Stickers have been around for just under a century, but they already feel timeless. From the price tag on your banana to the cheesy quote you inflict on the driver behind you, stickers are simply everywhere.
Coming in all shapes, sizes, materials, and colors, the ubiquitous sticker plays very diverse roles. There are the prized collectible superhero stickers of your childhood, the faded paper sticker with a barcode, soon to be torn off and discarded, the colorful school wall graphic, and the dull letter stickers on your office door. And so many more.
These stickers each have their point and purpose. Below, we'll take a look at some of the main sticker types, what they're made of, and what they're made for. Join us in this brief exploration of the world of stickers.
1. Vinyl stickers
Also known as PVC, vinyl is the main material used for stickers meant to last. Sturdier than paper and other materials, vinyl stickers can take a lot of abuse and keep going — they'll literally stick around.
Common uses for vinyl stickers include:
- Outdoor applications, such as bike stickers, hard hat stickers, surfboard stickers, etc.
- Customizing water flasks, laptops, and other personal belongings
- Labeling glass jars, bottles, and similar objects
Advantages and disadvantages of vinyl stickers
Vinyl stickers are the norm — if you're looking at a sticker, chances are it's a vinyl one. That's because:
- They're waterproof and oil resistant
- They're weatherproof and can take years to fade even when exposed to sun and rain daily
- They're sturdy and don't scratch or tear easily
- They're supremely sticky and will last a long time
- They're sleek and quality-looking
That said, they're not fit for every use. Vinyl stickers:
- Can be more expensive than simple paper stickers
- Can leave residue behind once they're removed
- Are not eco-friendly, as they're not biodegradable or recyclable
2. Clear stickers
Let's talk about a sticker's look, not the material. Most clear stickers are made of — you guessed it — vinyl. More specifically, transparent vinyl. The point of clear stickers is to make only the sticker's design visible, and not the backing.
There are plenty of applications for clear stickers, but they're especially popular on transparent surfaces such as glass windows or glasses. They're also great for mugs, laptops, and phone cases — pretty much any use case where you want to make sure your design is visible against an object's surface.
3. Bumper stickers
Besides being used to entertain or annoy other commuters, bumper stickers are a popular sticker type for more serious uses, such as supporting your candidates or sharing a political slogan.
Bumper stickers are also popular as a way to market your business or services, sharing brand names and company phone numbers. In fact, that was their original purpose back in 1946, when they were first put into use.
Rather more discreet than window decals, bumper stickers are nonetheless a great way to advertise what you're all about.
4. Holographic stickers
Holographic stickers have a nice rainbow effect finish that makes them a great choice for fun visuals and appealing designs. But they can also have an important role to play. Since holographic designs are harder to duplicate, these stickers are often used as credentials (think the car window type) or security seals.
You can check out the Sticker Mule holographic stickers here. If you're the creative type, you'll find they can be really a lot of fun.
5. Transfer stickers
Also known as vinyl cut stickers or vinyl lettering, transfer stickers are stickers made of several pieces that you need to keep together while transferring to the desired surface.
A special transfer tape keeps the pieces together; after removing the sticker from the paper backing and sticking it to the surface, you'll then peel back this transfer tape, leaving only your intricate design.
Transfer stickers are great for complex designs, such as lettering, that need to be precisely applied on a surface. They're often used on shop windows and office doors.
6. Die-cut stickers
Unlike round or square stickers, die-cut stickers are cut following the precise shape of your design. This makes them a great choice for stickers that need to blend in neatly with the object they're glued onto.
Applications for die-cut stickers include:
- Printing pet stickers that follow the contour of your pet's head
- Stickers for narrow surfaces (such as bicycle frame stickers)
7. Face stickers
Custom face stickers are just what the name says. More importantly, they're a great way to make people smile. Whether it's a grumpy cat (or baby) or the smiling face of a loved one now immortalized in graphic form, face stickers can be a fun and entirely unique way to customize your belongings.
Face stickers are usually die-cut, and are a popular addition to glasses, flasks, laptops, and notebooks.
8. Kiss cut stickers
Kiss cut stickers come in a special paper backing that both protects the sticker and doubles as an extra space to print on. This makes them especially popular with delicate designs, where the corners and borders of the sticker require additional protection.
Kiss-cut stickers are also popular as a way for shops and artists to include more information about their business in the discardable sticker backing.
9. Window clings
Window clings, a.ka. static clings or electrostatic stickers, harness the power of electricity and atmospheric pressure to stick to the surface they're applied to. That's right — no adhesive is required to make these thin-vinyled bad boys stick!
Easy to apply and remove without leaving any residue behind, window clings are the perfect solution for a variety of uses, such as:
- seasonal designs and decorations
- showcasing promotions or sales
- when you want to avoid sticky residue
- other temporary uses and applications
Although they're a great alternative to the traditional sticker, window clings have their limitations:
- they can only be applied to surfaces such as glass or some metals
- they don't do well in high humidity environments and outdoors
- they don't last quite as long as adhesive stickers
This means window clings are great for temporary applications where they won't deal with much wear and tear.
10. Wall and floor stickers
Also known as wall or floor decals, these are large stickers made with a fabric-like vinyl and meant for a more permanent decorative use. They're popular in offices, schools, and public places, and are made to last.
Because they're very large, wall and floor stickers usually come with a special backing, adhesive tape strips, and even a squeegee to help squeeze out air bubbles from the design.
Common uses for wall and floor stickers include:
- branding on banks, offices, and public spaces
- home decoration
- large informational graphics and designs
The above are just some of the more popular types of stickers. For your car or your office, for personal uses or professional applications, to advertise, or to make friends laugh, these stickers got you covered.
Just remember not all stickers are created equal. A window decal serves a very different purpose from a window cling; a kiss cut sticker is not the same as a transfer sticker. So make sure you do your research before you order your stickers — especially when bulk ordering.
And speaking of bulk, did you know Sticker Mule has some of the best deals out there for bulk ordering custom stickers? Check out all the types of custom stickers we currently offer and subscribe to our deals to save big!