How to Make Effective Adhesive Vinyl Stickers and Decals in New York City

Introduction to Adhesive Vinyl Stickers & Decals Custom printed adhesive vinyl stickers and decals are versatile, durable, and popular tools for businesses, events, and number of other applications. These adhesive backed stickers come in a variety of materials, finishes, and sizes that can be customized to fit any need, from retail window projects to vehicle ... Read more

by ryan@uniquevisualsny.com

Disney upfront custom printed large format window graphics at Javits center NYC

Introduction to Adhesive Vinyl Stickers & Decals

Custom printed adhesive vinyl stickers and decals are versatile, durable, and popular tools for businesses, events, and number of other applications. These adhesive backed stickers come in a variety of materials, finishes, and sizes that can be customized to fit any need, from retail window projects to vehicle decals and large-scale advertising campaigns. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore popular sticker materials and use cases, the application process, and the design and printing methods that bring these creations to life.

Need a custom printed stickers or decals in NYC in a rush? Wondering where can I find a sticker printing company near me? Unique Visuals is here to help!

printed wall mural custom stickers in new york

Types of Adhesive Vinyl Stickers and Decals

Custom Stickers in Bulk

When we discuss custom stickers, we are referring to small- to medium-sized stickers that are commonly printed in bulk such as bumper stickers, packaging label stickers, and custom printed sticker sheets. These decals are generally printed and cut in bulk quantities, ranging from 100 to over 10,000 units, and are effective for businesses, governments and municipalities, Universities, retailers and more.

  • Uses: Perfect for promoting businesses, events, or personal hobbies. These stickers are produced in bulk at a low cost, allowing for wide scale marketing, messaging, and branding on a budget.
  • Popular Types: Die-cut stickers and kiss-cut stickers cut to rectangular, circular, or any other custom shape. These are typically cut to shape or cut into custom sticker sheets containing multiple stickers that can be peeled off of the sheet.
  • Custom Sticker Finishes: Bulk quantity stickers and decals can be printed with matte, semi-gloss, or glossy sticker finishes. These stickers can be cut to any shape and can be printed to adhere to either the front or backside of a surface, generally referred to as first or second surface mounted stickers.

Custom Printed Wall Decals

Wall decals are a popular adhesive vinyl sticker option for a variety of audiences in New York City including retailers, event producers, corporate offices, museums, and more. These large wall decals can be printed at any size with seams that align the images, cut to any shape, and printed any color. Furthermore, wall stickers can be stuck to nearly any surface including sheetrock, concrete, asphalt, brick, metal, and more.

  • Uses: Custom wall stickers are ideal for home decor, branded office spaces, events, pop-up shops, museums, Universities, and retail environments. Simply put, they can be used anywhere to generate eye-catching graphics that transform walls into branding and messaging opportunities.
  • Popular Wall Decal Ideas: The graphic used for wall decals depends on the environment. Corporate office wall stickers vary from history wall timelines to environmental landscape graphics and modern abstract wall designs depending on the company. Similarly, retailers can use simple die cut wall decals for wayfinding, promotional messaging, or branding, or create experiential environments with large, custom printed wall murals on the inside or outside of their store.
  • Wall Sticker Application: Adhesive backed wall stickers can be easy to apply and remove without damaging walls when printed on removable or repositionable wall vinyl. Of course this depends on the size of the decals and the installers comfortability and experience applying vinyl. More aggressive or permanent adhesive wall decals should be applied by a professional installer, as pulling the graphic off following a mistake can damage the walls. For a simple visual guide on how to apply wall decals, check out the variety of free Youtube resources available. To hire a professional wall vinyl installer in New York City, contact Unique Visuals today!

Custom Window Stickers and Window Decals

Window stickers and window decals are a popular solution for retailers, branded company vehicles, offices, commercial spaces, and more. Window decals can be printed on opaque, perforated, or kiss cut vinyl material allowing different levels of viewing from inside and outside of the building or space. Furthermore, they can be cut from pre-colored sign vinyl or custom printed any color needed with properly color matched prints.

  • Uses: As mentioned above, window decals are used for an extremely wide variety of applications. Service companies can add window decals to their vehicle fleets printed with their business contact and service information. Event producers use window stickers to attract attention, draw crowds, and create experiential environments. In New York City, retailers count on window graphics to present promotions and sales, create attractive window branding that highlights their marketing initiatives and new products, or use printed vinyl to create privacy. Corporate offices, residential and commercial leasing offices, and commercial developments will use window graphics to highlight their property’s amenities, announce upcoming or newly opened facilities, or create privacy for their workers and tenants with perforated window vinyl that still allows sunlight to come in to the space.
  • Trendy Window Decal Ideas: For corporate office window branding, frosted and dusted window vinyl, commonly referred to as distraction banding or privacy film, offers privacy for interior office spaces while presenting a modern and professional look. Meanwhile, retailers in New York are turning to second surface window graphics which are mounted on the inside of their windows, protecting them from vandalism and sun exposure.
  • Window Decal Application: Window stickers are generally applied using water and squeegees, allowing installers to reposition the material before it fully adheres to the glass or acrylic surface. Contour cut, kiss cut, and die-cut window graphics come with a transfer paper that pulls the individual letters or images off of the backer paper and allows users to install graphics without any vinyl connecting them. Window decals can be installed either inside or outside of the windows, with second surface window decals typically printed in reverse, or mirrored, with the adhesive on the front of them so the image will be visible and right-reading from outside.
pandora contour cut decals retail window graphic rollout

Searching for custom printed window stickers or business window decals in NYC? Looking for window sticker printing companies near me? Unique Visuals is the go to window decal printer in New York!

