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Home Articles Sticker Making Stickers vs. Labels – What's the Difference?

Stickers vs. Labels – What's the Difference?

Updated 03/03/2022
Difference between stickers and labels

The two terms, "sticker" and "label," are a bit paradoxical. They're so similar yet they have distinct differences. Can they be used interchangeably? While there's no right or wrong answer, it doesn't hurt to dispel any confusion.

Let's explore accepted definitions, similarities and differences, and examples to help you differentiate each word and product. Then, keep reading for instructions on how to make your own.

Stickers

How do you think of stickers? Review the information below and see if it aligns with your perception of stickers or labels.

Definition

Cambridge Dictionary A small piece of paper with a picture or writing on one side and a sticky substance on the other
Dictionary.com A person or thing that sticks, an adhesive label
Merriam-Webster One that adheres or causes adhesion, a slip of paper with adhesive back that can be fastened to a surface
Oxford Dictionary An adhesive label or notice, generally printed or illustrated

Our Overview

Stickers are more often used for decorative or promotional purposes, and usually aren’t created with a specific destination in mind — they’re typically design-focused and adhere to smooth surfaces. Stickers are commonly printed on full sheet (8.5" x 11", or OL177) paper and given a custom shape (using an electronic cutting machine) which is usually crucial to the design.

Sticker paper doesn’t commonly feature a back slit (unless you opt for it) because if you’re using a cutting machine, the premature peeling that may occur can ruin your project. When you peel your sticker paper from your cutting machine's sticky mat, it's likely one side of the liner may separate during the process.

Examples

Grid of sticker examples From left to right, stickers by puppySHAKER!, Pocket Sushi, Manyi Au, and Jaicy Scarpitta.

How to Make Your Own

This process works best with electronic cutting machines like the Silhouette Cameo, Cricut Explore, and Brother Scan N Cut.

  1. Pick your sticker paper sheet size. If you're doing this by hand, you may want to opt for a liner with back slits. Browse all full sheet options.
  2. Select a sticker paper material.
  3. Choose your desired quantity.
  4. Complete your order.
  5. Start designing in your cutting machine's design software.
  6. Print your design. Follow these printing tips for best results.
  7. Adjust your machine to match the sticker paper cut settings.
  8. Load your printed sheet into your machine and get to cutting.
  9. Hand out as you see fit.

Labels

Read through the information below to see if your view of labels matches up with the dictionary definitions or popular uses.

Definition

Cambridge Dictionary A piece of paper or other material that gives information about the object it is attached to
Dictionary.com A slip of paper, cloth, or other material, marked or inscribed, for attachment to something to indicate its manufacturer, nature, ownership, destination, etc.
Merriam-Webster A slip (as of paper or cloth) inscribed and affixed to something for identification or description, written or printed matter accompanying an article to furnish identification or other information
Oxford Dictionary A small piece of paper, fabric, plastic, or similar material attached to an object and giving information about it

Our Overview

Labels are used for business applications such as product labeling and signage, and are created for a specific product, container, or use — these are typically information-based, have permanent or removable options, are printed on a variety of materials, and feature more aggressive adhesives that work better on trickier surfaces such as cardboard. Labels are usually printed on templates that already have the label cuts. If it’s a full sheet label, it will almost always include a back slit, or cut in the liner, which makes peeling easier.

Examples

Grid of label examples From left to right, labels by Ellen Daehnick, Danielle Centuallas, OnlineLabels.com, and Taylor Petrehn.

How to Make Your Own

  1. Pick your desired label shape and size.
  2. Select a label material.
  3. Choose your desired quantity.
  4. Complete your order.
  5. Use our free blank or pre-designed templates in Maestro Label Designer to create your design.
  6. Print your design. Read through our printing tips before getting started.
  7. Peel and apply when you're ready.

Stickers vs. Labels

Are the terms "sticker" and "label" interchangeable?

Similarities

  • They can both be printed on the same materials
  • You can create any shape
  • They can be produced in any size
  • You can order as many or as few as you want
  • They're both adhesive

Differences

Stickers Labels
Created without a specific destination in mind Created for a specific product, container, or use
Size and shape are design elements Sized to fit a specific space
More design focused More information-based
Used for decorative or promotional purposes Used for business applications
Custom shapes on either a full sheet or individually cut Comes on full sheet templates with label cuts
Printed on weatherproof materials Available as paper with different coatings
Adheres to smooth surfaces Adheres to cardboard, plastic, and many other surfaces
Non-permanent Options for permanent or removable

Note: We offer high-quality sticker paper materials at OnlineLabels.com that feature the same qualities as our label paper, with the only differences being that sticker paper is almost always a full sheet with no back slit.




While incredibly similar, labels and stickers do have their differences. Whichever you're looking to create, we're happy to help. Reach out to our customer service team if you have any questions throughout the process or browse our library of support articles for more expert tips.

Check out our selection of professionally designed pre-printed stickers and labels.


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