Brandon Pea

Stickers isn't a big deal! Or is it?

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I've noticed a few comments on the forums recently about stickers. I need to ask something though. What's wrong with stickers? Stickers are like condiments. They bring out the flavor in sets. I don't know about you guys, but I don't see the big deal. I couldn't care less if 70 stickers were on a set. What about you guys? 

Edited by pooda

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I think it's because they can be tedious to put on or don't look as good as printed pieces. Personally, I don't care if there are stickers or not, just as long as a set doesn't get too expensive, which is probably a reason why we have stickers, to keep prices down. My biggest gripe with stickers are ones that go across multiple pieces.

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4 minutes ago, KotZ said:

I think it's because they can be tedious to put on or don't look as good as printed pieces. Personally, I don't care if there are stickers or not, just as long as a set doesn't get too expensive, which is probably a reason why we have stickers, to keep prices down. My biggest gripe with stickers are ones that go across multiple pieces.

With that being said, I love printed pieces. On the old City Center sets, they had printed windows so that you didn't have to put stickers on.

But to go along with your last statement....I thought that stickers would reduce the price. Like the Sky Police Air Base! Remove the stickers and it won't be overpriced. 

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I have many sets with stickers. Over the years they start peeling and will not stay on any longer. The adhesive goes bad!!!. Most of the time I don't use them.

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Just now, 1963maniac said:

I have many sets with stickers. Over the years they start peeling and will not stay on any longer. The adhesive goes bad!!!. Most of the time I don't use them.

Ah ok! What sets do you mostly collect? 

...and I see you are a Eurobricks Lady! I wish I knew more of those. LOL 

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Honestly, I think printed pieces are much better. Stickers are very annoying to apply and add a new factor in collecting sets with stickers in them. 

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1 minute ago, Collector245 said:

Honestly, I think printed pieces are much better. Stickers are very annoying to apply and add a new factor in collecting sets with stickers in them. 

Yeah.....I'm starting to rethink what I said on the post now. Printed pieces are better. But are they cheaper though? 

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Personally I love stickers, I find applying them to be really therapeutic.  It forces me to calm down and work slowly so that I do a good job. Though I must admit, the larger stickers get irritating (Star Wars UCS plaques, anyone? Those really are the stuff of nightmares and impossible to get right :sceptic:)

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Well I recognize some of the critics. LEGO should make them open source so we at least can reprint them at affordable prices when the sets are not being produced anymore. For some sets original stickers are really, really expensive and that is quite strange, LEGO does not seem to produce their own stickers, afaik they outsource it to printers.

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57 minutes ago, JopieK said:

Well I recognize some of the critics. LEGO should make them open source so we at least can reprint them at affordable prices when the sets are not being produced anymore. For some sets original stickers are really, really expensive and that is quite strange, LEGO does not seem to produce their own stickers, afaik they outsource it to printers.

Aye Jopie! So do you think it would be cheaper to make printed pieces instead? 

Edited by pooda

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@pooda For LEGO? Printing on bricks requires UV printing (more modern) or screen printing (more old fashioned), you can see the latter it in e.g. 'the LEGO factory' in Günzburg park. Printing on bricks also has disadvantages: you can't reuse the brick even if you buy a set only for parts, also it might more easily scratch. Printing on parts is a precise process, you need to hold a piece in a certain way etc.

@coinoperatorof course that is what I do (scanning them in HQ), but one gets the best results by redrawing them as vectors (that is how I reproduce stickers), they are also designed as vectors of course as that is how graphics designers work and a TIFF is a bitmap instead so not perfect!

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On 10/21/2019 at 5:17 PM, JopieK said:

@pooda For LEGO? Printing on bricks requires UV printing (more modern) or screen printing (more old fashioned), you can see the latter it in e.g. 'the LEGO factory' in Günzburg park. Printing on bricks also has disadvantages: you can't reuse the brick even if you buy a set only for parts, also it might more easily scratch. Printing on parts is a precise process, you need to hold a piece in a certain way etc.

