Stickers vs. Labels: What’s the Difference – 2024 Review

The terms stickers and labels are often used interchangeably. After all, they’re both sticky and made to be stuck on things. The majority of people are not even aware they are different. Until they get into a conversation with someone who knows and starts correcting them. It’s the moment you find out you’ve been living in ignorance; completely unaware the difference even exists. In some languages, it is even impossible to google the difference.

Both stickers and labels tend to come on rolls of vinyl or paper. However, there are a number of differences between them. But what’s the difference between stickers and labels?

The Key Attributes of Labels

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Labels may come on sheets or rolls. Sheet labels are designed to be applied by hand. The classic sheet of address labels falls into this category. Roll labels can be applied by hand or by machine. Shipping labels applied by a machine as the box is sealed fall into this category. Sticker labels like you can find on can carry your brand’s logo or other graphics. Use them to reinforce the seal on your outgoing shipments or use them to add a personalized touch too generic shipping materials at an affordable price.

Labels are generally thinner than stickers. They’re designed for quick and easy peeling from the waxed paper or vinyl sheet that protects it. Labels generally aren’t intended for long-term use. For example, labels identifying products as organic, child-safe, or on sale are only intended to last until the person takes the product home. The only exception would be the packaging labels themselves.

On the other hand, you can order blank labels on sheets and rolls. You could print your address on them on a home or corporate printer. Or you could create blank labels that are filled in as required. The classic example would be the “Hello, my name is” labels handed out at meetings.

The Key Attributes of Stickers

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Stickers are made from thicker material. They’re designed to stand on their own. It might be stuck on a box, but it can also withstand being attached to the back of a car, laptop computer, or window.

Stickers are normally individually cut. They are less likely to come on a roll. Instead, there are many individual squares stacked in the box, each containing a single sticker. This allows you to give each sticker to a separate person, and they can put it where they want it. This is why “swag” stickers are not labels, though they may be called such. A lot of stickers are made with UV varnish or laminate, so they won’t fade over time. That’s true whether the sticker is promoting a cause or promoting your favorite music label.

You can buy custom stickers or mass-produced stickers, but stickers are far more likely to be customized. For example, the boldly colored band stickers handed out or sold to fans at a concert are always custom ordered. Part of the confusion between stickers and labels is the fact that you could go into stationery stores and buy rainbow or heart stickers on rolls, though that technically makes them labels. Die-cut stickers that are cut to size and often come in a custom shape are always stickers.

If you want to give out swag stickers, we’d recommend ordering kiss-cut stickers. This manufacturing method leaves the paper backing intact. You can print your company’s website or contact information on the edge of the paper and around the sticker. Now it is like a business card, except it is more exciting.

Still Confused About The Difference? Maybe this will help…

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If you still find yourself slightly confused about the differences, maybe this will help you understand better. Aside from viewing it from the perspective of key attributes, it is always useful to consult dictionaries, which is something younger generations forgot to use. Can’t blame them for living in the modern age.

Anyways, according to the online dictionary when you type in “sticker” the result you get is connected to the personality or a character trait, saying it is a person who likes to stick to things… It also gives a more logical explanation that stickers are often illustrated and therefore used for promotion purposes. Sometimes they can be included in some kind of a package, but most commonly they are handed out to people as a part of promotional campaigns. Having meaningful quotes on them, or just having fun illustrations for decorative purposes. What is also characteristic for them is that they are not used for permanent attachment, but they are removable.

What the dictionary says about the labels though, is they are used for more serious purposes, such as marking the manufacturer of a product, identification number, nature of a product, or ownership. It comes with a product to specify or emphasize certain characteristics, such as eco-friendly, or organic, or EU approved, and so on. Because of the fact they are made thinner, they’re used for production purposes (packaging). Therefore, the easiest way to recognize it’s a label is based on its purpose – it’s used for businesses. They are not made to be removed, but to stay and tell a story about the product to anyone interested in using it.

Why Is It Important To Understand The Difference?

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Well, first of all, it could be to simply satisfy your curiosity.

Second, for those just starting out their business, it is necessary to understand the difference, for practical purposes. Not that someone will blame you for not knowing, because these two have quite similar meanings sometimes. Based on the product or service your business intends to launch, you’ll know whether you’ll be needing stickers or labels, or both.

There’s no need to overburden yourself with these things, since printing shops can always help you decide what you need, again, based on the purpose. Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to printing shops is to consider the quality they offer. The quality of the product or a campaign will largely be judged based on the sticker and label quality.

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