Sticker vs. Decal: Let’s settle the debate

Stickers and decals are often used interchangeably, and we can see why the two are often conflated. All decals are stickers, but not all stickers are decals. So, what’s the difference?

What it comes down to is design, application process, and what you want your final product to look like.

Decals are stickers without backing, or background. They are typically a design cut out to its exact shape and style. Decals are basically more complicated stickers. And by that, we mean they have layers.

*Insert Shrek onion layer analogy*

With a decal, there are three layers. A backing layer, a design layer, and a transfer layer. These three layers protect your decal prior to applying. The backing is removed prior to application. That leaves the design reverted on the transfer tape, as it gears up to be placed. Once you have your place and you are ready to stick it, the decal is then transferred from the transfer tape to the surface, leaving a perfectly cut design.

Decals are typically used for the outdoors like for shop storefronts or on car windows. But we have seen the sleek, cut design of decals being used more widely like on laptops, water bottles, and even phone cases.

On the other hand, stickers typically only have two layers: a backing and the actual design.

Stickers are decorative, intended for a specific purpose like decorating a water bottle, or covering the front of laptops. Stickers are also used for showing off things like band or company logos.

Stickers may be widely used for decorative purposes, but you can also use them for marketing and brand designs. Help promote your company with a fun sticker. It is a walking advertisement.

It is a lot to take so we have made it easy for you. At Bold Light Studio, our stickers are printed on weatherproof and waterproof vinyl paper. And our decals are printed and cut from vinyl decal, making them weather and waterproof, too! You can use both for inside and outside use, worry free!

So now that you know the difference of these two stick-able things, are you team sticker or team decal?


(We aren’t biased — we love ‘em both!)