Sticky notes are much more than simple notepads! If used correctly, they can be ultimate portable marketing tools. Sticky notes were originally marketed to workplaces, but they can now be found everywhere. At home, they come in handy for grocery lists, phone numbers, to-do lists, and reminders. They’re used in magazine advertising to highlight a new product’s advantages; if the reader desires, he or she can peel away the sticky note and take the ad. They also make great bookmarks for students! Sticky notes' functionality leads users to wonder how these little unassuming notes came about and how they are made.
The idea for sticky notes originated by accident. Dr. Spencer Silver, a Senior Scientist in the 3M Corporation’s Research Lab, discovered a repositionable adhesive in 1968. It hadn’t been his goal to do so, because at the time 3M’s philosophy was "the stickier the better." What could they possibly do with glue that didn’t stick well? Dr. Silver demonstrated the semi-sticky glue for many of his colleagues, but no one could think of a feasible and profitable application for it; so, it stayed in the lab for six years until Art Fry came along.
Fry was a product development engineer at 3M and had seen one of Dr. Silver’s glue demonstrations, but inspiration for the sticky note didn't strike until he was at church one Sunday. Fry was a member of his church’s choir and often marked pages in his hymnal with bits of paper that almost always fell out. What if he could stick the bits of paper to the pages of the hymnal without damaging the book? Dr. Silver’s glue seemed to be the answer!
Fry got some of the glue, applied it to strips of paper, and tried it on his hymnal. The experiment did work, but with one small downside—too much of the adhesive was left behind on the pages when the bookmark was removed, causing the pages to stick together when the book was closed. Fry went back to the lab and applied a chemical primer to the paper first. This caused the adhesive to stick better to the paper than it would to any other surface. He tried the bookmarks again, and this time they left nothing behind on the book’s pages. Post-It® Notes were born.
Up to that point, 3M had only ever produced rolled products like adhesive tape, so the company’s engineers had to create and build new machinery to accommodate the flat pads and eventually cubes of paper. Then they had to find a way to apply the adhesive without gumming up the machinery. While this was a very expensive venture, it also gave 3M market dominance because few companies had the budget to back such an undertaking. As any company does, 3M guards its trade secrets so the exact process of how sticky notes are made, or how text and graphics are printed on them, must be left to the imagination.
After several sample tests across the country, Post-It® Notes were launched nationwide in 1980. Nearly 30 years later, the line has expanded from the original square, canary-yellow sticky notes to 61 other colors and 25 different shapes; they now generate more than one billion dollars of revenue every year! The vast success of sticky notes is no fluke. Millions of businesses, organizations, and offices use custom adhesive notepads and paper cubes both to advertise and provide employees with supplies they need. Whether you decide on sticky flag sets, personalized shapes, or classic adhesive-backed squares to market your company, you'll be happy with your choice. One thing is a definite: you have thousands of exciting options to choose from!
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