Guest Post: Hardhat Stickers to Equipment Decals: Construction Grade Sticker 101 from a Pro

Twelve things you need to know about stickers.

Construction loves its stickers. Hardhats, equipment, toolboxes – stickers find their way onto every corner of every job site. However, not all stickers or decals are created equally. Here are some points written by printing industry veteran, Brian Wantaja of Proven Graphics, who have printed graphic stickers for Construct Marketing and many of our clients.


Things to consider
  1. The ‘Substrate’ is the sticker material, i.e., vinyl or paper. Printing/graphics on one side, adhesive on the other. Choosing the right substrate for your stickers depends on the destination surface and environment.
  2. Material: Thicker is not always better.  For instance, many of the higher quality materials are thinner, not thicker.
  3. Buying higher quantities, to get a better unit price, may not be the best decision.  Please consider that most stickers have a shelf life.
  4. Consider what is the estimated life cycle of the surface or product to which the sticker will be applied?
    The sticker life should not extend beyond the product life.
  5. Choosing an adhesive can be a challenge.  Your sticker source can make suggestions based on your product and the destination surface and environment.
  1. What is the purpose of coating or laminate? Is laminate necessary?
    Laminate is necessary if your sticker needs to have additional scratch protection or UV protection.
  2. A pre-mask is a coating on top of the face of the sticker removed following application.  When is a premask necessary?
    Only if the size of the sticker is larger than the installer is comfortable working with.
  3. Wet install vs. dry install.  A wet install can be useful when installing on glass or other surfaces where bubbles are a problem.
Application tips
  1. Avoid trouble with bubbles during installation by using a material with a comply or removable adhesive.  In addition, handheld squeegees are another option.
  2. Clean the application surface first!  For surface preparation, do not use any cleaning products that evaporate, leaving a residue.  Rubbing alcohol is an option.
  3. Having trouble removing the paper backing?
    Place the sticker face down, and remove the paper backing, while keeping the sticker face flat.
  4. For some applications, you might have one shot at it.  Consider the application surface and discuss it with your sticker provider.

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