Everything You Need to Know About Stickers and Labels

Written By: Matt Clark | Article Date: November 10, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Stickers and Labels

Turn Your Brand Into a Complete Package With Stickers and Labels

Building a brand that sticks to the minds of customers isn’t as complicated as many might think. Sometimes, the simplest tools can be efficient in creating brand awareness. Take it from Reddit, a company that printed $500 worth of stickers to promote their media site.

Alexis Ohanian, Reddit’s co-founder, calls stickers the “currency for startups.” This humble investment led to greater opportunities for the company. Now, Reddit is a billion-dollar brand with users all around the globe.

That’s only one success story. For sure, there are many other businesses like PrintRunner customer Matt Campana of Legendary Coffee that is enjoying success in their little way thanks to old-school marketing.

Wondering what stickers and labels can do for your business? In this article, we’ll talk about the different ways you can use these tools for business. Additionally, we will walk you through how you can create eye-catching stickers and labels that will help make your message last a lifetime.

What’s the Difference Between Stickers and Labels?

Stickers and labels are often used interchangeably to describe an adhesive piece of paper with a design. Although they may look similar and use the same materials, they differ in how and where they are used:

Labels identify and provide information about a product. They are usually applied to product packaging, but they can also be used to warn people or direct foot traffic.

On the other hand, stickers are used to promote a brand or advocate for a cause. Unlike labels, stickers can be sold as the product themselves.

Perhaps the biggest differentiator of the two is their destination. Labels have a clear endpoint (e.g., wrapped around a water bottle), while stickers may have different stops depending on the user (e.g., on a laptop or skateboard).

Despite the differences, stickers and labels are effective tools in promoting a brand. They also come in a variety of materials and formats to suit a variety of needs.

Different Ways to Use Stickers and Labels for Business

In this era of digital marketing, traditional promotional tools are still effective in spreading the word about a company. No matter what industry you’re in, stickers and labels can help you reach more customers and make more sales. Here are some ways you can incorporate these sticky tools in your marketing:

Product Packaging

Let’s say you’re shopping for cat food. What’s the first thing that you look for? For most customers, it’s the brand they are most familiar with. But what if your product is new to the playing field? The customer will most likely look at the label first before deciding to buy. You can use labels to introduce your brand to new customers and reinforce familiarity among those who are still on the fence.

In the same way, stickers can help make your brand recognizable among customers. Adding stickers as freebies can help widen your reach when customers put them on their cars, helmets, or laptops. If you have minimalist packaging, adding stickers can make any box or pouch look distinct.


Products on retail shelves compete for customers’ attention. One way to stand out is to create labels that grab people’s attention. Even with minimalist packaging, your brand can rise above the competition with thoughtfully designed stickers and labels.

Shipping is also an opportunity to make a mark for your business. Blank shipping boxes can be eye-catching by adding sticker seals with personalized messages. These simple touches will make unboxing truly memorable.

Community Building and Advocacy

The ‘I Voted’ sticker is a common sight during election day. This badge of pride was used to increase voter turnout and to bring a sense of community among voters. People display their stickers to show that they’ve performed their civic duty and nudge those who are hesitant to take a stand. Similarly, the CDC released printable sticker templates to encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

In these scenarios, stickers play an important role in advocating a good cause. You can do the same for your brand or organization by handing out stickers to customers or including them in every purchase.

Expert Advice for Designing Stickers and Labels

You already have an idea of how you will use stickers and labels for marketing. The next step for you is to create a design that will best represent your business.

Before you begin, here are some factors that you need to consider before putting pen on paper. After all, these sticky tools are only good if you have a sound strategy behind them.

