Best Practices for Creating Window Decals and Window Clings

Best Practices for Creating Custom Window Decals & Window Clings 

Window graphics are an excellent way to showcase your product, service, or messaging. They are highly visible, with plenty of surface space for creative, eye-catching graphics. Not only can they boost your brand’s visibility, but window graphics are also cost-effective compared to other types of large format signage and can be reused depending on the material.

A 2022 study on retail trends showed that 36% of shoppers plan to increase in-store spending, including 45% of Gen Z and 46% of millennial parents. Now’s the perfect time to consider adding window graphics to your marketing budget. Effective window signage depends on factors such as design, material, placement, and size. Here are best practice tips for creating window clings and window decals.

What Is A Window Graphic?

Window graphics are signage installed on a window or glass surface. They can be subtle or full-cover, provide privacy, tell a story, promote a brand, event, or sale, point people in the right direction, and be used for holiday decoration. Window clings are made from plastic or vinyl film and adhere to glass without damaging it. Some are permanent, while others can be reused when properly stored. Window graphics can be created for installation inside or outside. Depending on the purpose and location, window graphics allow for incredible flexibility with regard to style, shapes, colors, and messaging.

Types of Window Graphics

Window graphics can be window decals, adhering to the surface using an adhesive, or window clings, adhering to the surface through static electricity. Under these two categories, there are six main types of window signage:

  • Clear Window Graphics – These transparent window graphics convey messaging but do not block the entire window and often include logos or text.
  • Opaque Window Graphics – These are non-transparent and often used for privacy, blocking out sunlight, or full-window messaging. 
  • Perforated Window Decals– Known for its one-way viewing properties, have tiny holes that appear solid from the outside but allow people to see through from the inside. These are popular on vehicles, but are great for adding privacy to building and office windows.
  • Frosted Decals – Made to look like frosted glass, these translucent vinyl window graphics are simple. They can be uniformly frosted or have messaging or imagery incorporated into the frosted design.
  • Lettering – Cut from vinyl or plastic, lettering is a simple way to utilize window space for brand messaging, sales, or wayfinding.

Window Cling Vs. Window Decal

Which is better for my business, window clings or window decals? It’s a common question asked by Color Reflections customers. Both are head-turning, but each has its advantages. Window clings adhere to a surface via static electricity. They are removable and perfect for those who rent their space. However, they are not as weather-resistant as other types of window signage and can lose their ability to stick over time. Window decals stick to the window via an adhesive. Vinyl window decals are highly durable, weather-resistant, and not often reusable due to the nature of the bond. 

Design Guide For Window Signage

Designing your vinyl window decals and window clings depends on a few factors. First, window graphics can be installed inside or outside. For those designed for indoor installation, the windows should not be tinted. The image is printed in reverse on the non-adhesive side of optically clear film with a white ink flood if the graphic is to be opaque or spot white for special effects or no white  for transparent image. Your large format printing projects should be clear, concise, and easy to read, especially from a distance. From marketing your brand to increasing curb appeal for a building, follow these guidelines for creating compelling window graphics.

Window Graphic Messaging

Window signage is a versatile, budget-friendly marketing solution. But overall messaging depends on where and what type of window graphics people will see. 

  • Retail window signage – Retail messaging tends to be bold. Opaque vinyl window decals can fill the space with product imagery and information, while clear window clings or lettering can shout out sales or promotions. Window clings and decals can also be paired with retail displays to help fill the space around the product. 
  • Office space window signage – Window decals for business or office spaces allow companies to add their logo, hours, and contact information while keeping it aesthetic to the building’s style. They can also utilize window space for promoting their brand and services. Indoor window graphics can be added for privacy, wayfinding, or as a creative opportunity to add themes and brighten the space.
  • Venue window signage – Whether a local restaurant, museum, or large venue for weddings, plays, concerts, and more, vinyl window graphic messaging can promote upcoming events or exhibits or reinforce the brand through creative imagery and text. 
  • Vehicle – Perforated vinyl window film allows you to fill the entire window with an image without impacting driver safety, so these are a popular choice for customized brand imagery or business logos and contact information. You can also have window clings that offer car pricing details, promotional messaging for companies, and personalized imagery.

Window Graphic Design

Your design needs to be visible up close but also from a distance. Fonts with sophisticated features, like script, handwriting, or other lettering, can look different depending on where they’re viewed. Utilize colors that stand out but don’t clash with the surroundings (unless they are brand colors). Simple shapes, colors, and text can give a modern, clean look that’s easy to see.

Window Graphic Size

You want to ensure images and fonts are the correct resolutions and proportionate to the size of the window. Something that starts small can become blurry when blown up to large sizes or look out of place. You’ll want to measure the window and note any recessing. Otherwise, elements of the design may be obscured. Size may also impact pricing, so be sure to keep your budget in mind when deciding on the size of your design.

Window Graphic Placement

Have a placement strategy for vinyl window decals and window clings. Will your vinyl decal or cling take up the whole window or part of the area? You also want the most important details or messaging to be eye level for easy reading and immediate impact. Also, window clings are best placed inside as they are less durable than adhesive window decals.

Installing, Maintaining, and Storing Window Signs

Most window decals and clings are easy to install, depending on the size. Proper installation and cleaning can help increase the longevity of your window signs. Storage for reusable window clings and decals can protect them from dust and dirt so that the static or bonding element is intact and ready for reapplication.

Applying Window Signage

While Color Reflections recommends professional installation for large format graphics, here are some steps for applying window signage. Step one, clean the window as dirt or dust can prevent the decal or cling from adhering correctly. For window cling installation, peel the cling from the backing and apply, smoothing out air bubbles or wrinkles. Application fluid may be used for installing vinyl window decals. Spray the liquid evenly on the window surface, then beginning at the top, slowly remove the backing and smooth the graphic as you go down the window. Sometimes hazing and small water pockets are noticeable, but those should disappear as the graphic cures.

Window Decal Maintenance

You should regularly inspect your window decals or window clings for signs of wear and tear, scratches, or damage. Window decals and clings should be washed by hand at least once a month. This can help keep your graphic free from grime and dirt so that the design is what people see when they look at it. Avoid using a power washer, as it can damage the material or cause the decal or cling to crack and break away from the surface. Stick to basic soap or glass-friendly cleaning chemicals. 

Can You Save Static Window Clings?

Yes! Window clings can last for several years when stored correctly. Here’s how:

How to Store Window Clings

After removing them from the window, it’s best to use wax paper on either side of the window cling to protect it from sticking to itself. You also want to store window clings in a cool, dry place. Though they do not contain an adhesive, heat can damage the material. Consider placing the graphic between cardboard as extra protection to ensure it lays or stands flat to prevent curling.

Create the Best Window Signage With Color Reflections

Window graphics are a great way to capitalize on light and capture a customer’s attention. They also help prevent sun damage to furniture and artwork by limiting the UV light that comes through the window and can help keep your space cool and customers or clients comfortable. Window decals and clings are an attractive, low-maintenance, budget-friendly advertising option.
Color Reflections has installed vinyl window decals, window clings, and custom-designed privacy film for over fifty years. We work with multiple materials, creating custom window graphics for brands, communities, and special events. Our nationwide experts can help you decide which type of window signage is best for business, while our experienced teams can install your window graphics quickly and cleanly. Contact us for a free quote today!