Decal Buying Guide

Bumper stickers and window decals are one of the best ways for students, family, staff and alumni to show their school pride.  Just look at vehicles around you as you’re driving (while still being safe of course), and you are bound to see bumper stickers, window decals or clings with a school’s name or mascot proudly displayed.  With all the time spent behind the wheel, it’s no surprise that our vehicles also serve as a “mobile billboard” to actively endorse and advertise favorite schools, organizations, musicians, politicians, and charitable causes.

From a business standpoint, decals are among our most popular items for their easy-to-mail size, and affordable price point. There are many options involved when selecting the perfect decal for your desired application.  In this Decal Buying Guide, we’ll break down the three main decal buying considerations and highlight some popular products.

Before we get started, we want to define decal / sticker terminology.  Decal is the overall term that covers the entire product category, including stickers and static clings. Stickers, as the name tells us, refers to only adhesive, sticky-back applications.

Decal Buying Considerations

In addition to determining the decal’s size and shape, there are three main buying decisions to review:

  1. Print Method
  2. Material
  3. Adhesive

We will discuss each of these areas in detail and will also provide artwork tips for specific decal applications.

Decal Size and Shapes

Anything from small to large stock shapes to completely custom shapes can be created in an adhesive or static cling decal.

We offer over 89 shapes and sizes, so rest assured that we can help you find exactly what you need.  Watch this fun, short video from our partner:

Some common shapes and sizes include:

  • Rectangles: 5″ x 7″, or common bumper sticker size: 3″ x 11.5″,
  • Circles: 6″ – 8″ diameter
  • Ovals: 5″ x 8″
  • Squares: 6″ – 8″
  • Octagons: cut from 8″ x 8″
  • Triangles: cut from 8″ x 8″

Some shapes can have either rounded or square corners.  Here is a 2.5″ x 9.25″ screen printed bumper sticker sample:

Bumper Sticker Screen Print

Standard sized (2.5″ x 9.25″), ultra-removable adhesive, screen printed bumper sticker

Custom sizes are available in sizes from 1 to 600 square inches. Using a straight edge cut will save you money compared to a die-cut custom decal. Fully custom shape decals do require a die for cutting, so setup costs will be higher than a standard shape.  However, repeat orders using the same die would not include a die cutting fee for greater cost savings.  A custom die cut shape may be something to consider when looking for a unique- or mascot-shaped decal.

Printing Methods

Two main printing methods are used for standard shaped decals: screen printing and digital printing.

Screen Printing

  • Lasts 3 – 5 years, outdoor durability
  • Most material options – White, Clear Vinyl or Static, and Chrome Vinyl
  • Pantone matching, Metallic, and Fluorescent Colors
  • Higher price point

Digital Printing

  • Lasts 2+ years, outdoor durability
  • Fewer materials options – White Vinyl or White Static
  • Full color, photo-realistic printing
  • Lower price point

One additional printing method, offset printing is used for full color, high definition custom shape decals. This is beneficial when you want the highest level of clarity and detail in your artwork.  High quality printing does, on average, come at a higher cost than screen and digital printing. For any decal printing project, minimum quantities start at 125 pieces.

High Resolution Decal Sample

HD Resolution Decal is created with offset printing

Here’s another video that describes the HD Resolution Decals, including imagery of more samples. If you artwork includes landscape scenery, images of people, or extremely detailed pictures, then HD is the right option for you.  Smaller budget, but still want photo-realistic printing? Then use digital printing methods.

 Material Type

Digitally Printed Decals

Decals can use an adhesive or static cling to stick to the desired surface. As mentioned in the printing method section, white or clear polyester vinyl can be used in digitally printed adhesive decals.  White vinyl is the only option for a digitally printed static cling.

Screen Printed Decals

When screen printing an adhesive decal, white vinyl, clear polyester vinyl, and chrome polyester vinyl can be used. Screen printed static clings can be printed on either white or clear vinyl. The static can be applied to either the back of the cling or the front for use inside of a window.

Adhesive Type

Choose from the following adhesive options:

  • Permanent – if removed, there will be a residue left behind
  • Removable – can be removed with some effort, no residue will be left behind
  • Ultra-removable – easiest to remove without a residue – this material is used for bumper stickers.
  • Static Cling (no adhesive) – indoor applications only, choose from static face or back

 Static Cling 
When looking for an indoor application for windows or mirrors, white or clear vinyl clings are the perfect, non-adhesive option.  Clings can be refreshed with soap and water to keep its sticking-power. Static clings are flexible and scuff-resistant and easily conforms to smooth surfaces, such as a curved rear window of a car.  Choose from applying the static to the front or the back of the cling, based on where it will be used.

Inside Removable Window Stickers – Select a clear static cling (with a static front) or clear polyester adhesive for affixing stickers to the INSIDE of a car window.  For artwork, we recommend using lighter colors, so the sticker can still be viewed through tinted glass, as shown below.

Decal Inside Window Removable Sticker

Sample Inside Window Removable Sticker uses a white outline around letters, so it’s easily viewed from outside of the vehicle.

Bumper Stickers

Bumper stickers are produced on either white or yellow vinyl, using ultra-removable Zip-Strips.  One new item is the clear bumper sticker.  As mentioned above for the inside window sticker, we recommend using white outlines around the artwork, so the art will show-up regardless of the color of the bumper.

