Are you unsure which custom sticker is right for you? Confused?
Experience tells us that too many people buy the wrong sticker and pay more than necessary.
We’ve spent weeks creating the most comprehensive resource available online to help you get the perfect custom sticker.
This guide will give you enough information to make the right decision but doesn’t get bogged down in technical jargon or too much science.
We’ve split this guide into 4 sections:
- Choosing the right material
- Should your sticker be laminated; Yes or No?
- Getting the adhesive right
- Choosing the perfect cut
Once you’ve read this guide, you’ll be in the best position to buy the perfect custom stickers for your application.
Get ready to make the right decisions, saving you time and money! Let’s get stuck in.
1. Choosing the right material
This is the most important part because it is what determines the durability and look of your stickers or labels. And, of course, we all want to find the perfect fit - especially if your stickers and labels are used outdoors, around water or to represent your brand.
But don’t worry! It’s easy to make the right decision with the information we’re about to give you.
When we talk about the material, we mean the layer your design is printed onto.
There are 2 main categories of material to choose from: paper and plastic.
A common mistake
Many people don’t realize that papers and plastic material are available in various colors and can come with different effects such as glitter, silver, gold, holographic and fluorescent.
While both materials are very versatile, you will find it much easier to find plastic-based effect stickers.
So do not settle and instead speak to your supplier if you want a color other than white or clear.
Laminated – Yes or No?
Understanding if you need a laminate on your custom sticker or not will save you valuable money.
What types of laminate are available?
The 2 main options are either matte or gloss. This is mainly down to preference.
You can get ‘liquid laminates’ that are clear coatings to help with a bit of resistance, but they don’t get close to the strength of a layer of plastic.
Yes - I need laminate
If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you need a laminate on your sticker.
- Will you use your sticker outdoors? This can be on a car window or a bike frame, for example. To keep your outdoor stickers looking brilliant, we recommend a lamination to protect them from water, scratches and UV light.
- Will your sticker be exposed to much scratching, rubbing or handling? This is the case when your sticker is applied to the back of a laptop or phone.
- Do you want your brand to radiate quality? The laminate forms an extra layer that makes your sticker thicker and feel more premium and high-quality.
No - I don't need laminate
If you answer yes to these questions, you don’t need laminate.
- Are you looking for the lowest cost option? The extra layer of laminate adds cost and complexity to the manufacturing process.
- Are your stickers for a single-use? For example, takeaway food packaging or event name stickers. No laminate is needed as they are used for such a short time.
We recommend always opting for a glossy laminate if you are after a clear or transparent sticker. It will give optimal clarity and let your sticker shine.
Getting the adhesive right
Getting the adhesive right is essential. It makes sure that your custom stickers actually stick and won't peel within mere hours.
Our stickers come with a medium-strength pressure-sensitives solvent-based adhesive - quite a mouthful, right?
For a quick overview, read on. But if you want to dive deep into this topic, check out our guide on sticker and label adhesives.
There are 3 ‘strengths’ of adhesive used for sticker and label applications. These are:
Stickers with a removable grade adhesive are used for applications when you want to remove the sticker after a very short time and to leave no residue.
Most stickers use this material – well over 90%. This is because they’re perfect for sticking to nearly all surfaces (see the list below).
- Galvanized steel
- Powder coatings
- Plastic bottles
This is an industrial-strength adhesive for those hard to stick to applications. Go for these if you’ve used stickers in the past that don’t stick or you’re sticking to one of these materials:
- Low energy plastic – polypropylene and polyethene, to be exact. Things that are made from these plastics are; water buckets, wheelie bins, and motocross bike fairings.
If you’re selling your stickers to your customers, giving them away as handouts, or just unsure about which is best for you to choose the permanent adhesive option. It's the best all-rounder and won’t go ruining anything they’re stuck to.
4. Choosing the perfect cut
Do you get stickers cut individually or have them on sheets or rolls?
Getting this right could save you valuable hours! Choose from; individually cut, sticker sheets or stickers on rolls?
To help explain how important this is, we did a test of applying 1000 stickers that were 2" circles. It took 2 hours and 17 minutes when individually cut, whereas it took 48 minutes when on a sheet. That’s a saving of 1 hour and 29 minutes or 65% – now do I have your attention?
Having your stickers cut individually is the perfect option if you are handing out free stickers, want to sell them individually or just want to apply a few to your packaging.
With individually cut stickers, you are flexible to use them in different ways and to share them with the world.
You can even choose between different custom shape options: kiss-cut and die-cut.
What’s the difference?
The main difference is that kiss-cut stickers are only cut through the top, self-adhesive layer, whereas a die-cut sticker is cut through the sticker and the backing paper. You can deep dive into this in our article "What is the difference between kiss cut and die cut stickers?"
If you’re starting to apply many hundred or even thousands of stickers to products or packaging, we recommend getting your stickers on sheets.
All stickers on a sheet are kiss-cut through the sticker layer but remain on the backing paper, making them super quick and easy to remove.
Sheets are also great if you want to write on them. Sheets come in many different sizes, but we recommend A4 and A5 if the size of your sticker allows it because this is very easy to distribute.
Top tip #1
Custom sticker sheets are also a great option if you want to add a giveaway for a magazine or for logo stickers in product packaging (think of the Apple stickers you get with your iPhone). Popping sticker sheets in works perfectly and will get your brand seen.
Top tip #2
If you’ve got many different designs, it might be worth adding a title, product code or barcode to the sheet to help you identify each design. This is especially helpful if your designs are very similar and only a few words differ, for example, on ingredients stickers.
Stickers on rolls
The benefits of rolls are similar to sheets because they are easy to apply.
Rolls are particularly useful if your stickers are applied automatically/semi-automatically via a dispenser or machine.
Similar to sticker sheets, stickers on rolls are kiss-cut through the sticker layer but remain on the backing paper in a sheet or roll form, making them fast to peel and apply.
There are many ways stickers on rolls can be applied; here are a few images to get your creative juices flowing.
We recommend getting stickers on rolls if you’ve got a machine to apply them for you. This is easily the fastest way to apply thousands of stickers.
Claim your sample pack
To summarize, there are 4 key decisions to make when choosing the optimal custom sticker. They are:
Choosing the right material
Do you want your sticker laminated?
Making your label stick – choosing the right adhesive
Getting them cut right – individual or on sheets or rolls
If this has been overwhelming and you simply cannot decide what is best for you, we recommend getting the best all-rounder – a vinyl sticker with a permanent adhesive. It’ll stick to most things, and the white material with a gloss laminate will make your stickers look fantastic!
If you still feel like you need more information, the best option is to get some stickers in your hands so you can test them on your application. Get a material sample pack
If you have any questions about sticker printing or want help finding your perfect custom sticker, please contact us.