and how they will be used, you should consider printing on a roll or on sheets or individual die-cut units.

The design

At least the design is simple, and you only have to consider the DPI and the bleed and the cut-lines and so on. Okay, so printing a sticker or a decal, while not rocket science, does require specific knowledge.

Speak to the experts

The process is simple. Decide what you want to end up with, and then discuss with the experts. That way you will always end up paying exactly how much you wanted to for exactly what you needed.


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