5 Tricks to Master the Art of Post-It Notes

One of a designer’s greatest tool is the Post-It note. These simple pieces of sticky paper help make concepts and ideas concrete. Where would we be as designers if not for the Post-It? I shudder just thinking about it. At Hyper Island, we go through A LOT of Post-It notes (Turns out design isn’t so environmentally friendly). Over this time we’ve learned a lot about how to use them correctly. Use these 5 tricks to master the art of Post-It noting.

1. Pull Direction

This is the biggest learning that every designer needs to know. The way you pull a Post-It note tells a lot about who you are as an individual, and will subtly proclaim to the room if you are a design expert or a design nOOb.

Here’s an experiment I conducted with pull direction:

The laws of physics tell us to pull the Post-It down for optimum sticking power

The classic amateur will pull up. As you can see on the left of the photo, pulling up spells disaster. Some experts say to pull the Post-It across, but in fact the correct way is down. Because physics.

2. Titles & Long Words

Ever start to write a word on a Post-It and then quickly realize you’re running out of room? Avoid this by turning it 45 degrees, and voila! You now have an extra inch of writing room.

Additionally, if your office is too cheap to buy the big Post-Its, the diamond Post-It makes a great heading or group title. The visual differentiation will make it stand out like a boss.

3. Colour Coordination

Your walls will probably be filled with Post-Its after lots of brainstorming, ideating, and note taking. Don’t get awash in a sea of pink Post-Its, colour code that stuff. This will help you to scan different types of content on Post-Its and will help you later when you rearrange them.

Check out this amazing colour coordinated grouping by Northern Heritage

4. Purple Post-Its…No

If you’re a colour coordinating champion you’ll probably have to use purple Post-Its. Not sure what Post-It was thinking on this one. Black sharpies on purple Post-Its are the worst. Avoid at all costs.

5. Grip it to Rip it

The last tip to mastering the Post-It note is all about the package. Post-It has actually designed their packaging solution brilliantly by providing a perforated lined down the middle. Make sure you don’t look like a Post-It amateur by attempting to open the package with the side folds. These are a decoy to confuse new designers.

So how can you open a Post-It pack while looking like a boss? Grip it to rip it! There’s nothing more fly than opening a package with one hand to let everyone in the room know you’re a brainstorming god.

Bonus tip: Always keep a pad of Post-Its and a Sharpie in your pocket. You’ll never know when you need to ideate…

What’s Next?

If you want to know the proper way to write on Post-Its, I’ll direct you to Matt Cooper-Wright from IDEO London. He’s written a great post on the topic.