Sharing the buzz on custom stickers--branding and marketing, street art, graphic design, guerilla marketing and more.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SB 1070 Sticker Wars! Part 3: Voices from the Left

With the recent announcement that key provisions of SB 1070 state law will be blocked, subject to
a preliminary injunction by Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton, Arizona's controversial immigration law is once again in the news. Governor Jan Brewer says Arizona will appeal this decision in the Supreme Court, but for now, much of the bill remains unenforceable.

Of course, like all highly charged political issues, this one is being debated on the nation's bumpers. In the last installment of our SB 1070 Sticker Wars! series, we brought you some of the more creative sticker designs from the red side of the political spectrum. Now we bring you a few of the stickers that can be found on the bumpers of those celebrating this week, in Arizona and beyond.

No SB1070--The Show Me Your Papers State
By playing on the design of the Arizona license plate, this sticker makes a statement about how SB 1070 has caused the state to be viewed in some other areas of the country.

We Are Human
Shepherd Fairey, the street artist who came to national recognition for his iconic portrait of Obama during the 2008 election, has created a series of designs opposing SB 1070, one of which appears here.

I Could Be Illegal
These small, round stickers from Cafe Press, come in packs of 10 and are designed to be worn on clothing,
 outerwear and hats.

Have a favorite SB 1070 sticker, from either end of the political spectrum? Custom Sticker Makers wants to know! Leave a link in the comment box and it could be featured in the next installment of our Sticker Wars! 


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Threadless Test: Does Your Sticker Design Have What It Takes to Be a T-Shirt?

So you've got an amazing custom sticker design that's proven popular. Does that same design have what it takes to be a popular t-shirt?

While the answer, as far as your particular design goes, may seem intuitive, it may not be, as the same image that appeals to people as a sticker may or may not inspire them to emblazon it across their chests.

Fortunately, there is a way to test your crossover sticker-to-shirt idea before you invest in getting it printed. Threadless Tees is a website where registered users can submit prospective t-shirt designs, via easy templates, and get them scored by their sophisticated design community.

Of course, Threadless has its own agenda: to find great designs for use on their t-shirts. However, if your design scores high with the Threadless community, chances are, you won't object, as the website awards $2,000-$22,500 for the most popular designs.

Even if your t-shirt design doesn't take the cake, though, this service offers a free and fun way to evaluate the potential of a sticker design as a t-shirt, offering the kind of market research on-the-cheap you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. (And if you're considering multiple designs, send your online friends over pick their favorite.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alphabet Woof!: Family Fun with a Message That Sticks

Children's author Sherrie Madia has a fertile imagination--and so do her daughters, Emma (14) and Anna (12). Together, they created a one-of-a-kind children's book called Alphabet Woof!--the tale of a dog who eats magic soup that allows him to talk. As you might have guessed, this unexpected gift leads Moxy (the dog) and his family on some exciting adventures, told through fun rhymes and illustrations with a great family message.

Alphabet Woof! may be a whimsical tale, but it does some seriously good work in the world, as a portion of the sale of each book goes to support the SPCA International, which helps animals in need--yet another passion Madia shares with her daughters, who started volunteering with their Mom at their local animal shelter when they were young.

Madia and her daughters do a lot of events--from children's events to events for dog lovers--and wherever they go, they witness the same scene: once word gets out about their stickers, children run up in droves with their hands outstretched, asking, "Can I have a sticker?" Followed by, "And can I have one for my little brother? And my cousin, Marco? And my other cousin Sonia..." Recently, Alphabet Woof! Custom Sticker Makers stickers made it to the Tribeca Family Festival (Tribeca, NY) the International Children's Festival (Philadelphia, PA)-and soon, they'll be headed off to PetFest and Woofstock!, also in Pennsylvannia.

Why Custom Sticker Makers? "Not all stickers are created equal!" said Madia. "Our Custom Sticker Makers stickers get rave reviews from children--when kids leave our events, each wearing a Moxy the dog sticker, we know we've gotten it right." She adds that when she and her daughters do events supporting causes for animals and the SPCA, they see their stickers go home on pet carriers and even on the bumpers of people's cars--which they believe is due to the quality of their stickers and their bold, bright colors. Plus, that durable, high-quality vinyl, really helps their message stick.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stuff We Like: iPhone Stickers Personalize, Prevent Dropped Calls

iPhone stickers--some are lovely, some unique. Some actually claim to protect your phone from those pesky dropped calls.

For pure aesthetics, it's hard to beat the fine selection of iPhone stickers/skins and accompanying wallpapers from Skinizi. Featuring international artists like Anita Meija, Anne-Julie and Otto Bjornik--including noted street-artists like Dare--these stickers are made of thin vinyl utilizing 3M adhesive for no-residue removal. (They're also available for other devices, like the iPod, MacBook, PC laptops and more.) As an added bonus, Skinizi also allows you to design your own skins, whether for art or promotion.