Clear bumper sticker sample has text outlined in white to make it stand out

Clear bumper sticker sample has text outlined in white to make it stand out

Artwork Tips

Remember these factors when designing for decals and cling applications:

  • Use screen printing for an exact Pantone color match, metallic or fluorescent colors
  • Use digital printing for photo-realistic quality at a lower price than offset printing
  • Incorporate light colors into any design for inside window stickers
  • On a clear background, outline text and imagery in white

Suggested Uses

Custom Postcard Decal can be a cling or sticker

Custom Postcard Decal can be a cling or sticker

Mailings

  • We have created bumper stickers for admitted student mailings, which were part of a Facebook photo contest for one college.
  • The Postcard Decal can mail as a standalone piece or as an insert. Multiple decals can be included on the postcard as well.
  • Popular for alumni association mailings

Event Handouts

  • Stickers and tattoos are favorite items at community events.
  • Use for Open House Events, Admitted Student Days, Orientation

There are numerous options for decals and stickers.  Feel free to contact us to let us discover which option is best for your needs.

Top Products of NACAC 2014

Mid-September Michael and Paige headed to Indianapolis for the NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) National Conference. The show was a huge success with over 6000 attendees!

In talking with professionals who stopped by our booth, Michael identified promotional products that stood out.  Four popular items, pictured below, related to tech items and social media photo sharing.  Want to view more top promotional products?  Visit our NACAC 2014 Showroom.

Nacac top promo products

A few favorite items in our booth

 

The DigiClean screen cleaner continues to be a popular item (and is something we have highlighted in this post and this case study). Attendees loved the phone wallets and portable chargers we handed out. The custom frame received a lot of interest too, especially for tying in fun photo sharing with campus tours and admitted student days. Read our case study on the UW-Madison custom frame for more details.

Funnel Art for Web AwarenessAdditional popular case studies for admissions were featured on our booth handout to further illustrate how promotional items can effectively be used throughout each stage of the enrollment funnel to:

Some of our favorite NACAC moments in our booth (besides meeting with so many wonderful admissions professionals) were some surprise visitors!

mascots in booth

From the conference socials to running the 5K, Michael and Paige had an awesome time connecting with and learning from so many schools. Contact Michael to talk about how we can be a marketing resource for your school!

Paige and Michael IUPUI Mascot cropped

Paige & Michael with the IUPUI Mascot

What were your highlights of NACAC 2014?  Let us know what promotional products were your favorites!

 

 

 

 

Easy to Love – New Promotional Products

Account Managers Paige and Elise recently attended a new product showcase, where they discovered some new and fun promotional items. Here’s what caught their eye:

Color Engraved Titanium Items

These are beautifully designed, durable promotional items. A laser printing process delivers brilliant, shimmering colors on either stock or custom shapes.  Personalization is also available, making this an ideal gift item. All products are USA Made.

Suggested Uses:

  • Handout at events
  • Recognize volunteers
color-titanium-gifts-sample-guitar-and-car

Sample Guitar and Car Titanium Promotional Items

Check out the wide range of items and options!

Color Titanium gifts design samples

More sample Color Titanium Items

Shimmering colors on Titanium Promo Item

Look at the cool, reflective imprint

Full Color Imprint Phone Stand

Although it has a restaurant theme imprint, the options are endless for this full color phone stand.  It is made of a rigid styrene material with a securely attached plastic kickstand that folds flat. Custom shapes are available, so you could really get creative with this item!

Suggested uses:

  •  Students or Alumni
    • Imprint an athletic schedule
    • Imprint a campus mascot or scene from campus
    • Fold down the kickstand to include in a mailing
  • High School Counselors / Referral Sources
    • Imprint important dates, contact information
full color imprint phone stand

Ideal for any desk or table top surface

Collegiate Mascot on Phone Stand

The Cal Mascot looks sharp on this phone stand sample.

Silly Band Type Bracelets

Silly Bands, or Squiggles are perfect for any event that includes children and families.  Six rubber bands come packaged in a poly-bag with a full color marketing card. Kids love collecting and trading these bands!

Choose from six themes or ask about creating your own custom shape.

  • Dinosaurs
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Sea Creatures
  • Transportation
  • Insects
  • Dental
  • Fruit
  • Animals

Suggested uses:

  • State Fair or expo booth promotional item
  • Family-friendly company picnic
  • Customer appreciation event
Silly Bands

Kids will love these silly band shapes.

Cold Weather Ideas

As summer turns to fall, we are all starting to bundle up more. This new Microboa Sherpa Blanket would be an appreciated gift for staying warm and cozy! It includes a carrying bag.  Decorate with your logo to promote your brand.

Suggested uses:

  • Employee Appreciation
  • Gift for speakers at a conference or event
Warm Microboa Sherpa Blanket

Customer will gladly cozy up with this Microboa Sherpa Blanket

From this same partner comes these custom imprinted sweatshirt blankets.  We have run these for collegiate clients, and they were very well received.  The packaging and presentation is especially nice, rolled and wrapped up with a label that includes an image of the blanket’s design.  This means you won’t have recipients immediately unrolling the blanket to see what’s imprinted.  Available in 28 different colors.

sweatshirt blanket rolled and labeled

Attractive presentation means it’s easy to handout or mail these sweatshirt blankets right away!

Custom Shaped Post-it Notes

Last but not least, custom shaped Post-it Notes grabbed Elise’s attention.  Who wouldn’t love a state shaped or mascot shaped note pad?  They are fun and useful promotional items.

fun custom shaped post it notes

Make your own custom shaped Post-it!

Which new items do you love most? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or give us a call for more information at 414-831-0184.