So then it wouldn't be cheaper! So then judging from what you said, stickers are helping us to get awesome sets faster. Right?

Edited by pooda

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I have 36 years-old stickers on LEGO® trains and they are still perfect.  Stickers on my Technics sets from 2008/9 are cracked and falling off.  Recent stickers haven't aged enough yet to see how they'll hold up long term.

Improperly cured UV ink is not great if users put the printed pieces in their mouths. Uncured UV ink can also cause skin irritation and other side effects.  Read the MSDS sheets.

Kids do like stickers. We hand out stickers at events and they seem to be popular with the kids.

 

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11 minutes ago, dr_spock said:

Kids do like stickers. We hand out stickers at events and they seem to be popular with the kids.

You hand out Lego stickers? What events are these? 

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I am fine with stickers myself, I do know that folks like printed for the reasons above, and because they're easier to use in MOCs etc. I have Homemaker sets I bought on eBay and Bricklink from the late 60s, and the stickers are fine.

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9 hours ago, pooda said:

So then it wouldn't be cheaper!

I think folks are missing what you're asking: I think you're meaning is is cheaper for Lego to print pieces vs using stickers (not for AFOLs to recreate sticker designs by direct printing onto bricks with UV or screen printing).  For Lego, they pad print pieces and it is definitely more expensive than stickers even with the volume they do (otherwise we'd likely have few to no stickers).

Personally, I find stickers very annoying to apply because I stress about getting them perfectly placed and rarely do I feel they add enough to the set to justify that frustration and the often limited use the stickered pieces then have.  There are some I have applied, but probably 75% of the time I don't.  I do appreciate that it gives us the option of keeping the pieces as-is and thus not limiting their future uses, but generally speaking I do prefer printed pieces.

The challenge is that no set of consumers is ever going to feel the same about any given set or theme, so Lego really has no way to truly make that distinction/decision other than what they do now:  Pieces that would be unreasonably hard to place a sticker but need decoration get printed.  Pieces that are likely to receive a lot of handling/playwear often get printed.  Pieces in larger/more expensive sets that are more likely to be display pieces seem to have a higher likelihood of being printed per the (apparent) preference of AFOLs who buy them (and because if it's at a premium price point, stickers seem to cheapen the experience).

I think the balance that TLG has struck at this point is reasonable, and that period of poor quality stickers seems to have past, so while I still have my preferences I don't have any real qualms at the moment.

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7 hours ago, dr_spock said:

Stickers on my Technics sets from 2008/9 are cracked

My all time worst set is the 2006 Tow Truck 8285
Not one sticker is not cracked.

And a glance at the Bricklink prices for these stickers learns that I'm not the only one.

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I have a well played set 375 Yellow Castle, and a likewise well played 677 Knights Prosession, both from 1978. The knights from the castle has stickers, the knights from the procession are printed. The Castle knight stickers are still holding on, but they are very worn on the edges, and simply dont look good anymore, whereas the procession knights printing are still as sharp as they were 41 years ago.

So yes, I am one of those who really hate stickers, and really love printed bricks!

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I prefer building to applying stickers. I find having to stop building while trying to align stickers can destroy the fun of the building process, especially if it is a large sticker and part and you need to use a bit of spray to help align the sticker and need to wait for the part to dry.

The other problem is sometimes they are damaged before you even open the box. I've had badly creased, curled sheets, and even stickers missing from sheets where they have peeled off in the box.

Edited by MAB

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1 hour ago, deraven said:

I think folks are missing what you're asking: I think you're meaning is is cheaper for Lego to print pieces vs using stickers (not for AFOLs to recreate sticker designs by direct printing onto bricks with UV or screen printing).  For Lego, they pad print pieces and it is definitely more expensive than stickers even with the volume they do (otherwise we'd likely have few to no stickers).

Personally, I find stickers very annoying to apply because I stress about getting them perfectly placed and rarely do I feel they add enough to the set to justify that frustration and the often limited use the stickered pieces then have.  There are some I have applied, but probably 75% of the time I don't.  I do appreciate that it gives us the option of keeping the pieces as-is and thus not limiting their future uses, but generally speaking I do prefer printed pieces.

