Swag Secrets: Stickers
One of the most sought-after swag items at any event always seems to be stickers.
Why are stickers so beloved, what makes a good sticker, and where do we order them from? Let’s find out.
Stickers are one of the most affordable swag items so you can feel secure in handing out a lot of them, unlike other items like shirts or notebooks. Individuals also often want several, one for now and one for somewhere else later. They don’t weigh people down, ensure you will be remembered, and last a long time.
There is just something about a top-notch sticker that brings people together, and I firmly believe this. We have never done a branding project where stickers were not requested. Clients are excited to get them in their hands and share them with the world. Groups form around tables at conferences for stickers, people excitedly share photos of their new stickers on social media.
I personally bring cute stickers to any work-related event I attend and it has never failed to start conversations, which can be an invaluable icebreaker (along with cookies 😜). As an introvert it has been a very helpful social aid that leads to people approaching me, making the entire experience much more bearable. I have even had people email me after events regretful they didn’t have the chance to grab one and ask that I send one to them. This is a really powerful thing and an opportunity for a connection and friend that has been afforded from something so seemingly small. What a joy.
Our attention is pulled in a million directions a day and so often it feels like free stickers are a delightful hack to this problem.
If you work for an industry standard product company then handing out simple logo stickers will likely work out well. People want to show their support and be a part of something with others. However, in most marketing and networking situations having a well thought out, unique design will go far in grabbing attention and ensuring people want to put your sticker on their things when there can often be an endless sea of free stickers to choose from.
As with all print items, sticker designs should be made within the CMYK color profile (not RGB), which just means that the colors are restricted to printer capabilities and not the much more extensive options that can be used strictly on the web (RGB). Depending on the design this can result in duller, less saturated colors than desired. Pantone colors are usually acceptable and converted to their CMYK equivalent values.
Since stickers are small, subtle color details and transparencies are not likely to be visible at an appropriate distance. Basic shape-based graphics and highly contrasting colors will make for an especially successful sticker design.
While most printers will usually accept a wide range of file formats we recommend vector-based PDFs to be on the safe side. These graphics will stay crisp and survive any last minute resizing decisions. A PDF also serves as an original and can be opened and edited with vector graphic software like Adobe Illustrator.
If you are putting sticker designs together for clients that will ultimately be doing the ordering it can be very handy to include ordering notes and vendor recommendations.
We present clients with many sticker design variations via a “sticker board” that is always appreciated.
There are more options when selecting types of stickers than many may realize. Having a sense of preference here can help direct the designs and plan the budget.
Here’s a quick look at the more common types for branding and marketing projects outside of basic shapes:
Die cutting permits the edges of stickers to be cut into unique shapes by way of laser cutting.
These are slightly more expensive but can be well forth it depending on your design details, standing out from most stickers that are basic rectangles.
Sticker designs can also be printed on clear material. This can be a fun and tempting option but from experience there can be issues, for example:
- On laptops the sticker outline will appear dirtier after time than a standard sticker will.
- It is often necessary to print two versions of the design, one that will look good on a light background and one that will look good on a dark one. So, this adds to the budget and complicates things a bit when handing them out.
Sticker sheets are on an entirely different level. There are so many cleaver possibilities with this much space and flexibility. For example, I have seen sticker sheets with characters and accessories for them that people can then assemble as they wish. Adorable.
They also provide an opportunity to fit multiple variations or orientations of a logo within a single giveaway. Furthermore, you can custom design the sheet itself that the stickers are on, truly rounding out the experience and creating additional ways for your brand’s personality to show through.
Kiss cut stickers are cut on top of a larger backing which they are then peeled from, much like you see with sticker sheets.
Transfer stickers allow you to transfer intricate designs onto products, giving the appearance of it being printed directly on rather than a typical sticker. Think putting your logo on beverage glasses or car windshields.
An easy sticker update: rounded corners. Not much to say here other than it can make for a more pleasing and desirable sticker appearance, softening the overall look.
Ordering anything for print can be intimidating, but there are a couple notes to keep in mind to help ensure you’ll be happy with your purchase and when in doubt always reach out to the printing company directly.
One of the single greatest mistakes we see out and about when it comes to stickers, which we are entirely guilty of having done ourselves on several cringey occasions, is making stickers that are TOO DAMN BIG. Too-big stickers are truly a pain; there is no place to put them that makes any sense. Laptop real estate is a precious thing and your sticker is not likely to make the cut if it takes up too much space.
It can be helpful to get a ruler out and draw the desired dimensions on paper irl to get a true feel for finished product. As a general rule of thumb we usually produce stickers that are between 1 and 2.5 inches in diameter. It can be tempting to want to see your 4 inch logo on someone’s computer, but it’s much more likely to make it there in the first place if it’s not so obnoxious; I mean this in the most loving way possible, again, I have made this mistake before.
Not all stickers and sticker printers are created equal. Too many stickers feel cheap and thin, have blurry details, are not very sticky (😱), or the color just isn’t right. These stickers are not going to be singing your praises a couple months after the general wear and tear of the item it now calls home — it’s going to look worn, tattered, and peeling and not something you want your name or brand associated with.
After trying several vendors we have exclusively ordered stickers from StickerMule for several years. They are frighteningly fast, super thick vinyl (PVC), super sticky, the color is SPOT ON, and they offer a solid discount when ordering multiple designs 👍👍
Snail In The Mail
Best of luck in your future sticker adventures and if you’d like some snail mail from me with a sticker (of course!) you can let me know here.
Bye for now,