Emma's Love Letter to Stickers

Feb 9th 2024

You can tell so much about a person based on what stickers they choose to put on their personal items. This is something I actively pay attention to; it's a small window into someone’s life. Even if it’s just a sticker slapped on the back of a phone case, it was still an active choice that was made and there’s always a story or memory linked.

I’ve been an avid collector of stickers ever since I was a child. I would have binders and binders full of my most precious finds. Sparkly, neon colored, holographic, glow in the dark, fuzzy, scratch n sniff– I would gladly take anything that caught my eye. Lisa Frank stickers were a particular favorite of mine.

As I got older, my love of over-personalizing carried on. My water bottle for cross country was covered in stickers from vacations and pop culture based jokes. Recently, I’ve noticed stickers being placed on over-the-ear headphones. This wasn’t a space I would’ve thought about personalizing, but why not? I’m mad I didn’t think of it first!

When I got a laptop going into college, I carefully curated the stickers that would be on display to my new classmates, hoping that one of them would spark up a conversation and lead to a new friend. Laptop stickers acted like a personal profile, quickly culminating all of my interests to the world.

I always got a lot of responses about my “I saved Latin, what did you ever do?” sticker. Most people thought that I claimed to do this instead of knowing it was a quote from Wes Anderson’s movie Rushmore, which was one of my favorites at the time. However, for those that knew the reference, we were immediately kindred spirits. For those that got the niche John Mulaney sticker, it was an immediate ice breaker. I remember sitting next to a girl in my Intro to American Politics class, who had a similar one and we ended up pairing up for multiple group projects!

I’ve kept journals since middle school and with each I covered them with any sticker I could find. Each was documenting their time and place. The stickers were contributed and worked in tandem with the words that filled the pages. They may be stickers from a club I recently joined or from a store I went to. The stickers and the journals both documented my life. It was cool seeing all of my previous “I Voted” stickers or the ones from the clubs I was heavily involved in during college, those all meant so much to me then. It’s a great way to honor past versions of myself.

My wardrobe, a black cupboard where I keep my pants and other folded pieces of clothes, has become my current hub of stickers. It consists of stickers from record stores, tattoo parlors, press passes from concerts I’ve reviewed, promotional stickers from online shops, and even some made by my friends. They’re collaged in a way that’s given life to a less-than-exciting piece of furniture that I picked up at a thrift store.

I love spying stickers around the city on light poles or street signs, layered over each other, interacting with each other like a wordless conversation. They tell a story of the city, withstanding all of the elements thrown at them. Lots of these stickers have QR codes attached which can create curiosity and also share information that may not fit on a small vinyl square.

Bar bathrooms are always covered with stickers and messages written on the stalls. Advertising a new brewery or an artist making a statement, it’s a bulletin board that inhabits the pulse of the city. When a human places a sticker, they want to share something they care about with their community. I also love seeing a lot of stickers that spread info and resources for people in the community, whether this be for mental health services or mutual aid. People are looking out for one another, which is an uplifting reminder.

I’ve had some stickers for as long as I can remember and they have the power to stay with me through many more apartments and corners of the world. So, if you’ve ever wondered about stickers yourself, that’s the kind of reach they can have. Stickers literally stick with people and can become part of their day-to-day life and for long periods of one’s life. Want to make some of your own? As an avid user of stickers, I’m happy to help make yours the best for your use. Reach out today and let’s see how far they can go.

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