What are stickers, decals, and labels? Are they the same?

Stickers, decals, and labels are three terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. While stickers and decals are used for decorative or promotional purposes, they have some subtle differences that can impact which one is the best choice for your needs. Labels are used for more functional purposes such as product labeling and identification.

In this blog post, we will define stickers, labels, and decals, discuss their materials and uses, highlight their differences, and provide tips on how to choose between them.


Stickers are small pieces of paper, vinyl, or fabric that have an adhesive backing. They can be printed in a wide range of colors, shapes, and designs, making them a versatile choice for decoration or branding. Stickers are often used for promotional purposes, such as giveaways, or for personal use, such as decorating laptops or water bottles.

outdoor stickers in grass
Stickers are used in fun and creative ways to show personality.

Common materials for stickers

Stickers can be made from a variety of materials, including glossy paper, matte paper, vinyl, or fabric. The choice of material depends on the intended use and the desired lifespan of the sticker. Paper stickers are often the most affordable option and are suitable for short-term use, such as for a one-time event. Vinyl stickers are more durable and can withstand exposure to the elements, making them suitable for outdoor use. Stickers can be easily peeled off and applied to any surface, making them a quick and easy way to add some personality to your belongings.

Common Uses for Stickers

Stickers are commonly used for promotional or decorative purposes. They can be used to label products, advertise events or sales, or as a way to show support for a particular cause or organization. Stickers can also be used for decoration, such as on laptops, water bottles, or phone cases.

Companies and brands use stickers to market their products and services, such as breweries and aftermarket automotive manufacturers. They are fun giveaways and gain attention among their most loyal fans.

One of the most popular sticker products is the die cut sticker. This product is printed on white vinyl and laminated with an outdoor durable matte or gloss laminate. The cut closely mirrors the artwork of the sticker and creates a visually appealing product.

Size and Design Options

Stickers come in a variety of sizes and designs, ranging from small round stickers to larger rectangular ones. Custom shapes and designs are also possible with stickers. The design options for stickers are endless, with full-color printing available for eye-catching designs.

Durability and Lifespan of Stickers

The durability and lifespan of stickers are highly dependent on the material and the intended use of the product. Paper stickers are the least durable and may only last a few days or weeks, while vinyl stickers can last for several years with proper care.

Application Process for Stickers

Stickers are typically applied by hand, with the adhesive backing allowing for easy application. It’s important to make sure the surface is clean and dry before applying the sticker to ensure it adheres properly.


Decals are larger than stickers and are often used for branding or identification purposes. They are typically made from vinyl and have a self-adhesive backing that allows them to be applied to a variety of surfaces. Decals are cut to a specific shape, and they may have a clear background that blends in with the surface they are applied.

Materials Used for Decals

Decals are typically made from vinyl, which is a durable and weather-resistant material. The vinyl can be printed with a variety of colors and designs, making it a popular choice for branding and promotional purposes.

Common Uses for Decals

Decals are commonly used for a variety of industrial and commercial purposes, including:

Size and Design Options

Decals come in a variety of sizes and can be designed to fit specific surfaces. They can be cut to any shape or size, making them versatile for a wide range of uses. Decals can also be customized with text, logos, and graphics, and they can be designed in a variety of colors and shapes.

Durability and Lifespan of Decals

Decals are designed for outdoor use and are more durable than stickers. They can withstand exposure to the elements and have a longer lifespan than stickers. The lifespan of a decal can vary depending on the material used and the conditions it is exposed to, but they are typically designed to last for several years.

Application Process for Decals

Decals require a more precise application process than stickers to ensure they are properly aligned and adhered to the surface. They may need to be applied with a squeegee to remove any air bubbles and ensure a smooth finish. Professional installation is recommended for larger decals or more complex designs.


Labels are self-adhesive materials that contain information about a product, its contents, or its usage. They can be made from various materials, including paper, vinyl, and polyester, and are usually printed with text or images.

Product labels contain both branding and product identification information

Materials Used for Labels

The materials used for labels depend on their intended use. For example, paper labels are commonly used for commodity packaging, while BOPP labels are used for higher-value products.

Common Uses for Labels

Labels are used in a variety of industries, from food and beverage to pharmaceuticals and retail. They provide essential information about a product, such as its ingredients, expiration date, and usage instructions. Labels can also be used for branding purposes, helping to identify a company or product.

Size and Design Options

Labels come in a variety of sizes and designs to suit different needs. Some labels are small and discrete, while others are larger and more prominent. They can also be customized with different shapes, colors, and graphics to fit a specific brand or product.

Durability and Lifespan of Labels

The durability and lifespan of labels depend on the materials used to create them. Paper labels are typically more fragile and have a shorter lifespan than vinyl or polyester labels, which can withstand exposure to water, sunlight, and other environmental factors.

Application of Labels

Labels can be applied manually or by using a label applicator. Manual application involves peeling the label from its backing and carefully placing it onto the item. Label applicators are machines that automate the label application process, making it faster and more efficient.


In conclusion, stickers, decals, and labels may seem similar, but they have unique characteristics that make them ideal for different purposes. Stickers are perfect for short-term use and can be used for branding, promotions, and events. Decals, on the other hand, are ideal for long-term use and can be used for decorating vehicles, storefronts, and windows. Labels are primarily used for organization and identification purposes, and they come in a wide range of materials and adhesives to suit different applications.

When choosing between stickers, decals, and labels, it’s essential to consider the factors that matter most to your application, such as durability, size, and design options. By understanding the differences between these products, you can make an informed decision that meets your needs and budget.

We hope this guide has been helpful in explaining the differences between stickers, decals, and labels, and how to choose the right product for your needs. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us. Thank you for reading, and happy labeling!