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What are the different types of window sticker?

By David Willis © 2019

Home > Sticker Blog

When printing window stickers there are a variety of production methods that can be used. In this article I try to explain the different types of window sticker and the differences between them.

Digitally Printed Window Sticker

This type of sticker is produced using high-resolution digital inkjet printers using either solver or eco-solvent inks. The key manufacturers of these printers include Epson, Mimaki, and Mutoh.

transparent window sticker, printed in full colour

The popularity of digitally printed stickers is largely down to the relatively low setup costs that makes digitally printed stickers for short run jobs very affordable. When you also add the fact that these modern inkjet printers can print up to 1660dpi then the result is a quality printed sticker, at affordable cost. A win-win situation!

Screen Printed Window Stickers

For long-run jobs, however, screen printed window stickers come into their own.

Screen printing often requires a die tool to be made in order to cut the stickers to the correct size and shape. It also involves longer setup times to clean the plates and change the inks, all of which adds to the cost of the order. However, over a large quantity of stickers, the higher setup costs are offset by lower production costs, making the unit sticker cost lower over large jobs.

The other difference with screen printed stickers is that they tend to be best suited for designs using a limited number of solid colours. Since screen printing involves the printing of spot colours it is best placed to handle this type of artwork.

Quality Differences Between Digital and Screen Printed Window Stickers

There are some quality differences that should be noted between digitally printed stickers and those that have been screen printed.

Most artwork these days requires full colour or process printing in order to print photos, gradients, shading and other graphics. Digitally printed window stickers offer a much higher quality print than the screen print equivalent for this type of artwork.

screen printed window sticker

For artwork that consists of 'flat' spot colours screen printing is more suited, as the depth of the solid colours is far greater when screen printed than when printed digitally.

Window Sticker Adhesive Types

Window stickers generally come in 3 different types:

1. Permanent adhesive
2. Removable adhesive
3. Static cling

1. Permanent Window Stickers

Adhesive used on permanent window stickers is designed to permanently adhere to glass and not easily come off.

Adhesion can last from 3 to 7 years before peeling (known as ‘sticker failure’), depending upon the quality of the vinyl used.

Permanent window stickers are used when there is no requirement to remove the sticker in the short term. If the sticker needs to come off then they can still be removed after then have been warmed up by a hairdryer. The warmth from the hairdryer will loosen the adhesive and the sticker will come off quite easily.

However, the downside is that adhesive residue is often left on the window after a window sticker with permanent adhesive has been removed.

2. Removable Window Stickers

Window stickers with removable adhesive are an excellent choice when stickers are required to stick to the window for a long period (3-7 years) but, nevertheless, may need to be removed with ease during this time.

Window stickers with removable adhesive can be easily removed within the first 12 months of application without leaving adhesive residue. After this period they tend to become like permanent adhesive window stickers.

Car window stickers are best printed on a removable adhesive vinyl, to avoid any residue being left on the windows after removal.

3. Static Cling Window Stickers

Static cling (or self-cling) window stickers are an ideal choice when the sticker needs to be easily removed.

This type of window sticker does not have any adhesive at all but ‘clings’ to the window by static suction. A clear advantage, therefore, is that they do not leave adhesive residue.

The downside, however, is that static cling stickers do not have a long life. The estimated lifespan of a static cling window sticker is approximately 6 months. After that time they will lose their suction, pick up grease and dirt, and will no longer stick to the window surface.

David Willis
David Willis
This article was written by David Willis, a print entrepreneur and respected industry expert.

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