I have to admit that the one thing I cannot live without in my office is Post-it Notes. I am completely at a loss without those little sticky back papers! As it turns out, I am not alone! Post-it Notes are one of the five top-selling office products in the United States. With over $100 million dollars in revenue since its discovery, Post-its have to be one of the most useful tools to mankind.
I was curious about the story behind Post-it Notes and surprised to find out that they were not a planned product. Back in 1970 a man named Spencer Silver was working in the 3M research laboratories trying to find a strong adhesive. Silver developed a new adhesive, but it was even weaker than what 3M already manufactured. It stuck to objects, but could easily be lifted off. It was really weak instead of really strong. No one new what to do with the adhesive, but Silver didn’t discard it.
One Sunday morning about four years later, another 3M scientist named Arthur Fry was singing in the church’s choir. He used markers to keep his place in the hymnal, but they were always falling out of the book. Remembering Silver’s adhesive, Fry used some to coat his markers. Success! With the weak adhesive, the markers stayed in place, yet lifted off without damaging the pages.
Fry’s colleagues started using their bookmark samples as notes and soon were at his desk saying that they were instant addicts and demanding more samples. As the circle of addiction quickly spread within the product development laboratory, it became obvious that the little, self-attaching notes were a very useful product. They realized that they didn’t just have a bookmark, but a new way to communicate or organize information.
The Post-it Note was born.
The innovation process consisted of testing samples for every possible application that could be thought of. There were many tough problems to solve in manufacturing, quality, packaging, and sales.
Believe it or not, Post-it Notes were not an instant hit! In 1977, test markets failed to show consumer interest. However, in 1980, 3M implemented a massive consumer sampling strategy, and the Post-it Note took off without ever looking back.
Over the years, office workers have gotten pretty creative with their beloved Post-it Notes. Check out some of this art!
This mosaic of the king was designed and built by tw0 employees over a Memorial Day weekend. Check out the detail and change of colors.
Can you imagine what Walt said when he realized his Jag was covered in Post-it Notes? I wonder how long this little prank took!
It took over 1000 Post-it Notes to cover this 2002 blue Saturn. Do these people really have jobs?
This is Post Typography’s Post-It note installation at the HOME exhibition for Metropolis magazine. What a great wall treatment!
Okay, so maybe this last one isn’t so much art. What a great office prank! I would hate to be the one who was asked to clean up this mess.