adhesive backed decals

Decal Options – Dozens of Ways to Stick It To Whatever

DECEMBER 12, 2019| SpeedPro of SF Peninsula

Whether promoting an upcoming sale or event, building awareness for your brand or adding a visual element to your office, decals are a great choice. Decals shaped pieces of vinyl with adhesive on one side so you can stick them to just about any surface — are versatile and low-cost. We’ve got plenty of examples of how they can be used in our portfolio.

Think of them for:

  • Walls and floors: Adding decals to the walls and floors of your facility or event can provide a short or long term solution for directions or branding.
  • Store doors and windows: Use a quality window decal at your store or office building with your business’ name and logo on it to promote brand awareness, or display a decal with your hours on it to keep customers informed.
  • Vehicles: Adding decals to your business vehicle turns your car or truck into a rolling billboard. Or, on a different level, stickers on a scooter, bike or skateboard are always in demand.
  • As gifts or freebies: Small decals make easily customizable giveaways for customers and prospects.

These are just a few of the ways you can use custom decals. Tell your local SpeedPro about your goals, and they can help you figure out the perfect place to put a decal — and the best kind of decal to use.

Types of Decal Materials


SpeedPro of SF Peninsula prints high-quality graphics on decals of nearly any shape and size. We also print on various types of vinyl and can add specialty lamination for durability or unique finishes. Let’s look at some materials we use:


Calendered vinyl is the most common and cost-effective material used for decals. This type of vinyl is thicker and sometimes more rigid than some other types of decal material, helping it last longer. Calendared vinyl is ideal for use on flat surfaces such as floors, windows, walls and more.


Cast vinyl is a more expensive and long-lasting type of vinyl that will not shrink over time. It is thin and highly flexible, but durable enough to last for years, even if used outdoors. Some cast vinyl manufactured by 3M, Oracle or Avery features air release technology in the adhesive layer — either channels or micro-dots-  that allows bubbles to escape when the material is applied. 3M’s brand of air-egress is called ControlTac, which is sometimes (mistakenly) used as a generic.


Metallic vinyl has a metallic sheen to it. This shiny, reflective material mimics the look of metal.  Like real metal, metallic vinyl is available in finishes ranging from polished, to brushed to hammered. It often comes in gold and silver, but you may also be able to purchase metallic versions of other colors as well.


Reflective vinyl reflects light when a beam directly illuminates it Due to its reflectiveness, this material is visible at night as well as during the day.  In addition to pre-colored reflectives and “conspicuity” vinyls, at SpeedPro we also can print on some reflective materials.  Needless to say, reflective vinyl is popular on emergency vehicles such as ambulances and police cruisers, but reflective decals are an excellent choice in many other circumstances where night visibility is key.


Fluorescent vinyl comes in bright, bold colors that stand out and get people’s attention. These intense colors need to be produced in the manufacturing process, though some of them can be printed on. Sought-after uses of fluorescent vinyl include road signs, caution signs, emergency vehicles and other applications where it’s essential that people notice the decal right away. You may also want to use it for its aesthetic appeal, however. Common fluorescent vinyl colors include, green, yellow, orange, pink and red.


Iridescent vinyl decals, sometimes called holographic decals, feature a rainbow of shimmery colors that change when viewed from different angles. This vinyl is fantastic for giving your decals a fun, eye-catching look and spicing up your designs.


Carbon fiber vinyl materials look like real carbon fiber, which is a polymer that is lighter and five times stronger than steel. This specialty vinyl material reflects light in a way that closely mimics the real thing.


Wood-grain vinyl material looks just like genuine wood, giving decals a unique look. As an excellent alternative to real wood, these kinds of decals offer a sophisticated, eye-catching aesthetic.


Diamond plate vinyl mimics the silver, dimensioned look of CNC-cut diamond plate metal. Because of the pattern and holographic effect, this two-dimensional material looks three-dimensional. Diamond plate vinyl works similarly to other vinyl materials but gives your decals a unique, professional look.


Glow-in-the-dark vinyl glows bright green in the dark after being exposed to light. These decals will remain visible in the dark for up to one hour. They can last up to five years and are ideal for use with a variety of surfaces. Glow-in-the-dark vinyl can make your decals more fun and unique, while also enabling people to see them at night.


Perforated film is a specialty vinyl material used when placing decals in windows. It uses a dot pattern to create one-way visibility through the window it’s applied to. The image printed on the decal appears solid from the outside, showing a full-color image. But from the inside, the window looks tinted, but allows visibility.

Window “perf” comes in several density patterns, including 50/50, 60/40, 65/35 and 70/30. The first number represents how much printable material there is, while the second number represents the transparency of the space. So, 70/30 is 70% vinyl and 30% holes. For vehicles, 50/50 is the most dense allowed by law since visibility is important. For retail windows, up to 70/30 adds brightness to the visible image. Perforated film is weatherproof and may last up to three years or more years in the shade, but when cut in a decal, the edges are subject to fraying or tearing.


An option that differs slightly from the standard decal is cling. Traditional static cling uses surface tension to hold the thick, flexible plastic on a smooth surface like glass or high gloss paint. Some modern clings use a low-tack adhesive or micro-dot adhesive. All of these approaches allow clings to be easy to apply, reposition and remove. Clings won’t last as long as decals and are better for temporary use. They usually last for up to six months and work best on flat glass surfaces.

Clings can have a clear or white background, and you can print a variety of colors and images onto them to customize them.


We can also apply a variety of finishes to vinyl decals. Check with your local SpeedPro to see your options.

With our roll laminators, the SpeedPro team in San Carlos can also provide a variety of finishes to vinyl decals. Some of these finishes may not work with all of the specialty vinyl materials, so check with us to see what your options are.

  • Gloss: Materials with a gloss finish reflect a large amount of light, also referred to as having a high sheen level.
  • Satin or Luster: A Satin/Luster finish reflects some light, though less than a gloss finish does, giving it a smooth but less shiny look. It’s basically a semi-gloss, halfway between matte and gloss
  • Matte: A matte finish reflects hardly any light, so it has a subtle look with little to no sheen.
  • Etched/frosted: An etched or frosted finish is semi-transparent, meaning it lets light through, but is not clear enough for you to be able to see detailed images. The look mimics that of frost on a window. People often apply it directly to glass, but the use of frosted vinyl materials enables you to achieve this look at a much lower cost. You can apply the etched finish in a pattern to create an even more unique design.


The experts at SpeedPro of SF Peninsula are here to help you. There are many options out there for vinyl decal materials, not to mention shapes, sizes, colors, finishes, designs, and placements. How can you tell which options are right for you? Consider your goals in creating the decals, and let us assist you in selecting the best materials and finishes for your budget and needs.

When you work with SpeedPro, you can trust your decals will look great every time. Call us at 650.662.5450 or click here to contact us.

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SpeedPro of SF Peninsula

Studio Owner
Paul Reinhardt