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All you need to know about fluorescent stickers & why to use them

Before we start, it’s worth saying that fluorescent stickers can also be referred to as neon or day-glow stickers. If you see these terms around, do not worry, they can be used interchangeably. Some industries, such as the motorsport industry use fluorescent to their advantage.

Have you ever seen Valentino Rossi?

Easy to spot isn't he.

Why is this?

Valentino Rossi with fluorescent stickers on his bike

What makes fluorescent colours so bright?

Normal colours reflect a maximum of 90% of the available light as their colour. However, fluorescent colours can reflect up to 300% of their colour, making them appear so much brighter.

How do they do that?

Fluorescent ink contains pigments that 'fluoresce'. Essentially, they convert some invisible UV light into visible light. 

The fluorescent pigments absorb the UV-light, that cannot be seen by the human eye, and re-emit at a wavelength we can see. It's converted to the wavelength that matches the fluorescent pigment colour.

Fluorescent ink vs regular ink and how it reflects certain wavelengths

Source

Here are some technical details

Skip this if you don’t really care why fluorescent colours are so much brighter.

If you do care, this will be interesting to you…

Humans can see a very narrow range in the middle of the electromagnetic spectrum, known as the visible light spectrum.

This image helps to show how little the human eye can see in the whole spectrum:

Visible light spectrum diagram

Normal colours absorb and re-emit a portion (up to 90%) of this visible spectrum that matches its primary wavelength (i.e. It’s colour), whilst the remaining light is absorbed and dissipated as heat.

Fluorescent colours contain fluorophore molecules that fluoresce when excited by light.

These colours use a larger amount of both the visible light spectrum and the lower light wavelengths compared to conventional colours (up to 300% more). They re-emit this wider band of light as visible light to the human eye.

Because of this, the human eye views fluorescent colours as far brighter, as if they’re glowing!

Why do fluorescent colours fade?

Fading is a change in colour with time. All colours fade over time to varying degrees.

The technical term for colour fading is 'photodegradation'.

The UV part of sunlight has a chemical reaction with the pigments in ink, causing the colours to fade in a process called bleaching.

As fluorescent colours include pigments that convert parts of the invisible UV light into visible light, they are more susceptible to bleaching when exposed to UV-light; this is called photobleaching.

Can you print fluorescent colours?

No. Instead of printing fluorescent colours, we print onto fluorescent materials and have the colour of the material coming through your design in specific places to make it appear fluorescent. The effect can look amazing.

You can find out more about how to use white ink on stickers and labels right here.

The image below shows a more detailed view of how fluorescent stickers and labels are made:

Split view of a yellow fluorescent sticker with each material layer numbered

The layers are:

  1. The gloss laminate is applied over the printed layer and protects it from scratching, water, chemicals and from fading in sunlight.

  2. We print using the latest digital inkjet technology with super detail & vibrant colours. We also print white to give great, opaque colours, even on fluorescent coloured materials. 

  3. You can choose from a range of fluorescent coloured materials to create your desired end-result.

  4. A permanent, medium-strength, pressure-sensitive acrylic adhesive makes fluorescent stickers perfect for 1000’s of applications.

  5. A thick, premium paper-backing makes these stickers rapid to peel & gives a quality feel.

When to use fluorescent stickers?

As you know these stickers are brighter & stand out way more than others.

They’re also quite unique as most brands don’t use these awesome shades of colour to their advantage.

We recommend using fluorescent stickers in some of these applications, particularly where you need to stand out, such as on a shelf when surrounded by competitors products:

  • Drinks beverage stickers

  • Food packaging labels

  • Warning stickers

  • Premium logo and branding stickers for event handouts

  • Health & Safety stickers

  • Phone and laptop branding

  • Machine labelling

  • Special promotion stickers

Here are some good examples to get your creative juices flowing:

Rounded corner fluorescent yellow stickers with monkey design on a table
Circle fluorescent pink stickers with munch design on a table
Stack of oval fluorescent yellow sticker with nike logo on a table
Stack of die cut fluorescent orange stickers with tiger design on a table
Stack of die cut fluorescent red stickers with black king design on a table
Stack of die cut fluorescent orange stickers with trick or treat design on a table

When not to use fluorescent stickers?

Fluorescent materials are designed to be used for up to 6 months outdoors and 2 years indoors.

This reduced outdoor life is due to fading (technically called photobleaching) that can occur.

The fluorescent pigments that give the colour their insane brightness also will become ineffective over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If you are looking for a different option, browse our custom stickers UK made here.

Therefore we recommend using fluorescent stickers for mostly indoor use. For example food & drinks packaging, or for short-term outdoor use. For example; special promotion labels or construction site warning stickers.

Faded fluorescent stickers announcing a sale on a shop window

What shades of fluorescent are available?

Fluorescent stickers are generally only available in the following shades:

  • Red

  • Orange

  • Yellow

  • Pink

  • Green

More can be created however to do this the fluorescent pigment needs to be mixed with conventional colours.

This causes there to be less fluorescent pigment in the final colour, so it will appear less bright.

This is why we recommend sticking with these shades. By combining them with other colours you can create a massive variety of different effects & designs.

Fluorescent yellow material sample full size
Fluorescent red material sample full size
Fluorescent pink material sample full size
Fluorescent orange material sample full size

Get some fluorescent stickers

If you want to see how fluorescent stickers look in real life, we can send you a sample pack for only £1. Just click the link below to receive your sample pack.

Get a material sample pack

If you have any questions or want to tell us about how you use fluorescent stickers, please get in contact with us here.