Frequently Asked Questions

(800) 369-5331

Serving Customers Since 1983

4 Color Process

Q: Can you use digital pictures from our web page?
A: Generally, images used on a web page are 72 dpi. They are so low in resolution to help speed the loading of a page on a computer. Industry standards say to use twice the resolution as the line tone being printed. Since screen print is done at 100 line tone we need scanned digital images at 200 dpi resolution. Flexo and letterpress items are printed at 150 and 133 line tones so we would need images at 300 resolution. There are places on the net to purchase high resolution files or a high resolution image can be placed on a web page for use by others. It will just not copy or load as fast.

Q: Why do we have to back up 4 color process printing with white on clear materials?
A: 4 color process inks are designed to be transparent so they will create other colors when they are overlapped. When these very transparent inks, without a white back up, are printed on a clear material to create a decal that will go in a window the whole imprint just disappears. By backing the 4 color process printing with white we can define and present a process image without losing any detail or color on an inside window decal.


Q: What are some of the most common things missing from a customer's digital file?
A: Fonts, defining the colors, missing EPS files and missing hard copies are the most common disk problems that we see.

Q: What is the difference between an EPS file and a TIFF file?
A: EPS and TIFF are file formats or ways that a file can be saved. EPS is a generic format that allows information to easily be transferred between different programs and from a program to an image-setter. EPS files cannot be edited, in other words, we could not change the image or change the text, we generally can, however, resize an EPS file. TIFF is a format for a scanned image. It also easily transfers information from one program to another. However, a TIFF file is just a "picture" of the art and is not made up of the individual elements of vector art as in an EPS file.

Q: Do you have Artwork Submission Guidelines?
A: Please follow our Artwork Guidelines here.

Q: What if I am ordering multiple decals?
A: Please view our animation on ways to save you money on printing and preparing multiple decals here

Die Cutting

Q: What size holes can we drill?
A: Current hole punch sizes available are: 1/8", 5/32", 3/16", 1/4", 5/16", 3/8", and 1/2". However, we cannot drill holes in plastic materials.

Domed Decals

Q: What is the largest domed decal that can be produced?
A: Nine square inches is our general guideline for a custom size domed decal. However, because the cutting and doming process can be complicated on this item, there are several considerations when preparing a quote.

Q: What is the smallest domed decal that can be produced?
A: 5/8" is the smallest dimension that we have been able to consistently dome.

Foil Seals

Q: Can copy be embossed in color?
A: No, we actually deboss (push down) the background color on a label and then as a reaction the copy is embossed (raised up). In order to get the color to adhere to the material we use heat and pressure. Since the pressure is applied to the background it is the only area that will be a color. The copy cannot be embossed as a color.

Q: If a seal is to be sheeted or perforated can the waste be stripped?
A: No. If a label is perforated, we cannot strip the waste because the tension is very high on the roll of waste material as it is pulled off while on the press. This tension tends to break the web.

Screen Printed Materials

Q: Is there any way to avoid the mark left by slitting on a clear polyester decal?
A: The line left by the slitting process is actually a mark left in the adhesive, not on the material itself. However, the adhesive will continue to flow and that line should eventually disappear. The soap and application method is another way to aid the flow of the adhesive to eliminate any slitting marks. The only way to avoid the mark caused by slitting on clear decals is to not slit the decal at all but then you have lost the benefit of a split release liner for easier application.


Pressure Sensitive Vinyl's
Pressure sensitive vinyl's are flexible, scuff resistant, plasticized films. Vinyl's will stretch and shrink to a small degree. They are for indoor or outdoor use.

Pressure Sensitive Polyesters
Pressure sensitive polyesters are very "dimensionally stable". This means that they will not stretch or shrink. Because polyester does not stretch, it does not conform well to irregular surfaces or compound curves. It is very resistant to chemicals. Polyester is suited for indoor or outdoor use.

Static Cling Vinyl
Static cling vinyl is a highly plasticized vinyl film that does not require an adhesive to adhere to polished or smooth surfaces such as glass or mirrors. This material is recommended for indoor use only.

Holographic material is a light diffracting, metalized vinyl film that gives a prismatic appearance. This material is for indoor use and short-term outdoor exposure.

Paper and Poster
Paper and poster related materials include: polyethylene coated card, non-polyethylene coated card, and 10 pt. tag. These materials are used for a variety of different purposes. Please refer to specific catalog pages for more information. The polyethylene coated card is suitable for short-term outdoor use.

Magnetic material consists of a base magnetic material with either a screen printed vinyl film or an offset printed face material. The base magnetic material has good holding power on most metal surfaces. All screen printed magnets are suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Offset printed magnets are for indoor use only.