The challenge is that no set of consumers is ever going to feel the same about any given set or theme, so Lego really has no way to truly make that distinction/decision other than what they do now:  Pieces that would be unreasonably hard to place a sticker but need decoration get printed.  Pieces that are likely to receive a lot of handling/playwear often get printed.  Pieces in larger/more expensive sets that are more likely to be display pieces seem to have a higher likelihood of being printed per the (apparent) preference of AFOLs who buy them (and because if it's at a premium price point, stickers seem to cheapen the experience).

I think the balance that TLG has struck at this point is reasonable, and that period of poor quality stickers seems to have past, so while I still have my preferences I don't have any real qualms at the moment.

Ok! That was long, but that's fair enough. Thanks. 

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I don't mind stickers as long as they make the set look better. Some sets just don't look that good if the stickers aren't applied. As far as how they age, it highly depends of the condition they are kept in. As other people have said, you can have them be even 30 years old and still look as good as they did originally. 

Though I would probably agree that printed elements are better, I don't think stickers are bad.

16 hours ago, KotZ said:

My biggest gripe with stickers are ones that go across multiple pieces.

That doesn't happen with modern sets anymore.

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On October 21, 2019 at 5:35 PM, pooda said:

(snip) stickers are helping us to get awesome sets faster. 

In general, I don't think stickers make sets "awesome" I think they make mediocre sets more tolerable (same goes for printed parts).  For my money, if a set _needs_ printed surface decoration to "sell" the subject matter, then it isn't really that "awesome" in the first place.  In most cases, I think of stickers (and printed bricks) as a crutch to make up for weak form language in the basic shape and color choices for the model.

I've often dinged TLG on this point in reviews where if you leave off the stickers and take away the minifigures, what's left rarely speaks for itself, so for a change, I'll point out some cases where I think they did it right:  Look at #70668 Jay's Storm Fighter (a Ninjago kit but that doesn't really matter)  Yes the set has stickers, but if you leave them off, you lose almost nothing.  The form and color of the bricks themselves tell a complete story.  The #10193 Emerald Night is another example.  Yes the gold pinstripes printed on the green bricks and various decals _do_ add a bit of finishing to the model, but without them, it's still a beautiful train.  If you left the stickers off the coach entirely, most people might not even notice; that's the sort of form language that makes for "awesome" sets.  Surface decorated parts, be they printed brick or decal, should be just a finishing detail, not a crucial part of the narrative.

As you may have guessed by now, personally I don't like sticker sheets and I ( usually - more on this in a moment ) don't like kits that _rely_ upon them.  My daughter loves them, but as @dr_spock pointed out, that's common nature for little kids.  Usually, I don't even bother applying them on my own stuff.   I don't mind the occasional printed element (like the name plate in an Architecture set) because you very rarely see those types of parts "overdone" in the same way that sticker sheets are sometimes abused.  If forced to pick one, I think I'd rather have printed elements, but both take a back seat to good old fashioned form language in my book.

The one line where I actually don't mind stickers (and actually DO use them) is on the Speed Champions theme.  And yes, the irony is not lost on me; SC has some of the most complex and tedious to apply sticker sheets around.  Psychologically I think the reason I don't mind stickers in SC kits is just because, if you've ever seen some of these racers in person, the real cars are plastered with stickers as well (as are the drivers sometimes) - that fact somehow makes slapping stickers on a tiny model okay with me, while using a stickers to make up for a lack of surface greebling on a larger set is still just a cheat.

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17 minutes ago, ShaydDeGrai said:

 

that fact somehow makes slapping stickers on a tiny model okay with me, while using a stickers to make up for a lack of surface greebling on a larger set is still just a cheat.

I agree, and I think the scale is important here. On a tiny model, you cannot always rely on brick texture alone to convey detail. Whereas on a large model, it should become much easier since the scale of the model is much larger than the parts being used to create it.

Edited by MAB

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