What makes screen print stickers so special?

You’ve heard of screen printing, right? Maybe you ordered t-shirts for your small business or side-hobby? Chances are good those shirts were screen printed. Well, the same concept can be used to print stickers too!

What is screen printing?

Screen printing is an old-school print method where a squeegee is used to push ink through a mesh template, called a screen. That template is created from the design of the artwork and only allows ink to pass through in the exact spot to be printed. Each color of the design requires a different screen.

As a result, multi-color designs become labor intensive works of art.

Why is screen printing not as popular for stickers anymore?

Screen printing equipment is expensive. The process is labor-intensive. The setup costs are high. The type of supplies needed are cumbersome and feel out-dated. Simply put, there are easier ways to produce an acceptable product.

But, easy isn’t always better. That saying is absolutely true when talking about stickers and decals.

How did digital print stickers become so popular

Digital printing

On the lower end of the spectrum, digital print equipment is inexpensive and accessible to mom-and-pop shops and garage sticker makers. On the high end, this equipment has a print resolution and print speed that is astounding.

What gets lost in a digital print world?

Screen printing gives colors a richness that can’t be achieved any other way. The bold glossy colors and texture of the ink deposit are fascinating. Screening a print helps the images come to life.

Digital printing and screen printing can coexist

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Traditional manufacturers, outside reps, and pitfalls

In the old days, traditional manufacturing companies were really good at producing products but did not have the sales knowledge or customer service skills to properly service customers. As a result, manufacturers hired a team of manufacturer’s reps and outside brokers to focus on sales and customer service so the manufacturer could focus on the product.

While well-intentioned, this model created an extra layer of markup between the customer and manufacturer, ultimately leading to a higher cost product. Further, communication was stiffiled with extra people in the process.

Comgraphx created a better way: Working directly with the manufacturer

What if stickers and decals could be purchased directly from the manufacturer, but with a better buying experience? What if the account executive was super knowledgeable about the product and didn’t rely on a customer service team to “handle the details?” What if the product pricing model was reflected through this direct-to-consumer mindset?

Those questions are what drove us to create a phenomenal buying experience for world-class brands and businesses. We have designed a customer-friendly sales model that makes it possible to order a custom manufactured product with the same user experience you expect from other products.

As a result, you benefit through incredible pricing, quick turn times, and simplified communication.

Product of the month: Transparent Ink Stickers

Have you ever seen a sticker that made you do a double-take? The type of product that seems new, fresh, modern, and quite different from other stickers?

That’s exactly what a transparent ink sticker will do for your brand decals. This specialty product takes a normal sticker and elevates it to a new level using specialty inks and creative art prior to printing.

Transparent ink is printed on a silver metallic material. Because the ink is transparent, the reflective nature of the metallic material shines through and gives the color a flash of eye-catching pop.

This type of decal is a great addition to your standard die cut stickers. Use it as a special one-time promotion or offer it for sale in your retail store. Because of the higher-end look, customers can’t wait to get their hands on this product!

Transparent ink stickers are the sticker of the month for September 2020. If you are interested in creating one of these stickers using your logo stickers, contact your AE! Or fill out our online quote form to get a quote within 30 minutes (during normal business hours). We are offering 10% off all new transparent ink stickers with the discount code TRASNPARENT10.

Happy sticker designing!

Weatherproof stickers are well worth the money

weatherproof stickers on a car window

Stickers are a fun way to gain brand exposure at events.

Promotional stickers are passed out at events worldwide as a fun, lighthearted giveaway item. This cheap marketing tool is universally loved and fun to pass out. Stickers also represent your brand in meaningful ways. When high-quality materials are used, stickers provide an incredible return on investment.

Indoor labels are very different from outdoor stickers

Paper is a material used for consumer product labels on products like soap, shampoo, candles, hand sanitizer, and food packaging. As an inexpensive material, paper labels are perfect for high-volume indoor consumer products. Because they aren’t likely to come in contact with water, rain, or wind, these labels will look good for the life of the product.

Contrary to that, outdoor stickers are free giveaways from brands or cutesy, fun designs purchased from a retail or online store. These stickers are used to express our personality and show brand loyalty. Laptops, water bottles, car windows, and toolboxes are popular places to put outdoor stickers. Because of the harsh environment and outdoor elements, it’s very important the stickers are made to last.

The print process and printing inks are also big factors in outdoor stickers.

