You may have already heard the terms cut vinyl graphics and vinyl decals before and may be wondering what they mean and if they are different. You are not the only one to be confused as both the terminologies may seem to be quite similar. A lot of people use the terms interchangeably all the time. However, in reality, there is a lot of differences between cut vinyl graphics and vinyl decals. Whether you are buying online or from Surrey’s best vinyl decal company, it is imperative to understand the difference if you what to be sure of what you are buying.

Vinyl Graphics

Look around and notice. If you see a single colour logo on a car, lettering on an office wall or an address on a storefront you are looking at cut vinyl graphics. You can get vinyl graphics in many colours and finishes, but they are made of different coloured vinyls. This is because vinyl graphics are physically cut from a roll of vinyl using a machine called a vinyl cutter or plotter. This vinyl cutter or plotter is connected to a computer that allows it to read your vector design files. The cutter then uses a single, micro size blade to cut into the vinyl. Attached is a big roll of vinyl that is moved back and forth as the blade cuts into the material. The specialized blade only cuts deep enough to slice through the vinyl material and does not cut through the backing paper it is stuck to. The result is a tiny cut in the material.

Once the vinyl is cut appropriately, it is then laid down one table for a process called weeding. Weeding involves the removal of excess vinyl manually. Depending on how complex your artwork is, this process can take quite some time and needs substantial skill. After weeding, a layer of application tape is applied onto the decal. This application tape contains a low tack adhesive which adheres to the surface of your cut vinyl graphics and keeps the individual cut shapes in place. And bingo! Your vinyl graphics are all set to be used. This process is simple when you want to use a single colour vinyl. However, for a combination of colours, you have to cut each layer of coloured vinyl separately and combine them on a common piece of backing paper to create the design. This option is quite complex and time consuming but makes final application easier as the completed graphic is applied as a single piece. Alternatively, you can choose to apply each layer separately.

Vinyl Decals

One of the big ways in which vinyl graphics and vinyl decals are different is that the latter is printed onto vinyl using a wide-format printer. In vinyl decal printing machines, printers load a roll of digital vinyl that absorbs the ink pigments and keeps them looking fresh for ages. As the image is on one layer it is easier to apply and has a smooth surface compared to a multi-layered vinyl graphic. Digital vinyl has various strengths of adhesive and can be used for both short and long term applications. You have the flexibility to choose from a short term removable vinyl that can go on windows or walls and leave no residue when removed or a permanent adhesive that will last for years.

One may ask whether vinyl graphics and vinyl decals are interchangeable? Definitely, yes. In some cases, a single-colour design may be too complicated to produce a vinyl graphic. The printers then often opt for images that are printed onto transparent vinyl. The result is a product that almost resembles cut vinyl graphics but has the properties of a vinyl decal. Cut vinyl graphics are simple one colour designs like lettering and are individual shapes with no background. Vinyl decals are usually multi-coloured complex designs that have backgrounds which are commonly cut to shapes such as squares, rectangles, circles, etc.

Whether you are looking to get a cut vinyl graphic or a decal, Sign Magic can help you. Our vinyl graphics and decals are known for their quality, application and usage. Right from real estate signs, to car and wall decals, get the best quality and finish at genuinely competitive prices with us.