The ‘sticky note’ has been a desktop staple since the 1970s when they were ‘accidentally’ invented by Dr. Spencer Silver.

Dr Silver, a scientist at 3M in the United States, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive, but instead he accidentally created a low-tack, reusable adhesive. The initial use for the sticky note was as page marker in a hymnbook, but the idea quickly caught on and soon people were scribbling on them up and down the country. Sticky notes came to Europe in 1981 and, because of their affordability and usefulness, quickly became a favourite branded corporate gift.

But recently the humble sticky note has gained a new artistic following, appearing in some impressive works of art. US artist Rebecca Murtaugh was the first to start working with the medium, using thousands of the neon coloured notes to cover her entire bedroom.

The artist used 10,000 sticky notes to cover her bedroom over the course of six days. The project cost her a staggering $1000 to complete! She named the installation ‘To Mark A Significant Space in the Bedroom’, explaining: “Sticky notes are used to mark something significant – such as a page in a book, an important message and so on. So this got me thinking about the space I occupy every day.”

Murtaugh went on to cover the living room at her home in California with a further 3,600 sticky notes.

Equally striking, but a little more practical, Duncan Wilson and Sirkka Hammer created wallpaper made from four layers of different coloured sticky notes. Designed to be written on and peeled off, the look of the wallpaper evolved according to usage. Called ‘Pixelnotes’, the wallpaper won second place in the ‘New Walls, Please!’ competition.

Sticky note Yoda on a New York office

The trend for sticky note art spread from galleries to offices, with employees at Expedia in Seattle sparking a competitive ‘sticky note war’ amongst nearby companies. The trend spread to other cities and countries, with more and more elaborate creations emerging. Here’s some of the most remarkable.

And now it appears we have a phantom sticky note-er here in the UK; according to this article in a local newspaper, someone has been covering cars – and even parts of a house – with the small paper notes. Not quite as impressive as the works seen elsewhere, but it must have taken some doing to reach the satellite dish!

If you fancy yourself as sticky note artist and think you could do a better job, we offer a wide range of fully brandable sticky notes starting from just 17p a pad. They can be produced in any pantone colour meaning you can create exactly the look you want to achieve. Who knows, you might even start a sticky note war!

Book a Discovery Call

Schedule a 15-minute discovery call to discuss your workwear or merchandising needs, and discover how Leighmans can champion your brand.