Aside from serving as the model for our NEOS logo, and making frequent appearances at our marketing events, the Post-it note is the icon of the office products industry. I have seen many products come and go since the Post-it was launched in 1980, but you will be hard pressed to find an office or cubicle without a note stuck somewhere. Here are some facts that I found interesting and hopefully you will too.
- Post-it adhesive was invented in 1968 by Dr Spencer Silver, a research scientist for 3M Company. He had hoped to use as a spray or to produce a new bulletin board with a sticky surface, but got little interest from management.
- In 1974 3M Product Development Engineer Arthur Fry was singing in his church choir and his bookmark kept falling out of his hymnal causing him to lose his place. He had attended a product demonstration by Dr Silver, and got the idea to put the new adhesive on his bookmark and the concept was born.
- Post-it notes are yellow because the lab next door had some yellow scrap paper that they used in the initial development, and continued using yellow paper.
- 3M management was not confident the product would be a commercial success. They initially tested it under the name Press and Peel in 1977, and it did not do well. A year later they introduced Post-it notes by giving free samples in Boise, Idaho. The “Boise Blitz” produced a 90% reorder rate which was double the best intial rate 3M had ever seen. Post-its were officially released throughout the US two years later.
When people ask me how long I have worked in the office supply industry I say before the Post-it note was invented. I must now correct myself and say after it was invented but before it was released to consumers. It took 12 years and almost did not make it. Can you imagine a world without the Post-it note?