Check out this picture. It was printed on a flexo press, which is traditionally used for paper product labels. When the label was first printed, it looked great! The colors were rich and vibrant.

indoor label prior to sun exposure and fading
label looks great prior to sun exposure!

We placed this label in the sun, and after only 40 days, the label showed significant fading! Check out this picture for comparison.

flexo printed label after being exposed to the sun for 40 days!
After 40 days of sun exposure, the colors are faded and washed out.

This label looks like it’s 5 years old! What a poor reflection of the brand and the quality of products they make.

You work so hard to build your brand – it’s not worth a few dollars of savings to destroy it in 40 days. Weatherproof stickers from Comgraphx are well worth the money!

Use Stickers to Provide a Branded Packaging Experience

Since the retail landscape has changed drastically over the past decade. Using stickers to provide a branded packaging experience is a excellent way to get your brand out there. Big-box retailers no longer dominate the shopping experience, keeping the weekend entrepreneur from selling products to consumers. Etsy, shopify, ebay, and others have allowed boutique brands a place to sell their product direct-to-the-consumer and create viable businesses.

The new retail landscape and the rise of new brands competing for your dollar, has made it more important than ever to find clever ways to help your brand be remembered.

What is a Branded Packaging Experience?

A new trend in the online shopping experience is to provide your customers with an unboxing experience that sets your brand apart from competitors. An obvious example of this experience is Apple with its well-designed and sleek packaging. The unboxing experience creates excitement about the new product, to the extent people post youtube videos showing the experience. Talk about every marketers dream!

Your boutique brand should create a similar experience for your customers. You can use stickers to create this experience for your customers. There are several different ways to do this.

How Can I Use Stickers to Create a Branded Packaging Experience?

Use stickers and labels in several different ways to draw attention to your brand. Some brands will use multiple techniques, while others choose the one that brings them the most bang for their buck.

Box Stickers and Labels Give Your Box a Brand

The worst thing you can do is ship a plain brown box to your customers. Stickers are an inexpensive way to draw attention to your package and create excitement about the product inside. You can use fun colors or funny sayings to get your brand remembered.

Receipt Label or Packaging Closure Label

You can use an inexpensive paper label to attach the receipt or brand card to the contents or bag. This will ensure the return info or social media connection info doesn’t get lost in the unboxing experience. It is also one more opportunity to get your brand in front of the customer.

Sticker Sheet Insert

Stickers need to represent your brand. But stickers also need to be designed to be used. Providing your customers with a sticker sheet, you are giving them multiple opportunities to use your brand on their gear. Think about the endless options: water bottle stickers, phone stickers, car stickers, laptop stickers, etc. Giving the customer multiple sticker options with varying designs, shapes, sizes, etc., there’s a good chance the stickers will be used. In contrast, if you only give them one option and they don’t like the size or shape, it will go in the trash.

Use the back of the sticker sheet (sometimes called a sticker backprint) to communicate important info about your brand! It’s a two for one special.

Cool Die Cut Stickers Included With The Product

Die cut stickers are cool. Including multiple die cut stickers in a package provides the same experience as the kiss cut sticker sheet. It’s just in a different format. Die cut stickers get noticed more because of their unique shapes.

Whichever product(s) is right for your brand is dependent on your marketing team’s brand strategy. We would be more than happy to discuss different options or provide you with mockups to help your team make a decision. Best of luck stickering.

Sticker Sheets are Perfect For Online Brands

A sticker sheet is a group of kiss cut stickers nicely organized on a rectangular backing sheet. This product is a great way for online brands to conveniently distribute multiple sticker designs to customers. They are easy to throw in the box during shipping or give away next to the register. Your brand will get noticed and your customers will love this product!

What are the benefits of sticker sheets?

There are several benefits of kiss cut sheets.

First, the sticker sheet make distribution a breeze. There’s no need to mess with bagging your stickers because they are all printed on a single sheet.

Sticker sheets serve multiple purposes when you print on the back of the sticker. The throw-away paper liner is the perfect place to put your company info, return policy, customer service info, social media engagement, etc. This keeps you from putting an extra marketing sheet in the box!

Who should use sticker sheets?

Sticker sheets are a very powerful tool for online (ecommerce) retailers. These relatively new (and innovative) companies are competing in a highly competitive retail market. The products they sell are manufactured by a different brand. Therefore, it’s easy to forget about the retailer after the sale is complete. The sticker sheet plays a vital role in creating brand loyalty back towards the retailer.

