Evolution of the Physical Distancing Sticker in COVID-19

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By Andrew Witkin, CEO, StickerYou

“Stay six feet apart.”

“Curbside delivery now available.”

“Yes, we’re open — but only if you’re wearing a mask!”

You’ve probably seen these messages and many more like them lately as businesses attempt to safely reopen their doors. Messaging plays a vital role in the nation’s ongoing efforts to bounce back from COVID-19, but it’s not just what you say that matters; it’s how you say it. And these days, it might be a bit surprising to learn that stickers, decals, and other “temporary” solutions are becoming a permanent part of the solution.

A Quickly-Evolving Sticker Message

In the early days of the pandemic, handwritten signs and hastily-printed messages were being taped up to shop windows and doors across the nation. When we all thought that things would be back to normal in a few weeks, these homemade solutions seemed sufficient. In the months since, it’s become much more common to see these messages printed professionally on stickers, labels, and decals. As it turns out, they’re the perfect medium in a situation that calls for rapid changes.

COVID turned our economy on its head virtually overnight, and the resulting social distancing restrictions have reshaped the way we do pretty much everything. As we learned more and more about the way the virus spreads, these social distancing guidelines changed as well. In a rapidly evolving situation like this, the fast turnaround time of printing stickers and decals lets businesses keep up with the latest requirements while ensuring their customers are safe and informed.

Speed to market is just one benefit of using stickers to communicate important pandemic-related information. They are also far more affordable than permanent signage or changes to product packaging. This is a time when many businesses are operating on even tighter budgets than usual, and custom stickers hit a sweet spot for affordability and their capacity to look professional.

Stickers Working Everywhere

Adhesive labels are incredibly versatile. By now you’ve surely seen stickers covering the floor of your local grocery or convenience store, advising people where to stand to maintain their six feet of spacing. That’s a valuable solution that’s perfectly suited to a sticker’s overall durability. But it’s not the only way businesses are using decals in their COVID reopening plans.

Many businesses are now using stickers and decals to promote new services and products. They’re ideal for advertising a business’s new contactless payment systems, altered hours of operation, or delivery options. And if you’re one of the many companies introducing bespoke masks and hand sanitizers to your product line, a big sticker in the shop window is a great way to get attention from your clientele.

It’s the versatility and affordability that make stickers a great choice for these applications. Businesses are able to display new information quickly or alter existing signage while avoiding overspending to promote temporary products or conditions.

Adapting the Sticker for the Future

The battle against COVID-19 is sure to be an ongoing struggle, and new solutions will play an important role in both economic and societal recovery strategies. It should be no surprise by now that stickers will be a central part of that fight.

Stickers and decals have always been great for injecting personality into everyday objects, and that role has become absolutely vital for bringing positivity into a society hidden behind facemasks and other PPE. Stickers provide the ability to personalize PPE, which can be as simple as adding a name or other personal identifier. For many, this is simply a way to keep tabs on their gear or to show a little bit of individuality. But for frontline workers who deal with children or groups with special needs, these custom touches can make all the difference. Brightening up a mask with stickers, adding a name tag to make the wearer more easily identifiable, or even adding a custom-printed picture of the person wearing the mask, can make a huge difference.

And like the messaging itself, the medium is evolving as well. One new tool in the fight against COVID is the iron-on transfer, which is being used to customize cloth masks quickly and easily. Much like the sticker, this is a technology that’s been around for a long time but is finding a new and important role in showing the world that we’re still smiling behind our masks.

Andrew Witkin is the founder and CEO of StickerYou, a global, e-commerce leader in custom-printed, die-cut products that empower consumers and businesses to create high-quality materials for personal expression, marketing, and packaging.



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