Reflective material is an enclosed lens, retro-reflective film. This material is often used with transparent inks to allow the reflective properties of the substrate to show through the ink. This material is appropriate for indoor or outdoor use.

Rigid Plastic
Rigid plastic products include several different materials: gloss vinyl plastic, parking permit hangers and auto cards, velvet textured plastic, and corrugated plastic. These materials are used for a variety of different applications. Please refer to specific catalog pages for more information. Corrugated plastic and auto card material are the only rigid plastics suited for outdoor use.

Flexo and Letterpress Pressure Sensitive Papers and Film
Flexo and letterpress pressure sensitive papers and films include: white and yellow gloss papers, fluorescent papers, gold and silver foil papers, kraft brown paper, and clear polystyrene. All of the flexo and letterpress printed materials are intended for indoor use.

Printing Processes

Screen Printing
Screen printing inks are ultraviolet (UV) light cured, pigmented colors. These inks are glossy and very resistant to chemicals and abrasion. All colors from our standard color chart, with the exception of neon colors, average 3 to 5 years outdoors. Neon colors will begin to fade in approximately 30 days if exposed to direct sunlight. Transparent inks, not shown on our color chart, average 2 years outdoors. They are typically used on substrates that allow the properties of the base material to show through the transparent ink. Four-color process inks average 3 years outdoors. A UV clear coat is available as an additional color. It can be used for extra chemical or abrasion resistance or to add a glossy appearance to four-color process inks. A UV clear coat will not provide any additional protection from sunlight. Outdoor durability of most Pantone®(PMS) colors will average 3 years with the exception of the 800 series fluorescent colors.

Flexographic inks are water based for line colors and UV cured for four-color process. All formulations are made with lightfast pigments. Flexo items are typically printed on paper and are intended for indoor use only. Flexo labels that require scuff resistance or that will be used for product packaging such as shampoos, soaps, and oils need either a UV clear coat or over-lamination for protection.

Letterpress inks use UV cured, pigmented colors. The ink film thickness is one third of that obtained by screen printing. Letterpress inks will average 6 to 12 months of outdoor exposure. A UV clear coat may be applied to retard material degradation. The clear coat also increases the resistance to solvents, chemicals, and abrasion.

Offset inks are strong in color to compensate for thinner ink film thickness. The average amount of ink transferred is about half that of letterpress ink. Offset inks provide high quality images for four-color process printing. They are intended for indoor use only.


Over-lamination Many, but not all, of the labels, decals, and signs offered in the The Decal Factory® can be over-laminated with clear polyester. Over-lamination offers good protection against abrasion, chemicals, and solvents. It improves the "weatherability" of decals, labels, and signs. Over-laminated white vinyl screen printed decals are custom priced. Over-laminating of some other decals is available on special request at an additional charge.


The Decal Factory® offers products printed by one of four methods: screen process (screen printing); rotary letterpress; flexography; or offset. The four methods produce products of varying durability.

Durability relates to: (1) the strength of the material the image is printed on; (2) the light-fastness of the ink when exposed to sunlight; (3) the resistance of ink and material to chemicals and solvents; and (4) the resistance of ink and material to abrasion.

Pressure sensitive labels, decals, and signs furnished by The Decal Factory® are printed on one of three families of materials: polyesters, vinyl's, or papers.

Durability of ink on a label, decal, or sign is mainly determined by the thickness of the ink film on the material and by the type of colorant used in the ink.

Because of the wide variety of uses of our materials, we would like to help ensure that the right product or material is used for a particular application. Identifying what the decal, sign, or label will be applied to, as well as what type of environment it will be subjected to, will help determine what material is best suited for that application. For example, is the application surface wood, metal, plastic, vinyl, glass, paper, etc.? Indicating if the surface is rough (textured) or smooth is also helpful. Is the label used inside or outside, in a freezer, under humid conditions, or is it exposed to chemicals? This kind of information will help us provide the best product for your needs. Material samples are available at no charge if needed for testing.

Additional Information
Many of the The Decal Factory® products have different adhesives. Some have permanent and others have removable or ultra removable adhesive. Each product has been designed to offer the best combination of material and adhesive. For instance, our Zip Strip® vinyl has a removable adhesive that insures clean and easy removability, even after one year from application.

Because of the wide variety of uses of our materials, we would like to insure that the right product or material is used for a particular application. Identifying how the product will be used or what the decal will be applied to will help determine what material is best suited for that application. Material samples are always available at no charge for testing.