In addition, sticker sheets should be used by any company who wants to create loyalty and passion for their brand. Use this marketing tool as an opportunity to turn your company into a lifestyle brand. Your customers will have an extra incentive to buy from you.

How do I design a sticker sheet?

Designing a sticker sheet is a complicated task! There are several stickers that all have to fit on one sheet. Plus, you can use the blank space for extra marketing material. Check out our post on designing effective sticker sheets!

What material is best for custom sticker sheets?

Vinyl is the most cost effective material for sticker sheets, but mutlple materials will work. Experiment with a shiny silver sticker sheet or a clear sticker.

Don’t forget about social media

Your sticker sheet is the perfect place to remind your customers to connect on social media. Use a Tag & Win strategy to encourage your customers to tag you with a picture of their stickers. This is a great way to get your brand noticed with new potential customers.

Watch the video and give us a call today!

What’s the best sticker material for your project?

Selecting the right sticker material for your project is an overwhelming task. How are you supposed to know what material works best? And shouldn’t the printer be able to pick the best material for the job? Let’s take a look at the top material types and where they should be used. 

The top 7 types of sticker materials:

  1. Vinyl Outdoor Stickers – white and clear.
  2. Polyester High Performance materials – white, clear and silver.
  3. Static cling! Available in white or clear.
  4. Paper and various specialty papers
  5. BOPP label material.
  6. Crazy fun specialty materials.
  7. Laminates.

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Let's check out some of the pros and cons of the different types of materials.

We are more than happy to recommend a sticker material for your project. We know what substrates work best and give your brand the best look. Some applications are a little more technical and we recommend testing a couple different options to make sure the final choice is correct.

There are tons of different materials and adhesives available and we will help you sort through the options. If you want to know all of the details, we’ll spill the beans. However, if you want beautiful looking stickers without too many questions, we’re more than happy to keep the details to ourselves.

Vinyl is the Most Widely Used Sticker Material

The most common and versatile sticker material is the classic vinyl sticker. This material comes in white and clear and will work for most applications. It is weather-proof and is excellent for outdoor durability. Vinyl is the best choice for bulk stickers.

Common vinyl stickers are 3 mil to 4 mil in thickness and have a soft, pliable feel. The soft feel of vinyl helps the sticker conform to rounded surfaces like a hard hat. This material is naturally matte before it’s printed.

Above all, vinyl stickers are the most used in the industry and make great marketing giveaways.

Use Polyester Stickers for Technical Applications

Polyester is another common sticker material. It is the best choice for heavy duty equipment decals and other industrial applications. This material will stand up well to high temperatures and will work great for water heater decals or under the hood stickers. Polyester comes in white, clear, silver, and other fun finishes like brushed chrome. It makes for an excellent long-term durable decal because of its resistance to heat and abrasion.

Polyester sticker material is 2 mil thick, making it substantially thinner than the vinyl decals. The thickness (or relative thinness) of the material has no bearing on the durability of the sticker. Polyester material is a more long-term product than a vinyl sticker.

Polyester is a glossy and almost pearlescent material . Some brands prefer the upscale look of polyester and ask specifically for a polyester sticker!

Try a bright silver reflective sticker for some added flair!

The bright silver reflective decal is one of our personal favorites. This material is almost reflective (not to be confused with the reflective material used in traffic signs) and can look cool when using matte inks.

Want something cool and unique? Take your traditional vinyl sticker and print it on shiny silver material! It’s a great way to mix up your decal offering and give your customers something new. Consider a one-time specialty decal or free giveaway for your top customers. This sticker material will bring attention to your brand.

Silver reflective material is made of polyester and is 2 mil in thickness. Because of the durability of polyester, silver chrome stickers last a long time outside! It’s also an economical choice for wholesale bulk stickers.

Go crazy with specialty materials for a unique look

There are tons of other specialty materials in addition to the options above. Combine your creative artwork with special pattern materials that will be a hit with your customers and make your sticker stand out. These are perfect for events or limited use decals and keep your brand fresh and innovative while also providing your customers with options!

Laminate. Yes or No?

Laminates are a touchy subject with printers. One printer is telling you the laminate is necessary to protect the inks from weather. However, the other printer will tell you the sticker does not need a laminate for protection. And the laminate will only add unnecessary cost and environmental waste to the job.

The equipment the printer uses will determine their opinion on whether or not your sticker needs a laminate. For instance, some equipment requires a laminate to protect the sticker during outdoor use. Other equipment is made to print inks that withstand the outdoor elements.

