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Stickers vs Decals: What’s the Difference?

Stickers, decals, or labels? Ah, the eternal question that leaves us all scratching our heads!

At Printiverse, we understand that the terminology can be a bit confusing, and we often get asked to clarify the difference between stickers and decals. While there isn’t a definitive answer to this question, we’ve got you covered with our breakdown of what each term means.

Let’s start by debunking a few common myths: No, decals are not just fancy stickers, and stickers aren’t flimsy bits of paper. The terms “decal” and “sticker” are not interchangeable. To get to the bottom of this, we went straight to the New Oxford Dictionary for a proper definition.

According to the dictionary, a sticker is “an adhesive label or notice, generally printed or illustrated,” while a decal is “a design prepared on special paper for transfer onto another surface such as glass, porcelain, or metal.” Now, that’s cleared up!


At Printiverse, we use the term “sticker” to describe more heavy-duty labels that can withstand the elements, like bumper or die-cut stickers. These stickers are printed on vinyl or polyester material using durable outdoor inks, making them perfect for use outdoors.


On the other hand, we use the term “label” to describe adhesive products printed on papers or foils with inks not suitable for outdoor use, like address labels or foil seals. These tend to be supplied on a roll or sheet for use indoors on packaging, paperwork, clothing, or products.


The term “decal” can often cause confusion because it’s often used interchangeably with other outdoor sticker products. However, according to the New Oxford Dictionary, decals are more associated with a “transfer” from one medium to another. So, vinyl cut lettering and graphics with a masking sheet are typically referred to as “decals,” while all other one-piece, outdoor printed vinyl or clear polyester are called “stickers.”

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing the right product for your needs, we always recommend being clear about what you want to accomplish with your design and where you want the sticker/decal to be applied. At Printiverse, we offer custom stickers, decals, labels, and magnets to help you label, decorate, or promote your brand. Whether you need a small quantity of custom products or a large run, we’ve got you covered!

If you’re looking for a small quantity of custom stickers, decals, labels, or magnets, we recommend checking out CustomStickers. They specialize in exceptional digital printing on small runs, so you can get the high-quality products you need without breaking the bank.