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Home » Sticker Blog » The History of Stickers – When were stickers invented?

The History of Stickers – When were stickers invented?


The Fascinating History of Stickers: From Ancient Egypt to Modern-Day Innovations

Ever found yourself wondering about the history of stickers and when stickers were invented? The journey of stickers is much longer and more intriguing than you might think.  When were stickers invented?  Let’s dive into the evolution of stickers, tracing their origins from ancient civilizations to the high-tech innovations of today.

Ancient Origins: The First Stickers?

Some historians suggest that the concept of stickers dates back to ancient Egypt. While it may seem surprising, there is evidence that the Egyptians used a form of stickers in their bustling markets. Archaeological findings have uncovered remnants of paper affixed to walls, displaying prices and other information. These early “stickers” were likely made from papyrus, an early form of paper, and adhered using a primitive paste. This discovery offers a fascinating glimpse into how even ancient societies utilized simple methods to communicate and promote goods.

The 19th Century: The Birth of Modern Stickers

The evolution of stickers took a significant leap forward in the 1800s. In 1839, Sir Rowland Hill, a British inventor and social reformer, introduced adhesive paper. This innovation led to the creation of the first postage stamps in the UK, revolutionizing the postal system. These early stamps can be considered the first true modern stickers, combining adhesive backing with printed designs.

Hill’s invention not only simplified the process of sending mail but also laid the groundwork for the development of various adhesive products. The concept of adhesive paper quickly spread across the globe, inspiring further innovations in sticker technology and applications.

20th Century: Stickers in Popular Culture and Commerce

The 20th century saw an explosion in the popularity and use of stickers. With advances in printing technology and adhesive materials, stickers became a ubiquitous part of everyday life. By the mid-1900s, stickers were being used for a wide range of purposes, from product labelling and branding to promotional giveaways and political campaigns.

One notable milestone was the introduction of pressure-sensitive adhesives, which made stickers easier to apply and more versatile. These adhesives allowed stickers to be mass-produced and used in new and creative ways. By the 1960s and 1970s, stickers had become a cultural phenomenon, with vibrant designs adorning everything from lunchboxes and notebooks to car bumpers and walls.

The Digital Revolution: Transforming Sticker Production

The latest revolution in sticker production came with the advent of digital inkjet printers. This technology has dramatically transformed the sticker industry, enabling companies to produce cost-effective short-run jobs with minimal setup time. Unlike traditional printing methods that require creating plates for each design, digital printing allows for instant transfer of digital artwork to printers. This innovation has made it possible for businesses and individuals to order custom stickers in smaller quantities at affordable prices.

Digital printing has also opened up new possibilities for creativity and personalization. Customers can now design their own stickers online, experimenting with colours, shapes, and graphics. The ability to produce high-quality, custom stickers on demand has made them an indispensable tool for marketing, branding, and personal expression.

The Future of Stickers

As technology continues to advance, the future of stickers looks bright and full of potential. Innovations in materials, printing techniques, and adhesive properties will likely lead to even more versatile and environmentally friendly sticker options. Augmented reality (AR) and interactive stickers are emerging trends, adding a digital layer of engagement to the physical sticker experience.

Moreover, as sustainability becomes increasingly important, the sticker industry is exploring eco-friendly solutions. Biodegradable and recyclable stickers are being developed to reduce environmental impact, ensuring that stickers can be enjoyed without compromising the planet.


From the markets of ancient Egypt to the cutting-edge digital printing of today, the history of stickers is a testament to human ingenuity and creativity. These small adhesive marvels have evolved significantly over the centuries, continually adapting to new technologies and cultural shifts. Whether used for business, art, or personal expression, stickers remain a beloved and versatile medium.

Do you require stickers for your business or next event? Get an instant quote from Edge Stickers today and explore the endless possibilities of this timeless invention.