Window of Opportunity: A Guide to Window Signage
A room without windows is not a room, but a closet. Windows simultaneously protect us from the elements and give us something to look at. They create the illusion of more space. They let in wondrous natural light.
Decals and stickers offer you the opportunity to make your windows do even more. In this guide to window signage, we’re going to discuss the different types of decals and stickers you can choose from, the best ways to use them, installation, and removal. Here is everything you need to know about window decals to make your windows work for you.
Types of Window Signage
There are four main types of window signage, each with its own unique advantages. Here is a breakdown of Vinyl Window Decals, Perforated Vinyl Window Film, Static Cling Stickers, and Frosted Glass Window Film.
Vinyl Window Decals
Vinyl Window Decals are full color vinyl stickers with low adhesive backing. These window stickers are typically opaque, though there are translucent variations as well. These decals can be cut to any shape, including lettering.
Uses of Vinyl Window Decals
Vinyl window decals are commonly most used on storefronts, where they can catch the eyes of passersby. They are a good alternative to traditional signage, as they are more easily removed and can be much less expensive, depending on the surface area you’re looking to cover. These window decals are also great for creating some privacy – they don’t have to block the whole window, so that people can still peer inside, but they also cover enough so that your entire store or office isn’t on display.
Unique Features of Vinyl Window Decals
We print our vinyl window decals on white, high-quality 3M vinyl using fade-resistant UV inks. This allows for the colors of the graphic to be incredibly bold and eye-catching. And because the vinyl is very strong, these decals can be cut to any size or shape, including more intricate shapes like lettering.
Life Span of Vinyl Window Decals
Vinyl window decals typically last up to 6 years with lamination under normal conditions. If you plan on changing out your store front’s look every few years, then opting out of lamination is fine.
Perforated Vinyl Window Film
Perforated Vinyl Window Film is a full color vinyl sticker with low adhesive backing and small, evenly spaced holes throughout the surface of the print. The perforation provides full visibility from the inside of a building or vehicle, while those on the outside will only be able to see the graphic and not through the window.
Uses of Perforated Window Film
Because of its unique visibility conditions, perforated vinyl window film is very popular for vehicles. You could cover every window surface on your car with perforated window film, and still be able to drive with complete visibility. And because window film is more easily removed than a body wrap, you won’t have to worry about damaging your car’s resale value. The window film also serves as a form of window tinting – not only does it keep people from looking inside, but it can also do a great deal to keep your building or vehicle cool.
Unique Features of Perforated Window Film
We print on 65/35 perforated Roland vinyl using fade resistant UV inks. We find that this ratio of perforation makes for the ideal ratio of visibility and graphic vibrancy.
Life Span of Perforated Window Film
With lamination and in normal conditions, perforated vinyl window film will last about 2 years. Without lamination, it typically lasts about 1 year.
Static Cling Stickers
Static Cling Stickers are thin plastic sheets that require no adhesive to attach to a glass surface. The image is typically printed onto a translucent rectangle, and the graphic can be either opaque or semi-transparent. Static Cling are super easy to remove and reapply.
Uses of Static Cling Stickers
Because they are easy to remove and reapply, we recommend static cling stickers for any business that undergoes a lot of change. Maybe your employees switch up offices every few months, or maybe your storefront cycles through seasonal promotions. Static cling stickers can be moved and reused with every change.
Unique Features of Static Cling Stickers
Static Cling Stickers are usually made from plastic, PVC, or biodegradable materials. The final sheet will have almost a gel-like feel to it – this makes it possible to adhere to glass without any glue or adhesive. For this reason, static cling stickers are a great option for cars, because they won’t damage the windows or body. Static cling stickers can be contoured to unique shapes, but we advise allowing for some bleed area in the decal design. The more surface area the sticker has against the glass, the better it will stay put.
Life Span of Static Cling Stickers
Static cling stickers can last anywhere between one to three years, depending on maintenance and usage. Applied outdoors and in direct sunlight, you can expect to see some fading in about a year. Indoors and away from direct sunlight, you can enjoy this sticker for upwards of three years. In between applications, we recommend washing the sticker with a gentle soap and water, and letting it dry completely. This will help extend its lifespan.
Frosted Glass Window Film
Frosted Glass Window Film is a vinyl decal with low adhesive backing that has the appearance of etched glass. It is typically semi-transparent such that light can pass through, while simultaneously obscuring vision for privacy.
Uses of Frosted Glass Window Film
Rather than paying for expensive and permanent etched glass, frosted window film can achieve the same look for less. The frosted glass look is great for creating some privacy while maintaining the flow of natural light. Many gyms like this look, because it means that clients don’t have to feel like passersby are staring at them. It’s also a great feature for glass-paneled meeting rooms.
Unique Features of Frosted Glass Window Film
Frosted glass window film is monochromatic, and the effect is created by “clouding” the translucent vinyl. This makes it an ideal material for designs that make heavy use of negative space. Frosted glass film can be cut to any shape, including intricate ones like lettering. The low adhesive backing makes it possible to remove the film without any damage to the surface beneath.
Life Span of Frosted Glass Window Film
Applied indoors and away from direct sunlight, frosted glass film can last for upwards of 3 years. In the meantime, it can be cared for just as any other glass surface – with regular dusting and gentle cleaning.
Why Use Window Signage?
