How to Create Custom Stickers: Keys to Success

Creating Custom Stickers with StandOut Stickers

Today, Even Leake, Art Director at StandOut Stickers here in Cleveland, Ohio (home to yours truly, Graphic Design firm, Go Media), is here to share some of his wisdom with us. After all, ya’ll have been asking for some tips about creating your own custom stickers. Since Evan and crew pump ’em out perfectly on the daily, they know their stuff. 

Take it away, Evan!

– Heather, ‘Zine editor

Keys to Custom Sticker Greatness

When creating art for custom stickers, it is best to create artwork at a minimum 300dpi. You may use photoshop or illustrator, or a free alternative like Gimp. What’s most important is that your artwork is submitted as a high resolution file and converted to CMYK. A good understanding of the limitations of cmyk printing is helpful but the most important step is to create high resolution artwork. Resolution is not usually a concern when using Adobe Illustrator to create vector artwork.

When you create a sticker design, you can fill our standard templates with any design you want. Things get a little trickier though when you decide to purchase custom die cut stickers. We can help you create a custom cut line, but if you’d like to do it yourself, there are a few things you should consider.

1) Clean cuts, simpler cuts are better. They cut out smoothly and faster. A lot of overly complicated edges will not only take longer to produce, but they may cause issues with storing your stickers. Fine points and thin parts of a die cut can complicate application and storage. Thin pieces of sticker don’t stick as well as large pieces, and thin pieces often get bent when handling your stickers. If you can keep your design’s custom die cut shape simple, you’ll enjoy the results more. If you require a very complicated cut with interior cuts or thin pieces, I’d recommend using a kiss cut on a standard shape like a square or rectangle. This lets you have a sticker that looks great when applied, but has more durability against bends in storage. A kiss cut is a light cut on the surface of the sticker that lets you peel off a section of the sticker, like on a sticker sheet. We can create very complicated kiss cuts.

2) Your bleed should extend 1/8″ beyond your cut line. A lot of custom cut designs have a white outline. Some people wish to have a colored background to the edge of their custom cut line. This requires bleed color to extend past your cut line. We can help you set this up, and bleed is a standard that you should be familiar with when setting up cut lines for any custom job. Bleed is part of all of our standard templates.

3) Make sure your black values are rich. We recommend rich black cmyk values of 60/40/40/100. Or you can use photoshop’s standard black settings. One thing to be cautious of though, is when selecting the black swatch in illustrator you are often given 0/0/0/100 which sometimes prints lighter than expected. This layering of ink helps give you black values a ‘rich’ dark appearance.

A good sticker design is a subjective thing, but but most are bold and relatively easy to see or read from a distance. Our custom stickers have been used in every scenario, from machinery labeling, on beauty products, insecticide, bumper stickers, and clothing hang tags. Everyone loves stickers and more companies have been including them with orders since they are an affordable way to promote your brand. Even Apple does it!

Ready to design your own sticker?

Follow Jeff Finley’s “Tutorial: How to Design and Print Custom Silk Screen Die-Cut Stickers