Difference between a Decal and a Sticker

Posted by rakeshmaya 27/08/2022 0 Comment(s)

There is often a lot of confusion between the term decal and sticker, though both are basically stickers technically they are completely different.


Vinyl printed sticker

Now printed vinyl stickers are normal stickers with two layers ,the front printed portion and the rear backing paper that covers the adhesive side of the sticker. It’s basically the normal sticker that you might have used since childhood, similar to the name label stickers we stuck on notebooks for school.

These are mass printed stickers and producing these costs very less. You will often find combo packs with 100s of stickers for a few bucks.

These stickers are often printed on white vinyl, these stickers would have a white border around the design. The other types of printed stickers are the ones that are printed on transparent vinyl, unless printed with high end equipment and expertise these stickers don’t have much clarity in prints.

One of the main benefit of printed stickers are that they can be made in any color and sizes, every image and photograph can be made as a printed sticker.



Often referred as decal stickers, because decal is not a name that most people associate with easily.  Decals are stickers that are transferred from the sticker backing paper onto another surface with the help of a transfer paper or transfer film. Unlike printed stickers it can’t be simply peeled and applied.

In the above example you can see the mahindra logo decal. The first part of the image shows the whole decal complete with transfer sheet applied over it, in the lower part of the image you can see the transfer paper peeled. You can see the actual vinyl sticker being stuck to the transfer tape. And in the back you can see the backing paper which was holding both the transfer tape and the cut vinyl decal. In the below image you can see the sticker transferred on to the wall for example.

In the above image you can see the logo is transferred to the wall along with the transfer sheet, then the transfer tape is being peeled off in the first image, in the below part of the picture you can see the final result after the decal has been sucessfully transferred to the wall. As you can see there are no borders or background, its only the main design that gets transferred. Once applied on a vehcile or a wall it often feels like as if the sticker has been painted on to the surface.


Decal stickers are limited to mostly single color designs which are cut directly from sheets of colored vinyl.  Since these are cut from already colored sheets they have high density color richness and they don’t have pixels . There are no transparent or white borders around the design. The whole design is directly cut instead of printing.


One of the major benefits of decal stickers is that it rarely fades even if kept in sun or rain continuously for years, the decal stickers maintain they color richness, while printed stickers often fade within some time.


Cost wise the decal stickers cost much more than printed stickers, printed stickers are easier to make.  All the designs are printed on same white sheet of vinyl then are cut and separated, meanwhile decal stickers are cut individually on different colored sheets.  Once printed the printed vinyl stickers are ready for use, whereas in  vinyl  decals  the whole design has to be cut first which itself takes more time than printing the stickers. Then the cut stickers are weeded manually, and on top of that another layer of transfer material is applied again manually. Not only decal stickers are more labour, time and skill intensive the cost of these cut vinyl films are also higher when compared with printing vinyls.


Yes with advancement of printing technology printed vinyls are becoming better but they lack the beauty of a cut decal sticker. The only major limitation of cut vinyl sticker is that they cant have rich multicolor prints which the printed vinyl stickers can have, there are limitations to what can be made as a decal sticker, all designs are not possible, designs in very small sizes are not possible, but there is no such limitation with printed stickers, they can be as small or as big as required.


At  Maya Stickers we are dedicated to decal stickers for the time being, we might include printed stickers in future but as of now we love making these decals, we love putting in that manual effort, there is no love in digitally printed vinyls, there is no personal touch.  When you put a decal sticker on a vehicle and when you pull that transfer paper out, it’s just pure joy.


You can find videos for sticker installation here

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