Matt stickers are used for many applications from floor graphics to car decals; the sticker has come a long way in its long history. The matt sticker shares many similar production techniques to its close cousin the gloss sticker, and is often used in similar ways – as a promotional tool and for labelling. But matt stickers offer the end user a different tool. The flat, lustre-less finish won't absorb oils from food or fingerprints, which has enhanced its commercial use in food packaging and in labelling shop goods which are frequently handled.
The flat dispersal of the film resins used to make up the facestock means that they are able to resist direct sunlight and avoid in-store light bounce on promotional materials, for example. Matt-finish surfaces can generally be written on with a variety of printing inks (including pens), so they are often used at trade shows, as floor graphics, price indicators and as short-term signage. Matt stickers offer strong resistance to tearing and can typically last up to five years.
Matt had long been a popular product using paper stock, but it was 1981 Ohio-based plastics firm Cloplay Plastics filed the first patent for a plastic film with a matt finish. By the early eighties the sticker industry was well-established across the globe, thanks to the success of companies such as the Panini sticker company. Italian newspaper moguls Benito and Giuseppe Panini in Milan set up the hugely successful Panini sticker company.
In 1960 the company became famous for its football sticker collections and by 1970 it was the first sticker company to produce stickers for the football World Cup. The company went on to be hugely successful on the back of its production and Panini recently produced stickers for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. In the past 10 years the technology has been adapted to great success in the vehicle industry. Matt finish vinyl, while not as widely used as gloss, is now used to wrap cars among other vehicles. KPMF kicked things off with a full UK taxi wrap in 1993, everything from planes to trains as well as fleets of cars are now wrapped in matt vinyl.
How is a matt sticker made?
Plastic matt stickers are made from a combination of polypropylene film, flexible clear or white calendered polymeric or monomeric vinyl, or a cast vinyl and either permanent or easily removable adhesive. Polymeric and monomeric vinyl offers either short- or long-term application. Monomeric film is generally a 1-3 year grade and the Polymeric 4-6 year grade.
Polymerics feel softer and are primarily available in a gloss finish, although translucent and matte finishes are also obtainable. Most films are made using the chill-roll process. In this process the melt emerging from the flat film die is poured onto either chrome plated, highly polished or matt finish chill-roll. With the latter, the most important factor is the rough surface.
Calendered vinyl is made by pushing a heated mixture through calendering rollers. This is a fast, and as a result, cheaper method of production. Calendered vinyl is more likely to suffer from shrinkage due to the manufacturing process. Cast vinyls are used when a more intricate and stable applications are needed. Liquid resin is coated onto a highly polished substrate to produce an extremely thin film of vinyl.