However, if you're one of those iPhone 4 users sick of losing calls--and sick of hearing Steve Jobs tell you not to hold it that way--there's a more utilitarian iPhone sticker out there, designed just for you. Named, cornily but memorably, There's a Wrap for That, it's a sticker designed to fit around the perimeter of your iPhone, which manufacturers claim will help to reduce the number of dropped calls.

Link Skinizi's sticker skins, There's a Wrap for That features 3M vinyl for easy removal. It apparently fits the unique contour of the iPhone, completely covering the perimeter of the phone and preventing "death grip" syndrome--with cut outs, of course, for speakers, SIMs cards, headphones, etc. Do they work? Personally, we haven't tested their claims--but for those who've already invested in the latest iPhone, it may be worth the $10.00 for two of these stickers just to find out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mountain Goat Ski Guides: Spreading the Word About the Great Outdoors

Michael Barton may be a professional backcountry ski guide, but he considers it his job "to spread joy in the world"--and he'd like you to know that he takes that job seriously. His business, Mountain Goat Ski Guides, was founded on a vision that education should extend beyond the classroom, and that Mother Nature's awe-inspiring winter playground is the great place for kids and adults alike to explore themselves and the world around them.

Considering a visit to the Silverton, Colorado, area? Mountain Goat offers full-service, professional and insured backcountry ski guiding for individuals and groups, with permits that allow access some of the most majestic mountains in the San Juan Mountains and the experience to keep you safe in rugged territory. Or consider a custom course from Mountain Goat in backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding--or even ecology, snow science, climate change, and mountain travel.

Because Mountain Goat Ski Guides is a small business with a limited budget for marketing, their promotional strategy is built around their website, business cards, and--of course--their stickers. Mountain Goat stickers have proved a big hit with the company's clientele, especially their younger adventurers.

"Custom Sticker Makers' website was easy to use and my order came right away!" said Barton. You can check out the Mountain Goat Ski Guides blog at

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wall Graphics: Repositionable Stickers Double as Wall Art

Around here at Custom Sticker Makers, we print plenty of big stickers for businesses interested in gaining a higher profile without the costs of traditional signage. We also do regular runs of stickers for artists interested in promoting their work. Which is why we've been so fascinated lately with the phenomenon of repositionable wall graphics.

These are large stickers--on average, between 1 and 5 feet square--that can be stuck directly on walls. They work without traditional adhesives, so they can be peeled off and re-stuck up to 100 times. While there are plenty of galleries of preexisting designs out there to choose from, you can also design your own wall graphics and have it printed, just like you would traditional stickers.

Repositionable wall graphics have clear applications for commercial settings, offering the power of large signage anywhere there's a wall--at convention centers, networking lunches, and board rooms, for example. The novelty and size of these items definitely captures attention, and will work in areas where banners and board signage won't.

They also present some great applications for artists, offering the scale of an original or giclee work in an easily-displayed, affordably-reproduced medium. The images you see here are two of our favorite examples from LTL Prints. The penguin is intended for kids' bedrooms, clearly designed for a commercial market, while the second, a delightful mash-up of painting, photo-sticker and peeled-off postal sticker, hails more from the world of street art.

Alternately, smaller-sized versions of your repositionable big sticker designs can be used as laptop stickers, built to spec.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sponsorship Has its Rewards: New England Skateshop Riders "Skate Fresh & Ride Fly"

Kelly Craig and her son, Dylan, had an idea for a way to spend time together and help out with family finances: a one-of-a-kind online skateshop that would feature 100% skater-owned and local skateboard companies right alongside all the top names. The result was, your online source for decks, trucks, wheels, longboards, accessories and more. Dylan's tagline? “Skate Fresh & Ride Fly!”

It's a family business in more ways than one, as there are now more than 675 skaters worldwide who are part of the NewEnglandSkate family. Sponsoring riders is a classic win-win marketing situation: it's a great way for the company to get the word out about all that amazing skategear they offer (which ships anywhere in the world), and a great way for riders to get discounts on all the gear they need. NewEnglandSkate helps to promote all levels of riders and features their skateboarding photos and videos on all of its social media and networking sites.

All of those sponsored riders, of course, need NewEnglandSkate stickers for their decks--as did all those skaters who turned out for The Dew Tour 2010 stop in Boston, Massachusetts, NewEnglandSkate world headquarters. To date, the company has given out over 600 custom stickers in three different styles at a variety of skating events.

"Custom Sticker Makers great prices and easy ordering were the key to making my decision," said Craig. "They print quality work, and if I have any issues with the design, I know I can call them and they will make it right for me. They are a company I can trust."