Decals vs Stickers vs Labels vs Static Cling

Learn the difference between similar products that most customers get confused about. Decals are not the same thing as stickers, though similar they have different properties and should not be used for the same purposes. At the same time clings are not the same thing as a sticker or decal.

Many times, we'll get requests from customers that use multiple product types to describe the same product, despite each term really meaning products that are much different from each other. This can lead to confusion and frustration, especially if a customer ends up ordering one kind of product when they were actually needing another product entirely.

The three products that people tend to confuse most often are our Decals, Stickers, and Static Clings. At first glance they might appear to be the same thing, however each product has its own unique properties and uses which helps to distinguish one from another.


Decals are generally intended for outdoor and indoor use. They're made using a latex based vinyl with semi-permanent adhesive, and have an outdoor life span of 3-5 years depending on elemental exposure. We can produce decals using either a base clear or a base white vinyl, and with either face adhesive to be applied to the inside of a surface to be seen from the outside or back adhesive to be applied the the exterior of a surface. The designs are either made Cut to Shape or Contour Cut, and come with a translucent transfer tape over the top of the decal to make the application process quick and easy. Because of the nature of the vinyl material and the semi-permanent adhesive, our decals are usually easy to remove from the application surface in one piece leaving little to no adhesive residue behind. Once removed, however, a decal can't be reused again later.


Stickers tend to be made using thinner materials than decals, and are often times paper based instead of vinyl. This usually limits their uses to indoors, as being exposed to the elements can cause the inks and material to fade and break down very quickly. Most stickers come with multiple prints to a sheet or a roll and are easily removed to be applied to the intended surface. Since stickers are generally meant for short term use, they don't come with transfer tape over top of the design and no additional application methods are required. Stickers can require some additional effort to completely remove from a surface, like soap and water or spray on adhesive remover.


Labels are intended for indoor use, and generally placed on a roll for easy removal and placement. And, unlike Decals, labels do not require any transfer tape for application; they can simply be peeled off the roll and applied. Labels can often times be cut to custom shapes, but are most commonly cut to circles, squares, and simple shapes for easier placement and application.

Static Clings

Static Clings are made using non-adhesive vinyl and can be produced as either Face Cling or Back Cling, so it's important to know where and how you intend to display your static cling before placing your order. You can find more information on the differences in Static Cling application methods on our Face Cling vs Back Cling tutorial page. Since static clings are non-adhesive, they are NOT recommended for external use on vehicles. Back cling static clings work best on stationary objects with smooth glossy surfaces like indoor glass or metal doors, smooth plastic containers, windows, and similar surfaces. Face cling static clings are great for interior use to be viewed from the outside, like interior car windows, storefront doors and windows, and so on. Static clings can easily be removed and reused over and over, and can be easily cleaned with soap and water if needed.