There are many reasons to consider window signage for your office, business, or company vehicle. Here are a few:
Window Decals for Businesses & Offices
Especially if your office or store is located in a building with floor to ceiling windows, your windows offer a tremendous amount of design and advertising real estate. Smart use of window signage can not only help attract customers, but it can also improve the whole atmosphere of your space. Whether that’s by filtering harsh direct sunlight, creating some privacy, or adding some color to your space, window signage can significantly boost your workplace productivity.
Window Decals for Vehicles
Any time that you spend on the road for work can now become more productive. When you transform you transform a normal car into a branded company vehicle, every where you go, people will be exposed to your business. Suddenly, sitting in traffic will feel like less time wasted.
Ease of Application, Maintenance, and Removal
Especially for small businesses, the future can be unpredictable. Investing in expensive, permanent décor and advertising isn’t always possible. And if you rent your space, permanent designs may be completely out of the question. Window signage is perfect solution because it is at once affordable, attractive, low-maintenance, and temporary. You can apply it in minutes without professional help, care for it exactly as you would a normal window, then remove it just as easily when the time is right. All of our window signage options are free from harsh adhesives that will damage your window surfaces upon removal. After taking your window decal down, no one would be able to tell it was ever there.
UV and Temperature Control
When the solar energy hits a normal glass pane, nearly 90% of that energy is transmitted through the glass. That can have a huge effect on the temperature of your building or vehicle! It also makes it possible to get sunburns while indoors. Window film can greatly diminish the amount of UV energy passing through windows into your space, all while preserving the brightening effects of natural lighting. This can have a number of benefits, including preventing sun damage to furniture, keeping your space cool, and promoting the comfort of the people inside.
Installation, Care, and Removal
One of the biggest benefits of window signage is that your decals are incredibly easy to apply, maintain, and remove. Here is how:
How to Apply Window Film & Decals
Window decals are simple enough that you can install them yourself without any specialized knowledge or tools. It may be helpful to have another person present as an extra set of hands and eyes, but it isn’t necessary. If you would prefer not to install a decal yourself, we do offer installation services in the San Diego area.
Before designing and ordering your custom window signage, make sure you have the dimensions of the window space right. We recommend using a dry erase marker to stencil out some design ideas on your window and get a feel for how the product will look.
When your custom decal is ready, you will want to clean the window surface thoroughly and wait for it to dry completely. Dust, grime, and moisture trapped beneath the decal interferes with the bond and can detract from both the appearance and longevity of your window signage. We recommend diluting no-tears baby shampoo with water to wash your window surface – this mixture creates the ideal pH balance for the adhesive.
To apply the decal, lay the decal with its backing against the window surface in the desired position. Using masking tape or painter’s tape, tape the decal along the top edge so that the image is “hinged” in the correct positioning. Take the application fluid, and spray it evenly onto the surface beneath the graphic. You don’t need to worry about waiting for the application fluid to dry. Holding the graphic away from the window, slowly begin to remove the backing starting from the top. Leave the masking layer in place, and use a straight edge or squeegee to smooth the graphic as you go. Do not remove the backing all at once, because it will make it hard to ensure that the graphic lays flat and in the right position. You will want to use the straight edge to smooth starting from the center, moving outwards. Once the entire backing has been removed, go over the entire masking with your straight edge a few more times. Wait thirty minutes to ensure that the graphic has had time to bond with the glass, then you can remove the masking.
Once the window film has been installed onto the window, it is not unusual for you to see some haziness or small water pockets in the window. This is absolutely normal and it is part of the curing process that bonds it to the window. How long this takes depends on a lot of factors, such as the film you are using and the weather in your area, but it could take up to 30 days before the bonding process is complete.
If you’re wondering why it is such a slow process, it’s because the water that remains in the film needs to fully evaporate though the film so that it can fully bond. It’s important to make sure you do not clean the film until the process has completed or else you run the risk of damaging the film by interrupting the curing process.
How to Care for Window Decals
If you want to do everything you can to try and extend the life of your decal and make sure it will last as long as possible, then you need to make sure you properly clean and care for the decals. The good news is, caring for window decals is pretty much the same as caring for normal glass surfaces.
When you need to clean your decaled windows, use a mild, non-abrasive product to remove dirt and debris – a cloth with warm soapy water will generally do the trick, as will diluted glass cleaner. Additionally, it is important to make sure that you never use a scrubbing tool or a power washer as it can lift or damage the decals.
If you happen to have your decals on a car, you should try and make sure you park in a shaded or covered area whenever possible and wash them as much as you can to ensure that the edges remain free of debris and stay stuck down.
How to Remove Window Decals
Window signage can be removed very easily. You can purchase a vinyl scraper, made specifically for this purpose, at any home improvement store. Otherwise, a normal razor or box-cutter blade will also do the trick. You will also need glass cleaner, some sort of adhesive removing solvent like Goo-Gone, and paper towels.
Start by spraying the glass cleaner onto a corner or edge of the decal. This will lubricate the surface and begin to break down the adhesive. Then use your scraper or blade to gently peel the decal off. You shouldn’t need to use very much force, and you shouldn’t scratch or dig into the surface of the glass. Keep spraying the glass cleaner as you go, peeling the decal off with the scraper.
Once the decal is removed, there may be a few places where you can see remnants of adhesive left behind. Some gentle scrubbing with Goo-Gone and paper towels should take care of this.
Have more questions?
At Coastal Creative, we’ve printed and installed thousands of custom window stickers and decals. If there is anything else you’d like to know about how to transform your space with window signage, leave a comment! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.