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Vicki Langer
Vicki Langer

Posted on • Updated on

Rules to Stick to: My Observations About Stickers

Last week, I attended All Things Open 2019 and made a post about it here. I managed to pick up A LOT of stickers. I mean, who would walk through a building with 100s of booths and not score some swag? Anyway, what I noticed is that some stickers just didn't do their job and others were amazing.

Why Stickers

As a business, your goal is to get some ROI on your stickers. You give them away, for free, so people can put them on things and advertise for you. Your sticker will be on some laptop or car and other people are going to see it. That's the point, right? So, your website, your social media, or something that will tell people where to find the maker of the awesome sticker. If you don't, you lose out on valuable marketing.

The Good and Bad

some stickers just didn't do their job and others were amazing.

Who did these come from?

For example, booths gave these out, but they won't have a longterm return because there's no brand identifier.

the one on the left says "higher standards for open source". The one on the right says "Test your equipment"

I have no clue who did the sticker on the left, but the "test your equipment sticker" was at the Linode booth. Do you see what Linode did right with this sticker? The sticker adds value to the consumer and the sticker is on-brand.

Why do people want your sticker?

Consumer values can vary. I asked on twitter and got a few different answers, here's one.

Basically, if you can improve their life, consumers are more likely to use the sticker.

How do you add value to a sticker?

  • Make it useful
  • make it cute
  • make it a reminder
  • make it a list
  • make it funny
  • make it support something

There are so many other ways that I can't think of. By the way, it's also a good idea to allude to what your company does. Sonatype does this with the "automate faster than evil" sticker.

Here are some stickers I grabbed that add value. These will get used, even if a consumer doesn't use the company's product.

plethora of stickers that add value through cuteness, usefullness, support, or funny. Credit for these stickers (Sonatype, SauceLabs, ThisDot, Twilio,, Codacy, Netlify, ChickTech, Flywheel)

Why be useful when you can simply use your logo

Lastly, I should address the name/logo/mascot-only stickers. These are okay if you're a known brand within your category. If you're not as well known as the big companies, you should try a sticker that adds more.

These can be fine if your user base is already loyal, but you could do better and really add value.

bunches of stickers showing just a name, mascot, or logo. Credit for these stickers (Github, OpenJam, Stack overflow,, GitLab, MongoDB,, Disney Tech, Stickermule, YourStacks, The OPEN organization, Linode, ChickTech)

Top comments (2)

katiemccaskey profile image
Katie McCaskey

Oh, I like how you've brought design thinking into the conversation here. I'm a fan (admittedly biased) of the "Legalize Open Source" sticker you include from Sonatype.

vickilanger profile image
Vicki Langer

Design thinking? It must be one of those things I was doing and didn't realize or have the words for.

I am not biased and I am a fan of this sticker too.

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