The first distinction to make when it comes to window signs is what type of adhesive material it uses, if any. This is a common question and aspect that causes the most confusion. Their respective definitions and adhesive properties are as outlined below:
Window Stickers – A sticker is just as it sounds. A one-time use material that won’t be able to be repositioned. “Stickers” in this sense are often interchanged with the word “decal” in the signage industry. So instead of looking or asking for “window stickers”, what you’re most likely looking for is a window “decal.”
Window Decals – Window decals all have some kind of adhesive backing that is stuck to a window. This can be done on the outside, the inside or even from the inside facing out (this last option is called “inside glass” and is described below). This adhesive material means that your actual window sign is “semi-permanent.” This just means that when installing the decal there will be some wiggle room to adjust it as needed but once the decal’s adhesive kicks in it will be extremely difficult to reposition. (This is just the opposite from our wall decals which are made of a lower tac adhesive material which allows the decal to be repositionable. So, if you’re looking for something that can be moved around and is a non-window option then jump on over to our wall decals page.) These types of window decals come in three different types which are outlined below.
Clear Window Decal – Your decal will be clear everywhere that the design itself is not printed. These are great for storefronts and doors to allow two-way visibility – assuming your design doesn’t cover the entire surface area of the actual decal. Also, make sure that any design on these types of decals has a strong contrasting color to ensure smaller decals can be seen from a distance if so desired.
Opaque Window Decal – Opaque decals obscure visibility from either side of the window. Rather than having “clear” portions of your sign, wherever the design does not cover it will be an opaque white. The best way to describe this is like a frosted window in a bathroom. While it isn’t completely blacked out the visibility through these is obscured by the opacity of the non-printed area.
Perforated Window Decal – Perforated window decals are designed to allow one-way visibility. In other words, these are signs that allow you to see from the inside of your business to the outside but not vice versa. Therefore, you can still advertise your store hours, business logo or brand, and deals while seeing out of your store. Customers approaching your store will be able to see the decals clearly but won’t be able to see inside of the store. This is achieved by printing onto a material on one side of the sign that is perforated with tiny holes. These perforations won’t affect the aesthetics of your sign while creating a one way visibility that many business owners desire.
Static Clings – Unlike a traditional sticker or window decal, static clings have no adhesive side. Rather, they attach through the static charge of the sign itself and the window. These signs are easily removed and reapplied in different situations. They are often used in such places as a sneeze guard inside a restaurant in order to advertise deals or soups of the days. Static clings can also be clear or opaque in nature.
Opaque Static Cling and Decal – The red portion of the sign is the only portion of the graphic that is printed. The white is the default color of the material without any ink.
Perforated Window Decal – Visitors from outside would see the graphic and would not be able to see into the store (this is sometimes called one-way vision). The graphic would not be visible from inside the store but would allow people inside of the store to easily see out through the micro punctures.
Clear Window Decal – Assuming the red portion of the sign was the only color on the graphic, the rest of the sign would be transparent.
Halo Cut – A “halo cut” would mean that your red circular sale decal would have a tiny border of approximately 1/4 inch left around the perimeter of the decal.
Contour Cut – A “contour cut” would cut your red circular decal right at the border of the red circle leaving no white border.
Cut Vinyl or Vinyl Lettering – If the design weren’t circular but rather a collection of individual pieces then this would be cut vinyl or vinyl lettering. These individual pieces would be cut exactly to shape with no border and then could be applied to the appropriate surface as individual pieces rather than a single decal.