StickersSeptember 12, 2023by Heidi Waterhouse

New sticker day!

What is the new hotness in stickers this year? Let's look!

Who doesn’t love that fresh autumnal feeling of summer waning, pumpkin spice erupting, and the smell of fresh school supplies? Probably lots of people. But I love it. And now that I’m not going to classes, I have to get my school supply job in a different way – stickers! The conference season is about to swing into the busy season of (Northern Hemisphere) fall, with a sprint between now and the end of AWS re:Invent. It’s time to order new stickers, use all that branding testing you did in the quiet quarter, and get your brand as many places as possible.

I just got a sticker sampler pack from my favorite sticker vendor, StickerApp. What follows is a picture essay of how I feel about their printing stocks, but you’re probably busy, so here’s the summary:

I have always been very satisfied with their product and their service. I think their most beautiful product right now is the matte mirrorball.

The color card and back of the matte mirror-printed stickers. The back of the sticker has a repeating motif that says Back Printing, and a label identifying the print stock.
This is my pick for the sticker look of the year. The colors are intense, the matte finish makes it stand out from most of the stickers around, and the mirror means that there’s a depth and movement you don’t get in conventional vinyl.

Click through for more analysis.

If stickers were easy to photograph, they wouldn’t mail me a sticker sample pack, but it’s probably worth while to at least show you what I’m talking about.

A grid four stickers wide by two tall. All the stickers are printed in yellow, black, and white, and have different imaginary brands. The left two are "mirrored" stock, so the unprinted parts of the sticker show a silver mirror effect. The top one has a glossy finish, and the bottom has a matte finish. The second column is "holographic", which means that the silvery-unprinted parts have a mild colorshift effect. Again, the top is glossy and the bottom is matte. The third column is standard vinyl, with glossy and matte. The fourth column is prismatic and kraft, described in another picture.
A comparison of the glossy and matte finished on mirror, holographic, and standard stock. The fourth column is prismatic and kraft papers

The matte finish tends to dim the holographic effect, which is probably why there isn’t a prismatic matte finish. The vinyl is less exciting than all the fancy options, but it’s also much more affordable, and you will get something high quality that doesn’t feel cheap or thin.

Stickers in yellow, black, and white. the one on the top is printed on prismatic stock, so it has little squares that seem to catch the light. The one on the bottom is printed on coated kraft (brown/butcher) paper.
Prismatic and kraft paper options. The kraft paper is coated so that it will be more durable than just paper.

Kraft paper (also known as butcher paper or brown paper) is highly textured and tends to be associated with more earthy/wholesome/diy products. You’d use this stock if you wanted people to think of your brand as authentic and folksy.

I am holding a glitter sticker, where the unprinted part has holographic glitter showing, and there is also a yellow-tinted label at the bottom. Below the sticker I'm holding is a sticker sheet of purplish stickers with "pixie glitter", which is a much finer size of glitter.
Two variants on glitter, standard, and the “pixie glitter” that they just added.
A purple-tinted sticker sheet with pixie-dust fine glitter. There is a young, blue-haired cartoon woman standing by a race car, and other stickers that say "Eat My Dust" and showing car keys. Each sticker has an element of fine glitter.
I love this sticker sheet. It has several different stickers, all showing off the pixie dust glitter.

I’m so excited that they’ve added this much finer/smaller glitter option. The bigger glitter tended to make it hard to read very fine details on small stickers because the glitter particle size was so large. That is at least partially a sticker design problem.

A promotional leaflet that includes some information about the artist that designed the pixie dust stickers, including print, a QR code, and a photo. It's not impressive until you realize it's the back of the sticker sheet.
This is one of the best innovations in stickers. You can print things on the back. Lots of things. I think QR codes are especially well-suited for smaller stickers, but this is great value.

Back printing is such a game-changer. It gives you a chance to get secondary interaction from the sticker, not just branding. It’s like a business card or flyer, but now on something that people actually want to take and will keep.

A sticker that says "Brushed Aluminum". It has a pair of cats-eye sunglasses. The unprinted part of the sticker is a metallic silver. The lenses of the sunglasses are overprinted with yellow, so you see the metallic, but with a color wash.
Brushed aluminum that shows both unprinted and overprinted looks for the metallic look.

This brushed alumunium looks great, and is not actually heavier or thicker than a standard high-quality vinyl sticker. Oh, wow. I just realized that this is a Taylor Swift-themed sticker.

Three stickers in yellow, black, and white. The one on top says "Heavy Duty". You can't really tell from the picture, but the stock is heavier, more like a car bumper sticker. The next one says "Removable". The third one says "Epoxy", and is a partially rounded dome.
These three stickers are what I think of as specialty. The heavy duty one really is – it feels like a car bumper sticker. The epoxy one is a partially rounded dome and feels almost like a button. The removable one I’ll talk about in another image.
Me peeling back the corner of the sticker labeled removable, and showing that it came up cleanly.
If you’ve ever used the 3M heavy-duty/outside use Post-It notes, this feels like that kind of glue. It sticks pretty securely, but also allowed me to pick up the corner and remove it cleanly. Great for people who fear commitment!
Two stickers, in glossy and matte. They say "Clear", and part of the letters in that word is transparent. I've placed them over a scribbled page so that you can see how the underlayer comes through
I put these clear stickers across some scribbling on a notebook page so you can see how the underlayer shows through.
7 color-swatch cards that show how different CMYK colors print on different stocks. The glossy and matte differences are more apparent when there is no printing in the way.
The swatches of how CMYK colors look when they are printing on different stocks. You can pick any color, but it’s nice to have examples without the printing/art obscuring the colors.

One that I don’t have a picture for, but is available is glow-in-the-dark. I really wanted to design a LaunchDarkly sticker to take advantage of that effect, but I didn’t get around to it.

Another cool sticker is Calm Strips, which are restickable sensory-focused stickers.

Hope this helps!