All the equipment we use is suited for outdoor use. The inks we print do not fade or scratch off after exposure to the sun, wind, or rain. Therefore, we believe laminates are not necessary to achieve a quality sticker.

In conclusion, we offer laminates as an option because some brands enjoy the look of a quality laminate.They transform the sticker. A matte finish will add an interesting element. While a glossy laminate will provide depth to the design.

Our sticker samples will help you decide which material is best for your brand

Request a free sample pack to check out the various material options for yourself!

Ready to get started with your own brand stickers? Get an instant quote on die cut stickers!

How Long Do Stickers Last?

Outdoor stickers are designed to last 3-5 years without any noticeable ink fading or material deterioration. The actual sticker lifespan is influenced by several factors. The sticker material, ink, application surface, and geographical location are all contributing factors in the lifespan.

The type of material and ink are the two biggest factors in a sticker’s lifespan.

Vinyl is the most commonly used base material for outdoor stickers. The material is made to last outdoors for several years, with constant exposure to the elements. Some vinyl materials will even last upwards of 7-10 years! That’s really important for transportation decals such as boats, trucks, and RV graphics. Vinyl is well known for its ability to conform to a number of curved or rounded surfaces, which is why it’s the most commonly used. The versatility of vinyl can’t be topped!

Polyester is another commonly used outdoor sticker material. This material is great for high-temperature applications like under the hood, or heavy-duty equipment like tractors and lawnmowers. Polyester has an even longer outdoor lifespan than vinyl and is better for the environment!

Ink Quality

There are many different types of ink that can be used to print stickers. Comgraphx uses UV inks which are very strong and hold up to the fading effects from the sun. The amount of pigment in all ink types determine how long stickers last without fading. Printers using solvent based inks have a disadvantage because most of what makes up solvent based inks must evaporate for the ink to dry. UV inks cure when exposed to UV light and retain their structure, nothing evaporates leaving the ink to stay strong.

Material Quality

We can print on many different materials from chrome to vinyl and anything in between. The material your sticker is printed on has a lot to do with how long your decal will last. Obviously, paper stickers will absorb moisture and flake off when exposed to the elements. If you want your sticker to hold up ask yourself, how long do I want my stickers to last before deciding on what material to use.

Printing Process

We use screen printing, flexographic printing and digital printing to print your stickers. All three of our printing processes use UV inks. Each process lays down different thicknesses of ink and therefore, provide different colorfast longevities. The thicker the ink deposit the more resistant to fading the ink will be. Flexographic printing lays down a very thin coat of ink allowing for higher line screens to be produced and high-fidelity print quality. Screen printing lays down the most ink providing the most longevity and digital printing is between the two in both fidelity of image and how long stickers last.

Overview:

Hopefully this gives you an idea of where to start with how long you need your stickers to last in the sun. Talking about materials can give you an idea of how inferior materials can save you money in the short run but may not be the best choice if you need durability. Finally, you don’t have to choose other printers because we provide the best of all three printing processes when it comes to printing your stickers. Check out our video on “How Long Stickers Last”.

How Sticker Marketing Works

Comgraphx has been screen printing stickers since 1973 and we’ve learned through the years how sticker marketing works. We’ve helped build companies, build brands and our stickers have been starting conversations about those companies for as many years as we’ve been printing them. That is what stickers do, they start conversations and get people thinking about your brand.

Not just for bumpers anymore

One answer to how sticker marketing works is the classic bumper sticker that you see on car windows instead of bumpers these days. The great thing about stickers is, they can go anywhere. We now see stickers showing up on Yeti Cups, Ice Chests, laptops, iPhones and pretty much anywhere you can think of. Why? Because sticker marketing works!

Music Stickers Rock!

I went to my local Guitar Center last week and when I got out of my truck, I looked up and, on the building, there were about 150 different stickers. There were local bands, local radio stations and even dealer stickers like ESP Guitars and Ernie Ball stickers! I was going to buy strings for my bass guitar and after seeing the Ernie Ball strings sticker on the outside, my eyes went straight to the Ernie Ball strings display when I walked in the door. That’s how sticker marketing works, it gets your product out there, in some of the most unexpected places.

Word-Of-Mouth

The Nielsen studies report that 90% of people trust word of mouth recommendations from people they know. How sticker marketing works is creating conversations and those conversations go something like this.

