Updated: Apr 20
Like most college kids, my laptop used to be covered in stickers that I’d collected from all sorts of venues. A lot of the typical stuff; Vans, bands, tattoo shops. But I was interacting with stickers far less, or at least it seemed that way, and I had a venue for them to reside. But lately, as I’ve been doing my deep dives into local art, visiting craft markets, studios, etc. I keep coming across these rad artists making super cool, high quality stickers and I keep buying them. But here’s the thing… I don’t have anywhere to put them.
My beat up and very well loved laptop has been retired, I don’t want to tarnish my new/expensive technology, I don’t have a water bottle that’s good for stickers (I know that’s popular), and I’m picky as hell. I think that’s why we all have the same general stickers on all of our stuff, they appear to everyone at some point or another so no one is really worried about them getting ruined. But I’ve built a collection of beautiful stickers, not just in imagery but also quality, and I don’t want to put them on anything that I’m not going to regularly see or that at some point I’m going to throw away. The problem is that these stickers are just too good and I don’t want to tarnish them by putting them on something lame!
But while I absolutely have an addiction that is silly, I think this does go to the value of making something like stickers. Prints are awesome, and I think all artists should look to make duplicates of their work for volume and accessibility purposes, but if I don’t have space for a print or I’m on the fence about it, I can pretty easily talk myself out of buying one. But with stickers it’s just so easy, almost too easy, they’re either free or like a dollar and who doesn’t have an old dollar they can’t find a use for sitting in their wallet? Every time I see the stickers I think to myself, “I don’t really have a space for it… but it’s only $1.” If you’re someone who’s trying to get their work out there then something cheap and easy like a sticker is an awesome way to do so.
There’s not a lot of money in stickers, sure, but a big part of the art game is just getting yourself out there. Isn’t it? Well if you can front the money to get a stack or roll of rad stickers and just give them away, then BAM, you’re out there. If you can sell them for a dollar or two, then you’ve built some recognizability and made your money back in the process, maybe even a little profit. Stickers are a growing market and there’s so many awesome outlets that you can get really high quality stickers from, you’re going to have to sell them for a little more but if you build yourself up and then offer a superior product with even better work on it, people will pay. Hell, I talked to an artist recently and he went in on some fancy stickers with a friend and they were able to get the volume discount of high quality stickers without fronting all the money themselves and they got a dope product out of it.
Stickers are one of the coolest and easiest ways to get your work out there. They’re fun, relatively cheap to make, and are likely going to be placed on a frequently viewed surface so a whole bunch of people are instantly, unknowingly interacting with your work all of the time. If you’re a young artist looking to make a little money off of your craft and grow in the process, stickers are the way to go. They’re just a cheap, money-making marketing tool that I will definitely buy from you. We’ve even got stickers here at Plebeian (get some if you don’t have any) and they’re some of my favorite and I love seeing them around, even if no one knows what they’re for.