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The World’s Favorite Reminder Celebrates 30 Years of Innovation and Design


What started 30 years ago as a little Canary Yellow piece of paper with a repositionable adhesive has evolved into a powerhouse brand with more than 1,000 office products and tools designed to make organization and communication more convenient, seamless, stylish and sustainable.

Post-it® Products today continue to be fresh, contemporary and relevant.

“The Post-it® brand has always been about making communication and organization easier,” said Bill Smith, vice president and general manager, Office Supplies Division. “By demonstrating product versatility and a commitment to contemporary consumers’ concerns, such as sustainability, the Post-it® brand continues to introduce new and innovative solutions to the world as we celebrate our 30th anniversary. We hear daily from many people that life without these iconic products is simply unimaginable.”

Some of the newest Post-it® Products are in the label, craft and writing tool segments of the market.

Label it right, identify it easily
3M’s first full line of labels was launched last year and includes Post-it® Removable Labels, Post-it® Name Badges and Post-it® Label Pads. These products were developed in response to consumer requests for labels that are adaptable for all sorts of uses, easy to write on, easy to apply to a variety of surfaces and simple to remove.

Post-it® Removable Labels stick to a variety of surfaces, from project folders to food storage containers to doors. There are full-adhesive label pads, an 8.5-inch by 11-inch label that is ideal for larger signage, and color-coding labels in several sizes of dots. New Post-it® Name Badges conform to clothing so they stick securely, but remove cleanly.

Labels continue to be a growth opportunity. Office Supplies recently acquired the A-One branded consumer and office label business, which is the No. 1 consumer and office label brand in Asia.

Craft paper made convenient
Post-it® Craft Paper comes in more than 20 colors and has a full adhesive backing, which saves crafters from the sometimes cumbersome step of applying adhesive. Post-it® Craft Paper can be embossed or embellished and then cut into the size, shape or pattern needed. Then just peel the backing off and stick the paper to the desired surface. This versatile paper can be used with most printers and cutting machines.

Write it, flag it, find it
Post-it® Products also include writing tools. The Post-it® Flag+ line of writing tools includes the only highlighters and pens on the market with flagging capability. The various combinations of ballpoint pens, permanent markers, chisel-tip highlighters and Post-it® Flags are very appealing to “active learners” — students in multiple age groups as well as book club members, for example. There is also the ultimate study tool and winner of the “Good Design Award”— the Post-it® Flag+ three-in-one combination pen, highlighter and flags.

What’s new in notes
As expected of any eco-conscious brand, the Post-it® brand has introduced Post-it® Greener Notes, made with 100 percent recycled paper and a greener, plant-based adhesive.

The brand keeps Post-it® Notes fresh by updating the color palette, too. A few months ago the colorful Poptimistic line was launched. (And Poptimistic Post-it® Notes recently were named one of Stationery Trends’ 10 winners in that magazine’s “Office Stationery” category.)

Suzanne Strom, trend, design and merchandising manager, Office Supplies, is responsible for the color and design direction of Post-it® brand solid color notes and specialty notes.

“Consumers in general like bright colors — back then [30 years ago] and today,” Strom said. She described the Poptimistic collection colors as a kickback to the 1980s — happy and optimistic. This new line has colors very true to the Post-it® brand but with a new feeling to them because of how the colors are combined.”

The new line has even been extended to a Post-it® brand application on the Post-it® Fan page on Facebook ( so consumers can send electronic notes with Poptimistic designs to their friends.

Manufacturing milestone
Bob Griffith, supply chain manager, 3M Cynthiana, Ky., plant, remembers working at the 3M Hutchinson, Minn., plant, as production was scaled up for the first Post-it® Notes. “It was new to us — manufacturing a paper product with this unique adhesive on it,” he said. “We were not familiar with it and we had to develop new technologies.”

Griffith transferred to 3M Cynthiana 27 years ago, and became responsible for overseeing the coating, packaging, converting and scale-up of Post-it® Notes. The product used to be coated at three different locations, but on Feb. 9, 1986, the first yellow 3-inch by 3-inch pad was coated in Cynthiana. Griffith has the pad in a frame near his office. “It really put this plant on the map as an important investment for 3M,” he said.

Over the years, improvements in the manufacture of Post-it® Notes have been made in every process area, Griffith noted. “In spite of the explosion in the variety of products — we started with three SKUs, now we have hundreds — we have steadily invested in the brand to maintain our quality and service.”

Today, 3M Cynthiana manufactures the majority of Post-it® Products in the world, supplying North and South America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific area. (A plant in France supplies Europe.)

“It is hard to believe it has been 30 years,” Griffith said. “Post-it® Notes have helped me raise six kids. I love Post-it® Notes. This has been a great experience for me personally and has helped many 3M employees have an excellent career and earn a good living.”

3M retirees Art Fry and Spencer Silver, corporate scientists and creators of Post-it® Notes, were among 16 individuals recently inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In addition, on April 22 at 3M Center they spoke at a Tech Forum event and were honored by employees at a Post-it® Notes 30th anniversary party.

To learn more about the history of Post-it® Notes, visit (US, English). Travel the timeline and check out the celebration section!

 Carry On Mpro150