A sticker is a piece of self-adhesive paper or plastic that is individually cut. A custom sticker is an individually cut piece of self-adhesive paper or plastic that is manufactured to fit your specific needs. You get to choose the material, size, shape, quantity and design you want.
Below, you can check out some great examples of custom stickers.
What is a custom sticker made from?
A custom sticker has up to five layers. Each of which you can modify to fit your needs. Starting from the top, they are:
- Laminate (optional): for maximum protection.
- Ink: aka your printed design, is usually made from CMYK colors.
- Media: the paper or plastic we print your design on.
- Adhesive: that keeps your label stuck down - very important!
- Backing paper: often forgotten but very important. It protects your sticker and makes it easy to peel & apply.
Do you want to learn a little more about each layer? Then just keep reading.
Lamination is optional. Our biodegradable paper stickers, for example, are not laminated. However, we recommend using a laminate for outdoor or long-term applications where added durability is required. On top of that, a glossy laminate makes your stickers look even more high-quality.
The most popular laminates, however, are thin, transparent plastic films that are either gloss or matte. These give the maximum protection. Generally, the thicker the sticker, the more durable it is.
There are many ways to print stickers. Digital and traditional are the two main methods. But we focus on digital.
Digital printing is growing hugely due to advances in printing. If you're buying less than 10,000 stickers per batch, they're probably digitally printed because the setup costs are much lower than for traditional printing.
Digital printers typically print in CMYK. That stands for; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (key). Some, more advanced printers can also print white. In the last few years, printers have even been adding orange, violet and green inks to widen their color gamut. Meaning, they can print a broader range of colors.
At Sticker it, we have the world's best digital printer with up to 8 ink stations, meaning we can hit a vast range of colors and print white in one go.
The media is the material we print on. The most popular types of media are; plastic and paper.
Both types of media are available in a vast range of colors, such as; white, clear, glitter, holographic, silver, gold, fluorescent and many more.
Choose the material depending on a) where you will apply your stickers, b) how you will use your stickers, and c) what you want your stickers to look like.
For example, vinyl-based materials are perfect if you need waterproof stickers, whereas biodegradable paper is best suited for indoor uses, and glitter stickers are perfect for adding a bit of pizzazz to your design. You can find out more about what each material is suited for by checking out our materials page.
There are 3 main types of adhesive; removable, permanent or high-tack. You can find a detailed breakdown of these adhesives here.
- Removable adhesive is only suitable for very short-term applications where you want to remove the sticker.
- Permanent adhesive is the most popular. It's the best all-rounder and is what we recommend in 95% of applications.
- The high-tack adhesive is suitable for hard-to-stick surfaces, such as rubber, or some low-energy plastics.
All of our materials are self-adhesive. That means they come with a permanent, pressure-sensitive glue that is perfect for hundreds of applications. For a more detailed overview, you can have a look at our guide to sticker and label adhesives.
It's easy to forget about the backing paper (aka release liner). The purpose of the paper backing is to make the sticker or label easy to peel, which nearly all backing papers are good enough for these days.
But a good, thick backing adds a premium feel to your stickers. If you're giving handouts or selling stickers as products to your customers, we recommend going for a nice, thick backing paper to provide a premium feel to your custom stickers. It also makes your stickers easier to peel, which is a good bonus.
Custom stickers vs custom labels
When you browse most sticker printing websites, you will come across custom labels. While stickers are individually cut, custom labels are usually printed onto sheets or rolls.
We offer labels on sheets, which makes these labels much easier and quicker to peel and apply. They can look like this:
Labels on sheets are the perfect option if you are looking to brand your own products by hand. Sheet labels are about 65% faster to apply than individually cut stickers. If you're using a machine to apply labels, it's best to get your labels on rolls.
Labels can be customized just as easily as stickers. They are simply cut differently (namely only through the material layer, not the backing paper). When to use custom stickers
Individually cut custom stickers should be your go-to option if you want to hand out or sell your stickers. Think laptop stickers, stickers for phones, logo stickers or promotional stickers. All of these can easily be created with custom stickers.
You can even choose between different types of cut when opting for custom stickers. Get them die cut, which is cut in the exact shape of your design, or kiss cut, which leaves you with a border around your stickers.
How long will my stickers last?
How long your custom stickers will last depends on the material they are made out of.
Biodegradable paper stickers, for example, are designed to last two years indoors. Whereas white vinyl stickers will last up to 5 years.
Using your stickers outside, in direct sunlight or rubbing regularly, will reduce the lifetime of your stickers, but they will still last ages.
How to get your own custom stickers
Getting your own custom stickers is super easy, quick and surprisingly affordable. Here are the most important steps for getting amazing stickers.
Create high-quality artwork
Your artwork forms the foundation of your stickers. If your artwork is blurry or pixelated, your stickers will be blurry and pixelated. So make sure you submit it in the highest possible resolution.
That is easy to achieve by submitting a vector file. If you submit an image instead, ensure that it has a dpi of at least 300. DPI stands for dots per inch and describes how many pixels your image has. The more pixels - or the higher the DPI - the better the quality.
You can avoid all of this by creating your stickers with high-quality templates. Find plenty of these in our free online design tool Graphic. Simply select your favorite and edit it to fit your brand.
Find a great supplier
Once you have a design you love, it is time to find the right company to trust with your stickers needs. They are plenty of options to choose from. However, for the best possible results, make sure your sticker printer of choice fulfils these criteria:
1. Free design proofs
When you are looking to get custom stickers made, it is important to find a supplier that offers free design proofs. They are digital representations of what your stickers will look like. Here is an example:
With design proofs, you will be able to see a digital preview of what your stickers will look like before they are actually made. This is important because it gives you the opportunity to make any changes or edits to your artwork before the stickers are actually created.
Design proofs are a checkpoint that helps you ensure that you are happy with the final product, and that the stickers look exactly how you want them to.
2. Premium materials
This means that the sticker printer will use high-quality materials in the production of your stickers which will result in a finished product that looks great and is highly durable.
Of course, when you order stickers online, you mostly have to go off of website images and customer reviews. But good sticker printers will always offer material samples you can order for very little money.
This way, you can get a real-life feeling for your options and compare the quality of materials different printing companies offer.
3. Fast turnaround times
Of course, even the best stickers are of no use to you if they do not arrive in time. When you order custom products, there will always be a lead time because the product is made for you.
With custom stickers, manufacturing usually takes around a working week. Shipping times are added on top of that.
A good sticker printer will communicate their lead times openly to allow you to gage whether or not they are a suitable option for you.
Ordering custom stickers online
Now, you have your amazing design, you found the perfect sticker printer - it is time to place your order.
Let's break this down:
- Choose your product
- Enter your sticker dimensions.
- Pick your favorite material. If you are unsure, take our quiz.
- Select the quantity you need or type in your custom quantity.
- Hit "continue"
- Upload your artwork. You can also skip that part and send your design in later.
- Click "checkout"
You will then receive your digital design proof within 12 hours after ordering. All that is left to do is approve it, and you can lean back and relax until your custom stickers arrive!