1. Brand Identity

It is common for companies to think that a logo is enough to make their business stand out. While a logo is important for branding, it is just a part of a bigger picture. Your brand identity encompasses many different aspects:

  • Logo – The logo is the first thing that people notice in a product. It needs to be memorable, so customers can easily associate your business with a positive experience. Since it’s the part of your branding that’s exposed the most, the logo needs to be consistent whether you put it on a banner or a sticker.
  • Colors – Picking the ideal color palette is both science and art. Some colors may be more suitable for your brand than others. A good rule of thumb is to choose up to three colors (Google is an exception because it uses four). From those colors, you can choose the tints, shades, and tones to complement your primary colors. Not sure which colors to use? The Psychology of Color should give you an idea of what palette to use for your brand.
  • Typography – Like colors, typography should work in harmony to create a solid brand identity. Sometimes, you can use fonts to create iconic logos that stand the test of time. Think of Disney and Coca-Cola. If you want to use more than one font, keep in mind the best typeface combinations.
  • Message – The copy for your stickers and labels is just as important as the visual design. Your message doesn’t have to be a full sentence—a single word can sometimes communicate more effectively than a string of sentences. On the flip side, not having any copy to accompany the design may work just as well.

2. Placement

Where you put your stickers and labels will have an impact on its design. A car sticker needs to be big enough, so it’s visible even when the vehicle is moving. It also needs to be waterproof so that the design won’t fade in the rain. White vinyl is a good choice here because it is weather-resistant. This material is also perfect for water bottle labels.

3. Format

Stickers and labels come in different formats: cut-to-size, roll, die-cut, and sheets. The format you choose depends on how you want to apply the sticker or label and the quantity required. For large volume applications, we recommend roll stickers and labels. These can be applied with an automatic label applicator for efficiency.

4. Printing Requirements

Before you create your design, get acquainted with the technical requirements of your chosen online printing company. Image resolutions, color modes (CMYK is preferred), and safety and bleed lines are important to know before creating your design.

Design Tools to Use

The great thing about designing custom labels and stickers is that you don’t need to be a design pro to create brilliant artwork. These software programs can help you create designs fast:

  • Microsoft Word – This word-processing software is made not just for writing. With different sticker and label templates to choose from, you can create simple attractive designs that you can save as PDF (our recommended file format). The templates in MS Word are free to use. However, you need a subscription to use all features.
  • Adobe Creative Suite – Working with a designer means your artwork will look professional and polished. Adobe lets you edit images, create unique layouts, and build an exclusive color palette. You can also add different shapes and use textures to make your design stand out. Like Microsoft Word, the Adobe Creative Suite is a paid program. It may be a huge investment for your business, but this design tool guarantees that your stickers and labels look eye-catching.
  • PrintRunner’s Online Design Tool – Free to use, our online design tool gives you the freedom to create beautiful artwork even if you don’t have any design experience. You can upload images from your computer or use any image from our library of stock photos (paid). The tool is preset to your product specifications, so you don’t have to manually input the dimensions. Best of all, you have the option to have your file reviewed by our print specialists. You will receive a free PDF proof that shows any technical adjustments and recommendations that our team may have.

Choose PrintRunner

Promote your business more effectively by custom printing stickers and labels with PrintRunner. You can start any project easily by using one of our downloadable templates. Custom stickers and labels are ready for shipping in one to eight business days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between cut-to-size and kiss-cut labels?
Cut-to-size labels are die-cut, which means that they are printed and cut in the exact shape that you want. Kiss-cut labels are also printed in the exact shape that you want, but they have an extra paper backing that makes them easier to peel.

Can I print in custom shapes?
Yes, stickers and labels are available in a variety of custom shapes that you can use to make your products distinct.

Do you offer bulk printing?
Yes, we offer bulk printing for most of our products. Just select the quantity from the dropdown. If your desired quantity is not available on the website, please contact us at 1-888-296-5760 and we’ll help you with your order.

Do black and white stickers cost less than full-colored ones?
All our stickers cost the same regardless of the number of colors you use.

Are the materials writable?
Only our white paper sticker (gloss and matte) is writable. We recommend using a permanent marker and allowing sufficient drying time after writing.