Advertising & Marketing

History & Uses of Sticky Notes: The Essential Desk Accessory

Almost every desk includes a pad of Post-it® Notes or sticky notes.  When it comes to desk accessories, sticky notes are a staple. How did we manage without them? Read on to learn who invented sticky notes, and history of this unique combination of glue and paper we cannot live without.  

What Is a Sticky Note? 

A sticky note is a piece of paper with adhesive along one side of the back of the paper. The adhesive is strong enough to cling to objects but weak enough to allow for a temporary bond. The adhesive allows the note to be stuck, unstuck and even re-stuck, without leaving adhesive behind or damaging the object it is stuck to. Sticky notes are usually a smaller size paper, and can be lined or unlined.  

Who Invented Sticky Notes?  

Unlike the Post-it® Note, ‘sticky note’ is a general term that is not trademarked, patented or attached to a specific inventor. It is used to describe any pad of paper with removable adhesive along one side. The very first sticky note was the patented and trademarked Post-it® Note. So the real question is: who Invented Post-it® Notes? The Post-it® Note was invented by Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver. Since then, other brands have created their own generic versions, known broadly as sticky notes. 

When Were Post-It® Notes Invented?  

They were invented around 1968. The name Post-it® Note was patented until 1997 and remains trademarked today. In 1968, inventor Spencer Silver, a chemist at 3M, was attempting to create an adhesive strong enough to use in aircraft construction but the adhesive he developed was too weak. 

Meanwhile, Arthur Fry, who also worked at 3M, was in a church choir and marked his hymn pages with bookmarks. He found that the bookmarks fell out of his hymn book very easily. He decided to use the sticky material developed by Spencer Silver to create a bookmark that would not fall out. From there, the Post-it® Note was invented, followed by the many other kinds of non-trademarked sticky notes.  

What Makes Sticky Notes So Popular?  

How did we manage before sticky notes? Lots of paper clips, staples, tape and paperweights were used. Along came the sticky note and so much was simplified: 

  • Sticky Notes Are Convenient: With a sticky note pad on a desk, in a bag or in a backpack, your message or reminder can easily be stuck where it will be most visible. This can be a computer screen, a book cover, a fridge, door or anywhere else. If it needs to be noted, wherever you are, a sticky note does the job.  
  • Sticky Notes Are Noticeable: When we see a sticky note, we think, ‘This is important’. Unlike a scrap of paper or scribble in the margin, a sticky note is the first thing we see when we look at a document or a desk. Sticky notes come in all different colours and sizes so you can match the sticky note with the message.
  • Sticky Notes Are Satisfying: Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about a sticky note is that once we complete the task or reminder, we get to remove and discard the note with flourish and fanfare! 
  • Sticky Notes Mean Business: The temporary nature of the sticky note gives them a sense of urgency and encourages us to address the note on it before doing other things: make that appointment, share that file, change that password, call your mum! 

How Can I Use Sticky Notes to Advertise My Small Business?  

When your logo is on a sticky note pad, your name is attached to important tasks that need immediate attention. Sticky note pads make great promotional giveaways wherever reminders are kept, notes are shared and documents are tagged.  

Hand them out at schools, via direct mail, at the office and at trade shows. If you are hosting a special event or fundraiser, distribute personalised sticky notes to guests. When brainstorming with a client, use customised sticky notes to capture and organise ideas on a wall or white board.   

Consider these sticky note products to highlight your small business, special event or charity:  

Memo Pad and Sticky Notes: This attractive set looks great on every desk and includes sticky notes and a pad of paper for all your recipients’ note-taking needs.  

Recycled Sticky Note Pad: With neon flags, plus two sizes of sticky note pads, this set boasts a cover made of recycled paper as well.  

Block-Mate® 1C Small Memo Block 100×100: Your logo gets noticed from any angle on this customisable cube of sticky notes.  

Sticky-Mate® A7 Sticky Notes 100×75: Great for mailings and customer service desks, this sticky note pad is offered in a range of colours to match your branding style.   

Shop our complete collection of promotional sticky notes to find the one that’s perfect for your budget and campaign. Keep your name visible on every surface with sticky notes for every customer!


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