Signs New York

Learn How Window Decals Can Help You Reach More

vinyl window decals lettering new york

Vinyl Window Lettering, otherwise known as Window Decals, can be seen as both a type of business signage, as well as a welcoming decoration. From beautiful gold leaf letters, bold logos and scrollwork, to bordering, original artwork and informational graphics such as business hours, window decals help to complete your storefront window in order to maximize your business brand exposure. This versatile sign medium talks non-stop to everyone passing by your location 24/7 and has been shown to directly increase sales.

In this blog, we’ll take you through some of the more common types of vinyl window lettering and window decals, point out the pros and cons of each, as well as show you how to ensure your decals remain readable through proper color contrasting.

Inside Glass Decals vs. Standard Window Decals

Window decals can first be divided into outside glass window decals — otherwise known as standard print window decals — which are place on the exterior of the glass, and inside glass printing which is installed on a window’s interior but can still be viewed from the outside.

The biggest difference being that standard window decals are easier to read on highly reflective glass, while inside glass decals remain better protected from the various sources of damage — including basic wear and tear, harsh weather conditions, as well as acts of vandalism.

Inside Glass Decals ProsInside Glass Decals Cons
Protected from weather elements and vandals
Lasts Longer
Less legible under glaring light
Standard Window Decals ProsStandard Window Decals Cons
More legible/ easier to readExposed to weather elements and vandalism
Shorter service life

The Four Most Popular Types of Window Decals

There are essentially four main types of window decals that are commonly used. They include clear decals, matte decals, perforated decals, and opaque decals.

Clear Window Decals

These clear decals are important anytime you want an unobstructed view of your business from the outside, as well as a clear view of the streetscape from inside. Reasons for this can include window product displays, wall decals, or an inviting scene — such as a restaurant or café with patrons enjoying their food and drink, as well as each other’s company.

Because of their transparency, clear window decals have the option of being applied as either standard or inside glass graphics. This inside adherence option helps protect your graphic, allowing for a longer life span for your decal — although it may appear less legible if your glass reflects a lot of light, whether it’s from the sun or an artificial source.

Frosted or Matte Decals

Frosted window decals are great for providing privacy — such as in a doctor’s waiting room or to hide crowded inventory shelves — as well as offering the look of real hand-etched and frosted glass, all for a fraction of the price. This type of  Vinyl Lettering NYC is also popular in the corporate world — where it’s utilized for both board rooms and offices — as well as in private homes.

Perforated or (One Way) See-Through Window Decals

Known as “perf” or “see-through”, these decals are specially engineered with tiny holes — known as perforations — which allow those on the interior side of the glass to see out. At the same time, they continue to provide the privacy of frosted matte vinyl for those on the inside. These decals can often be seen covering an entire store window from top to bottom. For this reason, they are often considered to be a type of  window wrap.

Opaque Window Decals

These window decals obscure the view on either side of the glass substrate, which means that — as with perf decals — they can also be confused with window wraps. The biggest difference being that an opaque window decal is a small or partial type of adhesive window graphic which only covers part of the glass, while a window wrap will cover the entire window. These will fasten securely to any glass surface and are often used for informational graphics, such as sale announcements, business hours, and other types of special promotions.

The Science of Contrasting Colors

Choosing the correct colors for your window decals will decide just how readable your sign is. One major factor in graphic legibility is how the different colors differentiate, or contrast from each other. You’ll need to keep color contrasting in mind even when using clear decals by comparing it to the look of your interior location space.

In general, the greater the difference in brightness between the two colors, the more legible the writing will be. Authors Paul Arthur and Romedi Passini break this contrast requirement down to an easy-to-use formula in their 1992 book Wayfinding.

To figure this out, they began by taking the light reflectance (LR) readings, otherwise known as the light reflectance value (LRV), for different colors. This number expresses how much light a color will reflect on a scale of 0-100. The brighter the color, the higher its number is. For example, flat white has a value of 85, while marine blue has a light reflectance of 15.


Here’s how it works: Let’s say you want to combine two colors — in this case, we’ll use white and blue — in a banner.

  • First you subtract the LRV of the darker color (15) from the LRV of the lighter color (85).

                                       15 – 85 = – 70

  • Then you divide the difference (-70) by the lighter color’s value.

                                      -70 ÷ 85 = .82

  • Finally, you multiply that number (.82), known as the quotient, by 100.

                                      .82 x 100 = 82

  • The last number you get (82), which is known as the product is also called the contrast value.

                                      Contrast Value = 82

As a rule of thumb, if the contrast value is over 70, then it’s good enough to use as sign text. In this case, since the contrast value 82 is greater than 70, marine blue and white are legible color combinations for signage.

                                    82 > 70 = Good to use

Window Decals Are Essential For a Successful Brand Image

In an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace, window decals are becoming an obvious and essential tool that allows businesses to stand out, as we like to say, for the right reasons. An attractive decal helps to draw window shoppers and customers through your doors by providing value and projecting a look of success, authority, as well as the appearance of a true community fixture. This is how you want your office or retail business — as both a valuable investment as well as your livelihood — to be seen by the public.

If you’re interested in learning more about what type of window decal or color combination is right for you and your organization, please contact the Signs New York team by filling out this form for a free quote.

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