A sticker is a type of label: a piece of printed paper, plastic, vinyl, or other material with pressure sensitive adhesive on one side.
They can be used for decoration or for functional purposes, depending on the situation.
Stickers can come in many different shapes and sizes and also vary widely in color and design.
They are often adhered to items such as lunchboxes, paper, lockers, notebooks, walls, cars, windows, and so on. Temporary name tags for example are frequently stickers.
No one knows for sure when stickers were first invented. However, we’ll take a closer look at a few pieces of history that experts have been able to uncover about stickers over the years.
Historians believe the first stickers may date back to the ancient Egyptians. Archeologists have found remains of papers that were plastered to the walls of ancient markets to display prices of goods.
In the 1700’s stickers were used as tax stamps, used by the Government of the day to collect revenues on various products.
In 1796, lithography was invented by the German author Alois Senefelder. This soon became the number one method of printing colour stickers. Lithography works by using a combination of inks and repelling agents to transfer an image onto a surface.
Although initially costly and difficult, by the end of the 1800’s advances in technology meant lithographic sticker printing became widespread, allowing the production of more challenging and colourful artwork. The adhesive used to affix these stickers was a gum or paste that required moisture before use.
More modern stickers may have gotten their start with Sir Rowland Hill, who invented an adhesive paper in 1839. Hill’s stickers eventually became the first postage stamps.
R. Stanton Avery is credited with creating the first self-adhesive sticker in 1935. Using a $100 loan from his then-fiancé Dorothy Durfee, and combining used machine parts with a saber saw, he created and patented the world’s first self-adhesive (also called pressure sensitive) die-cut labeling machine. In 1935, he founded what is now the Avery Dennison Corporation.
The first patented flexographic press was created as early as 1890, by Bibby, Baron & Sons in Liverpool, UK. However, for the first 60 years flexographic printing was beset with various production problems including smearing inks and health & safety risks associated with food packaging.
From the 1950’s the toxic aniline inks were replaced by a new non-dangerous ink. This move fundamentally changed the market and the flexographic process became the primary method of producing self-adhesive labels and stickers. Flexible material such as self-adhesive vinyl could be passed through the presses, allowing for rapid production of colour labels.
During this time labels were becoming increasingly used for branding and product information, whereas stickers were used primarily for advertising, promotions and signage.
Forest Gill is most often credited with inventing the first car bumper stickers, initially called bumper strips in the 1940’s. He combined bright Day Glo inks and adhesive paper labels to create the first self-sticking bumper sticker. After getting rained on a few times these paper stickers would become a mess on the bumper.
Early paper bumper stickers were printed by hand in the late 1940’s and early 50’s.
The screen printing process was automated by the invention of the General Press by James Black. In the 1960’s these General presses became the standard for automatically screen printing various products including stickers and decals.
Forming a partnership with FIFA in 1970, Panini first produced a World Cup sticker album for the 1970 World Cup. Initiating a craze for collecting and trading stickers, since then, collecting and trading stickers has become part of the World Cup experience, especially for the younger generation. UK newspaper The Guardian states, “the tradition of swapping duplicate [World Cup] stickers was a playground fixture during the 1970s and 1980s.”
Stickers placed on tires, usually called tire lettering, can be temporary or permanent. These spell out names or have graphics on them, to enhance the look of the car.
Stickers are also used for embellishing scrapbooking pages. Kinds of stickers sold for this purpose include acrylic, 3D, cardstock, epoxy, fabric, flocked, sparkly, paper, puffy, and vellum. While in the earlier days of scrapbooking stickers were sold mostly on 2″x6″ sheets, now[when?] 6″x12″ and even 12″x12″ size sheets are very common.
The largest sticker measures 63.98 m x 127.26 m (209 ft 10 in x 417 ft 6 in) with a total area of 8,141.84 m2 (87637.69 ft2) and was made by IGA Digital Printing for Samsung (China). It was displayed on the Zheng Jia Square Building in Guang Zhou, China, on 1 November 2010. The building had a sticker on all four sides. For the record, only the largest sticker on one of the sides was measured.
The most stickers on a bus is 29,083 stickers and was achieved by the STL Sticker Swap (USA), at LouFest in St. Louis, Missouri, USA on 10 September 2017. Sticker enthusiasts from all over the world mailed in stickers for the record-breaking bus. During the festival, participants signed thier names on additional stickers and placed them on bus.
The largest collection of stickers belongs to Nidhi Bansal (India) and consists of 102,317 stickers as of 16 September 2013, in Bassi Pathana, Punjab, India. Nidhi Bansal started her sticker collection in 2007.