What Is The Average Size Of A Bumper Sticker?
The average size of rectangular bumper sticker is 3” x 10”, while the most common template from online print shops is 3” x 11.5”. The rectangular shape is by far the most used shape of bumper sticker, but oval bumper stickers are also becoming more popular. The most common size of oval bumper sticker is 6” x 4”.
The Rise and Realities of Printing Stickers at Home
While many online bumper sticker retailers list the 11.5” x 3” size as the most common, this hardly makes it true. A quick search on Café Press™ or Etsy™ will reveal that while the average height is still 3 inches, the average length is closer to 10”, with very few designs going beyond 11 inches in length. The reason for this has to do with the realities of printing at home, and the need for full bleed artwork.
In printing terms, “full bleed” means that the printed image goes all the way to the edge of the media, with no white space on the border. If you are printing an image with a white background, this is less of an issue; if, however, you are printing an image with a strong background color, a white border around the image will look cheap and unprofessional.
Only the largest and most expensive printers have the ability to print full bleed on media without the need to trim the edges of the paper. These huge printing devices cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars, and generally only fit into warehouse-sized spaces. The vast majority of printing, however, is printed on smaller, less expensive printers. The mechanical processes for these printers require a small amount of unmarked media around the printed image. To get around this, professionals in the print industry simply print an image on media larger than necessary, and then trim the extra border in order to create a full bleed image.
Printing bumper stickers at home is no different. The average home printer in the U.S. prints on standard Letter paper, which measures 8.5” x 11”. These dimensions make it impossible to print a bumper sticker measuring 11.5 inches in length, and no sticker 11 inches in length will have full bleed color. Because of these constraints, many smaller artists are simply printing bumper stickers in 3” x 10” sizes, and then trimming down from the Letter size in order to get their full bleed creation.
Functionally, there isn’t much difference between a bumper sticker measuring 10 inches and one measuring 11.5 inches. The quality of the artwork and the design will matter more than the length. And the more that boutique artisans create their own bumper stickers, the more prevalent the 3” x 10” design will become.
Designing for a bumper sticker? Size Depends on Complexity
The purpose of a bumper sticker is to express that bit of individuality that cannot be easily conveyed by just the make and model of a car. While bumper stickers will undoubtedly be seen by passers-by while the vehicle is marked, they are most effective when they can be seen by other motorists while the vehicle is driven. Obviously, in order to be seen easily and quickly while in traffic, the bumper sticker must be large enough to easily display the desired idea, allegiance, or feeling to a viewer–who, ideally, is also paying attention to the road! This means that the size of the bumper sticker is somewhat dependent on the complexity of the sticker’s design, or the amount and length of the words on the sticker. There’s no sense in spending time on an intricate and creative project, only to confine it to a sticker size that is too small to be easily seen.
The size constraint makes a good guideline for creativity: designs can’t be too busy or wordy, so they must be efficient and precise. Instead of using twelve words to express an idea, use the perfect two words.
A good rule of thumb to follow: For a single word, acronym, or number, stick with the 6” x 4” oval; it shows up well at distance. For a quote, phrase, or complex logo, go with a larger rectangle design.
Of course, those are hardly the only sizes of bumper stickers available; they’re simply the most common. Readily-available templates from the internet come in a variety of sizes, such as:
• 7.5” x 3.75” rectangles
• 15” x 3.75” rectangles
• 10” x 3” rectangles
• 3” x 3” squares
• 4” x 4” squares
• 2” x 2” circles
• 3” x 3” circles
Instead, if you are printing your own bumper stickers at home, you don’t have limitations based on internet templates—you are only limited by your time and your imagination.
“Bumper Stickers” that aren’t on bumpers
The advantage of bumper stickers, especially ones made from vinyl or other strong materials, is that they last longer than other stickers; after all, they are designed to live in the elements and still maintain their integrity and color. Because of this durability, bumper stickers will often show up on anything that sees wear and tear from use, as long as the object has a large enough flat surface. Laptops, musical instrument cases, lockers, furniture, and even street signs often display one or more bumper stickers. A 6” x 4” oval bumper sticker has the advantage in that it will fit well on many different surfaces, from a Mercedes to a Macbook.
The definition of an average bumper sticker is changing from what it once was; cars today are sleeker, and have less actual space on their bumpers than they did back in the 1960’s. Today, there are more ideas for bumper stickers than ever before, and you don’t need to rely on expensive printing services to make your own. Our printable vinyl sheets can be used on almost any home printer, so you can make your own creative stamp to put out into the world. Visit our shop at https://www.amazon.com/royalelements and pick out your own pack, where you can create either the 3” x 10” rectangle or the 6” x 4” oval bumper stickers, and express your own ideas!
Michael from Royal Elements