Application Techniques: How to Apply Vinyl Stickers and Decals

  1. Surface Preparation
    • To ensure your wall sticker, window decal, or custom printed decal is applied without bubbles or dust underneath, clean the surface thoroughly to remove dust, dirt, and oils. Use a mild soap and water solution or isopropyl alcohol for best results. Proper surface preparation will ensure your custom printed sticker lasts as long as it should and doesn’t have any defects from debris.
    • For large, permanent wall murals, surfaces should be brought to a Level 5 finish and painted with multiple coats of semigloss paint or primer to promote the best adhesion. If you are painting the wall surface, make sure to do so at minimum 3-5 days prior to putting up your sticker to allow the paint or primer to outgas, otherwise bubbling may occur over time under your vinyl.
  2. Application Methods
    • Dry Application: Dry application methods for vinyl stickers are generally used for wall decals and on surfaces that are difficult to adhere to. Peel the backing paper from your vinyl and apply the sticker directly to the surface. Use a squeegee or credit card to smooth out air bubbles.
    • Wet Application: Wet adhesive vinyl application can be used when applying stickers to metals, plastics, and glass surfaces. Spray the surface with a mixture of water and a few drops of dish soap. This allows you to reposition the decal before it fully adheres. Once in place, use a squeegee to remove excess water and air bubbles.
  3. Curing Time
    • Allow the adhesive to cure for at least 24 hours before exposing the sticker or decal to elements like water or heavy handling.

While small stickers and decals are generally easy to install without experience, novice installers will likely have trouble with larger stickers, die-cut or kiss cut vinyl decals, and stickers mounted to textured surfaces. If you’re looking for a vinyl decal installer in Manhattan or New York, contact Unique Visuals to hire one of our professional vinyl installers.

articulating boom exterior wall mural installation

Sticker Design and Printing Process

Sticker Design Considerations: FAQs

  • What Resolution (DPI) Should My Sticker Print File Be?
    • For optimal quality, ensure smaller designs are sent at high-resolution, ideally 150 dpi or higher, for crisp and vivid prints.
    • For large sticker prints such as large wall murals and window decals, where files cannot be sent at 100% scale, the resolution should be higher to ensure the best quality. We recommend 300 dpi for anything sent at less than full scale.
  • What Size or Proportion Should My Sticker Files Be For Printing?
    • Depending on the design program you’re using, some programs like Adobe Illustrator will only allow you to create artwork up to a certain size. If you cannot provide your files at 100% scale, we recommend sending them at 50%, 25% or 10% scale depending on the size of the graphic.
    • When printers and designers refer to scale, they are referring to the final size of the desired graphic. For example, 100% scale means the graphic file is at the exact size needed, while a graphic sent to 25% scale would need to be expanded 400% or 4X the size to get to the desired final dimension.
  • File Formats: Use vector files (AI, EPS, SVG) for scalability or high-resolution raster files (PNG, JPEG, TIFF) for detailed images.
  • Color Profiles: Stick to CMYK color profiles for print accuracy. If your company has a custom PMS color, notify your printer during prepress to ensure the colors are matched properly.

Sticker and Decal Printing Methods

  • Digital Sticker Printing: Best for small to medium runs and allows for full-color designs with gradients and fine details.
  • Large Format Sticker Printing: Best for large stickers such as wall murals and full coverage window stickers. Large format printers can print adhesive vinyl up to 63″ wide which can be seamed together to create graphics of any size.
  • Screen Printed Stickers: Ideal for larger runs with limited colors. Provides a vibrant and durable print and is more cost-effective than other options when done in bulk.
  • Offset Sticker Printing: Used for very high-volume orders of small stickers. Offers excellent color accuracy and consistency.

    Sticker Customization and Personalization

    • Personal Projects: Custom stickers and decals can be used for scrapbooking, laptop decorations, wall decor, and personalized gifts.
    • Business Branding: Use branded stickers for packaging, giveaways, and promotional events. They are a cost-effective way to enhance brand visibility.


    Adhesive vinyl stickers and decals are incredibly versatile and can be tailored to fit a wide range of applications. Whether for personal use or business purposes, understanding the sticker material types, uses, and application techniques can help you make the most of these creative tools. Investing in high-quality design and printing ensures that your stickers and decals not only look great but also last longer, making a lasting impression.

    To get started on your sticker project today or to get expert recommendations, contact Unique Visuals and speak with one of our experienced sticker printing professionals!


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