What is the Difference Between Vehicle Stickers and Vehicle Decals?

What is the Difference Between Vehicle Stickers and Vehicle Decals_

Mobile Marketing / July 12, 2022

All vehicle decals are stickers, but not all stickers are decals. So, what is a decal and what differentiates them from regular stickers? Let’s explore this further to clear up the commonly confused (and often interchangeably used) branding terms.

Here is where vinyl vehicle stickers and vehicle decals are similar:

  • Both come with the adhesive needed to stick to any clean, smooth surface such as glass, plastic, smooth sealed wood, and metal.
  • They are both highly customizable in terms of colors, images, and text.
  • Both can be cut to unique shapes.
  • They are the fastest and easiest way to customize your vehicle.

But because each has its own characteristics, being informed about the differences ensures that you choose vehicle branding that supports your needs.

What is a Sticker?

Hands up if you were a sticker fiend in your childhood. 🙋. Perhaps in the ‘80s you enjoyed bumper stickers for cars. Then you already know the value of stickers!

As mentioned above, stickers are an umbrella term that incorporates decals. Their many permutations arise from the different finishes, mediums, and methods of application. The choice is determined by what you plan to do with these handy promotional identifiers. (For this guide, we are ignoring paper stickers and labels and focus on stickers vs. vinyl decals for cars.)

Stickers consist of two layers:

  1. The backing paper that covers the adhesive until you are ready to peel it off.
  2. The decorative or informational design on the front that has adhesive on the back so that you can affix it to your vehicle’s surface.

Many businesses promote their brand with custom stickers for cars, laptops, water bottles, and so on.

What is a Decal?

Starting with a decal’s meaning, which originated from the French, décalcomanie because the technique was invented by Frenchman, Simon François Ravenet. Tu y crois toi?

Generally, a decal is a larger and more complex type of sticker, comprising three layers:

  1. The paper on the back that protects the adhesive.
  2. The decal itself with adhesive on its back so that you can affix it to your car.
  3. The clear transfer layer on the front of the design that aids the proper placement of the design on the surface of your vehicle.

Examples of decals include window signage, directional and social distance floor decals, or car decal stickers.

Are Decals Easy to Take Off?

Because a decal has a transparent transfer film added over the top of the sticker portion, you may think it is hard to remove. While taking a decal sticker off a painted wall can be a bit risky, it is highly unlikely that it could remove or damage your car’s paint. To make sure you – and your fleet of vehicles – are safe, use this checklist when ordering your branded car decal:

  • Ensure the paint job of your car is not of a poor quality.
  • Have the supplier professionally affix the decal sticker for you.
  • Choose from a variety of removable decals that use adhesives made from acrylic, therefore not liable to affect the paint’s chemistry.
  • Hire a company that balances the most up-to-date technology and equipment with experience and old-fashioned good service. They will have some tips to share with you such as:
    • Gently warm the surface with a hair dryer. Start at the corner, heating and peeling until the decal is removed.
    • Use warm soapy water and a clean cloth to remove any stubborn glue residue.
    • Use eucalyptus oil.

Customized vinyl decals and vinyl stickers maintain a cohesive brand image across all mediums that builds trust with your customers. If you have any questions about leveraging vehicle graphics as attractive marketing products that align with your corporate identity, don’t hesitate to contact Strand360 today! Our team is ready to discuss the best vehicle decals for your needs.