The Black Art of Sticky Notes

Gabrielle writes about some handy tips for using Sticky Notes


While reading the great blog posts from Ryan on his Design thinking class on, I saw the photo of the class stickies.

Ryan Shriver's Design Class Sticky Notes, posted on a desk.

It reminded me to post some handy tips for using sticky notes.

Take a look at sample a) and b) which one do you prefer?  Right, b) is so much easier to read for two reasons.

Sticky Notes in portrait and landscape orientation with various types of pens

  1. Use a marker not a regular pen. Little pens lead to little text and – unless you have x-men sight skills – unreadable at a distance. Don’t do it. Do however choose the right marker. Sharpies are ok but I don’t use them as much anymore as they tend to bleed through the paper and onto the next sticky underneath. I also painted our workshop space with whiteboard paint or use a lot of whiteboard space so again, not a smart move to use a permanent marker. And don’t get my started on the fashion faux pas of getting markers on my clothes.
    Not all of us have free vendor wear t-shirts.
    Just saying.
    Go for whiteboard markers.
  2. Get the right weight. I like the goldilocks weight – not too thick like this:, not too thin like this. Just right like this.
  3. Rip the stickies off side to side not top to bottom. [pic of them on board top rip, side rip]
  4. Usually use super sticky notes as regular stickies don’t last long. If you are putting them on paper however they are a pain to remove and can rip the paper so best on whiteboards or walls.
  5. When layering like-type stickies don’t stick directly on top of one another as the glue backing somehow repels the one on top (don’t smother me dude) so lay it slightly below the sticky back line otherwise it will fall to it’s death. Which brings me to the last point.
  6. If a sticky note does fall to its death and nobody notices, let it stay dead. It means nobody wanted it anyway and hey, that’s less work for everyone. Nice.

There is also an alternative to sticky notes – Stattys. Stattys are static cling, so no stickiness. I love these as you can slide things around at will and they stick to surfaces the sticky notes have trouble with. I’d say the biggest downside is that they do smear a lot more so you have to be careful when writing and placing them to start with. Once they dry it’s all good.


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