Back in the day, some friends and I would hang out at the late night coffee shop, coming up with all kinds of amazing ideas. Great ideas that could get us rich. There was the TV show idea that later became MTV’s Road Rules. There was the arcade-coffee-shop-bar that doesn’t seem too different from Ground Kontrol, Dave & Busters, or any number of arcades for adults. There was that idea where we’d all chip in and buy an apartment building and rent to ourselves. (Okay, that one never happened anywhere, as best as I can tell.) None of us did anything about these ideas. We sat, drank coffee, and joked around. But the point is: ideas are cheap. Anyone can come up with ideas. Sit around at a coffee shop and BS for long enough and all kinds of great (and terrible) ideas will emerge. The hard (but rewarding) part is executing on that idea. Getting your hands dirty, building something, convincing someone else to build something, convincing the bank to loan you money for this amazing idea. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” We never had that 99%.
On the other hand… Steve Jobs (or perhaps Pablo Picasso) once said “good artists copy; great artists steal.” He then continued on with “we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” The graphical user interface, the iPod, the iPhone, the tablet computer — they all existed prior to Apple releasing their version of the idea. Apple just took the existing thing and made it better: easier to use, mass producible, beautifully designed.
This is a very long-winded way of saying I stole a few ideas. I have three recent projects for which I can’t take idea credit. They’re all something someone pointed out on Twitter. I’m sure most people looked, chuckled a little and kept skimming their news feed. Me? They inspired me to take action. They motivated me to improve on the design, manufacture stickers or flyers, and share the design files with the world.
The stickers and flyers, in turn, have helped bring a good dose of humor and levity into the world of friends and coworkers. And possibly a few strangers, too.
Paper Towel, Please
You might have seen my previous blog post about the “Paper Towel, Please” stickers. Someone retweeted a humorous sticker that turns any paper towel dispenser into a “voice activated” (not really) one. I loved the idea so much, and hit enough bars around town both socially and as Puzzled Pint scouting, that I needed some for myself. I couldn’t find them online, so I made a cost-effective design that’s compatible with Sticker Mule’s basic templates.
To find the source images to print your own, go back to the original blog post.
Portable Power Outlet
After the reputation the Paper Towel sticker gave me, a friend pointed me to another evil sticker, this time, the image of a wall outlet. Who hasn’t been at a bar, coffee shop, or airport and needed desperately to charge up a phone or laptop? You look around, find one under the table, then struggle to plug your charger into the awkward out-of-the-way outlet. Only in this case, the outlet isn’t real.
I bought some high-res stock art of a wall outlet and had to massage the image a little in Photoshop to get it to fit a Sticker Mule standard template. By my measurements, the actual outlet is 2.75“ x 4.5”. I stretched it to 3×5.
Voila! The Acme Portable
Hole Power Outlet!
Since this design uses commercial stock art and I made near-inconsequential changes to the image, I don’t believe I can legally share the sticker image with you. At the very least, it’s morally questionable. If you’d like some stickers and I know you in real life, I’d be happy to hook you up.
Baby Changing Station
Just a few days ago, I found the above “baby changing station” image on Twitter — depicting changing a baby into a cat! It’s another great idea for which I couldn’t find source material. This one, instead of making into an oversized sticker — impractical to carry around and use at a moment’s notice — I decided to go with a simple printed flyer. That’s effectively what the image depicts, anyway. I stylized mine a little differently, mainly using the stick-figure-style-baby that seems to be predominantly used for these signs, and a more realistic (and more evil looking) cat. If you’d like to print your own, just download the PDF.
Who knows what lies in the future? I’ll update this blog post with any other fun prank stickers or flyers I design. If you run across something interesting and funny, drop me a line. My email is on the About page, or ping me on Twitter at @BrianEnigma.