We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Post-It Note?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 24, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A Post-it® note is a slip of paper with a low-tack adhesive which allows it to be placed and moved several times without leaving a residue or causing damage. Some consumers refer to the Post-it® as a sticky note or just a sticky, and the brightly colored slips of paper have become ubiquitous in most offices around the world. They have also made the leap to the digital world, where they are used to tag documents just as they are on hard-copy documents. The original Post-it® note is manufactured by 3M Corporation, which retains the trademark name. Other companies manufacture similar products, which are branded as sticky or repositionable notes.

The origins of the Post-it® note are quite interesting. The history begins in 1968, when Spencer Silver was working with adhesives in the 3M laboratory, and trying to figure out how best to use them. He stumbled upon an adhesive which was too weak to hold anything, but he noted that it left no residue and that it was easy to reposition papers which had been coated with the adhesive. Although he toyed with the adhesive for some time, he couldn't come up with a solid use for it, but he did keep it in mind.

In 1974, another 3M employee, Art Fry, was frustrated by the paper marker markers in his hymnal at church. The markers kept slipping out, often at inopportune moments. Silver suggested coating the markers with the mild adhesive, and the Post-it® note was born. By 1977, the notes were incredibly popular in the 3M headquarters, and the research and development team was pushing to see them introduced to the public.

The first Post-it®s hit the market in 1978, and they received a weak reaction. 3M tested the product in only a limited number of cities, but they were disappointed by the lack of sales. Ultimately, the company resorted to passing out free samples around offices and other businesses, and many people who used them became instantly hooked. In 1979, the release of the product was expanded to 11 Western states, and by 1980 the Post-it® note was in numerous offices across the United States. Office workers actually started shipping Post-it® notes to people in areas without them.

The company continues to produce the classic Post-it® note, which comes in a small convenient size and a striking lemon yellow color. According to 3M, there are eight standard sizes of Post-it® notes, which come in 25 shapes and 62 colors. Clearly, the company capitalized on the success of the brand, with a far reaching assortment of products aimed at different users from college students to environmental activists.

The Post-it® note has become such a part of American society that the notes have been even been elevated to the level of art. Using multicolored Post-it® notes, artists have produced huge murals, sculptures, and an assortment of other pieces. Post-it® pranks are also widespread, especially in offices; many of these pranks involve using mass numbers of the cheap notes to cover offices, homes, or even cars.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By somerset — On Feb 17, 2008

We are so used by now to those little yellow pads that we take them for granted. What a great invention that was though. But it actually took a while for the post-it notes to become what they are today.

Here is a quote from one of the inventors, Spencer Silver: "If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this."

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Read more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.