The Art of the laptop sticker

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Who doesn’t want a flag waving cat sitting astride a fire breathing unicorn in their life?

For some years now tech companies have had to think about the type of swag they typically give away at events. Whether contributing to a tote bag of randomness or finding ways to entice conference attendees to leave the venue with their brand top of mind, we’ve been spoilt with pens, note pads, mints and useless gonks for years. But at recent events the one item I’ve looked for with any interest has been the obligatory sticker. It’s all about the laptop sticker.


Now, you’d normally expect said sticker to be in simple corporate lay out. Logo, on white, in a rectangle. Pure and simple. Wrong. What started off as a simple presentation of the corporate logo de jour has now turned into a new wave of designs that are making the sticker a key piece of branding. That’s where the cats and unicorns come in. I wanted to dig a little deeper into why this is the case and hopefully inspire you to take a look at the stickers you’re producing.


Why do companies invest in producing stickers?

  • Stickers are extremely cost effective ways to advertise and essentially low risk. For an initial outlay of say £100 you can produce a number of stickers to give out an event and see if people react positively towards them.
  • They last a long time. Longer than any pen I’d wager. And they stick to things. Again for a long time. In short, they hang around and act as a permanent reminder of your brand.
  • Peeling off the back and sticking it to something like a laptop is a sign of trust. If a developer is prepared to walk around with your brand upon his most precious piece of computing tech what greater endorsement could you want?
  • They’re easy to produce. In half a day you could have an initial design done and submitted. No lengthy sign off or endless meetings.
  • They create a buzz. People talk about these far more than a pen. Far more than a leaflet.

Ok you convinced me! What else should I consider?

  • Be careful about size. Too big and no one is prepared to give you that much real estate on their laptop. Too small and no one will know what brand your little sticky dot represents.
  • Think Pokeman! – “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” is the mantra at events. Over the course of a weekend or a series of yearly events, make your stickers a collectable to be prized, sought, maybe even fought over. The Braintree folk behind Battlehack have been doing this all year with their Tron style collection. And GitHub are famous for doing it.
  • On a practical note, if your sticker is a weird shape, think die cut or kiss cut. In other words, stickers pre-cut to the shape of the design and easy to un-peel. Developers don’t want to do all the fussy work themselves.
  • Be creative: Steve Jobs didn’t put that illuminated apple on your laptop just to look all nice and shiny now did he? Use it. If it’s not Banksy then it’s this clever riff on that other Big Apple, New York.

I spoke with one of our in-house designers and asked him if he had any tips on what to consider when creating a memorable sticker:

  1. Keep things simple
  2. Use bold, flat colours
  3. Nothing too small or intricate- it needs to look good from a short distance away
  4. The more striking and fun the better – make people want to stick it on their laptop
  5. As far as spec for print – ideally artwork should be created and saved as a vector (EPS or AI) file. Otherwise a 300dpi JPG at the correct dimensions and make sure you use CMYK colour mode.

There is also the following tutorial that is worth a watch if you’re thinking of cutting your first sticker in Adobe.

Ok, I’ve got my sticker design, so who print them?

Needless to say there are an endless number of sticker suppliers, but some sites worth visiting include StickermuleVinyl Revolution and Stickerbot. The guys at Stickerbot also run a nice blog that is well worth dipping into to see plenty of examples. Heck, there is even a marketplace now for these things at the Stickermule show. It’s a bit like the old days when you’d cheat on your Panini sticker album by buying up the last remaining players you couldn’t quite source on the playground.

It's what Steve Jobs would have wanted...
It’s what Steve Jobs would have wanted…



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About the author

Jamie Parkins

Product Manager, Evangelist and all things API

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