“Cool sticker, where’d you get it? – Oh man, I bought this monthly subscription to (_insert your company_) and they sent this sticker to me for free! – Really? How do I sign up for this thing?”

You want to be that guy…

It seems too good to be true, but it is that simple. That is how sticker marketing works all the time. Think of your friends, think of their laptop or Ice Chest. Do they have stickers on them? How about you? Do you use stickers on the stuff you carry around? If not, wouldn’t you like to be that person? Wouldn’t you like to show off your companies’ newest product, or build your follower base by creating a “TAG AND WIN” contest? Instead of looking for new customers wouldn’t it be nice if they came looking for you? That’s how sticker marketing works and that’s why you can’t ignore sticker marketing!

Click on our “Free Samples” to get your own stickers going on in your life and give us a call for a free quote on building your company’s sticker marketing campaign.

Printed Coaster for Christmas

Christmas Printed Coaster

Here at Comgraphx we are already gearing up for Christmas 2020 and the “in” thing will be Christmas Printed Coaster!  We already print your favorite coasters with your brand displayed proudly. Now we want you to think outside the box with “Christmas Coasters” for your brand. There are already lots of companies using these as self-promotion as part of their marketing plan. In addition to your sticker marketing package, add the Christmas Coasters next year.

From Printed Coaster to Ornament

How do we convert a traditional beer coaster to an ornament? … one might ask. In this blog I’ll go through the process. We’ve also created a fun little video to show just how easy the transformation can be.

Material

We start with a thin – strong – absorbent material that works fantastic for coasters. Ours are super user friendly and if you slightly miss when you sit your drink down it isn’t so thick that it pours your drink all over everything.

Printing

We can screen print your coasters for super durability and we can digitally print anything you’d like if you’re going for high detail or more than 3 or 4 colors. Both processes use UV inks which stand up to liquids and will not run when exposed to moisture nor will it fade away to nothingness.

The Conversion

The conversion from beer coaster to ornament is seamless. We already have a die in house that we’ll use to cut your stock circle shape. Then we use a second die that creates the handy hole in the top of your ornament. Our standard is to ship 6” strips of ribbon with your order but we can get creative with that as well or you can use your own method of hanging your new ornaments.

Give us a call and let’s get started on this fun project together.

 

How to Create Fonts to Outlines

In our art specifications we mention that we either need the font or your fonts must be converted to outlines. This video is a tutorial on how to create fonts to outlines using Adobe Illustrator on a Mac. It’s not very hard at all, so anyone with Adobe Illustrator should be able to do it.

 

Today I am going to show you how to create type to outline. The first thing you have to start with is something that is actually a font. I selected this font that is cartoon like. If you highlight everything and go under “type” create outlines is not an option. So you have to select it with one of the arrow tools. Any of the three will work. Once you have that selected, go into “Type” and then you have the option to create outlines.

Once that is done, you can’t type over it again. It’s now vector images. So each letter is a vector image. You can recolor each letter, but you can not type it. This was not selected so we can still type. That’s how you create fonts to outlines. One of the main benefits of creating fonts to outlines is you don’t have to have the fonts to support it. Thanks for watching!

 

Glitter Ink

A great thing about screen printing is the ability to print with specialty inks such as glitter ink. You can’t get the quality of this fantastic special special effect with other printing processes such as offset, or flexography. Imagine back in your school days playing with glue and glitter creating a special effect treasure at school. Then you bring it home to mom and you got glitter everywhere. You are finding glitter in places you didn’t know you had for three weeks after your arts and crafts project. Well, this is nothing like that!

How Does the Glitter Stay Where It’s Supposed to Stay?

It’s all in the ink. UV screen printing ink is in a liquid form until UV light hits the ink, curing it nearly instantly. When using the correct mesh (large enough to allow glitter ink particles through) the glitter is trapped and suspended in the ink. That’s what creates the special effect. Specialty inks aren’t necessarily something you do as a “brand guideline” unless your brands have a call for glitter special effects, such as “Glitter Girl”,  then you should use glitter ink every time you print!

What does Jurassic Park have to do with this?

Do you remember the amber stone in Jurassic Park that had the mosquito encapsulated within the fossilized tree resin? That’s what the glitter does within the UV clear ink. The ink must be somewhat transparent to allow light to enter and be reflected back from the particles suspended in it. This allows the special effect to happen.

What does it look like?

Well, a video doesn’t do it justice, but we’ve put together a short 45 second video to try and give you a visual of how the ink gives you that special effect using this specialty ink.