Sticking to it: Laptop stickers mean more than just aesthetics

An individual’s laptop can say a lot about them — not necessarily through its contents, but rather its cover.

Communication major Justin Gassel has nine stickers on the front of his Toshiba laptop. Most of them are from movies and shows he likes, but one of his favorite stickers is the flag of Springfield, Missouri proudly displayed in the middle. Gassel is from Springfield and said the sticker shows his pride for the Queen City of the Ozarks. The fandom stickers, however, are just there because he enjoys them.

“I just think it’s an extension of personality,” Gassel said. “It’s a way that you can just be unique without having to, like, tell the world why you’re unique.”

Gassel was adamant he would never overlap the stickers on his laptop. This affects how often he adds stickers and which ones he adds because he has limited space. He has also made the decision to not take any off.

Gassel said the stickers have served as conversation starters, particularly when getting to know new people.

“When I first get into group projects and I first pull out the laptop, I get a lot of questions about the stickers,” Gassel explained. “Then I see other people’s and I’ll ask them questions and it kinda helps break the ice for people you don’t know.”

Classics major Adam Walker has a similar experience with the stickers on his laptops. Of the 12 covering his Dell, some show what organizations he is involved with on campus, while others feature his various interests, including Batman, football and the musical “Hamilton.”

Walker is a Latin tutor and said a number of students have struck up conversations about “Hamilton” before starting the session. He said the stickers provide a brief snapshot into who he is and what he does.

“It just kinda tells your story in a very truncated way,” Walker said.

Robin Perry is also a fan of slapping stickers on her laptop. She has “Doctor Who,” Disney, “Supernatural” and other kinds of stickers. As a design animation major, Perry even has stickers that her fellow designers have made for her.

Instead of an orderly look, Perry doesn’t mind a little overlap when placing the stickers. With probably 100 or so stickers coating the outer surface, Perry said she only rejects a sticker if it is too big or it’s a repeat.

Collected over time and pasted in two binge-stickering sessions, Perry described her computer as a collage of her interests.

“Mine’s more of a, ‘What don’t I have a sticker of?’” Perry said. “The first few, I had like a [Campus Christian Fellowship] sticker just ’cause I was part of the group and I wanted to show off that CCF pride. Other ones it’s just, ‘This is a really cute sticker of a panda. Let’s put it on the laptop.’”

Health science major Kyla McBride has fewer stickers — nine in total — but they’re all centered around her personality and what she enjoys doing. As a Christian and nature-lover, McBride’s personality shines through in her choice of stickers. She has stickers for CCF, ENO outfitters and Glorieta Adventure Camps — a gospel camp where she worked over the summer.

“I think this is kind of a good look into, like, who I am — a lot of it is about my faith, and I like spending time outdoors, so things that just mean a lot to me,” McBride said. “It’s a good expression of who I am.”

She said sincerity isn’t seen as much these days, so she wants to be open and proud about who she is.

Abby Fawks has a variety of stickers coating the surface of her computer, but they all help display her identity as well. With an LGBTQIA+ pride heart emblazoned in the center of the laptop, Fawks said her stickers are a way of showing her identity and having outward representation. Additionally, she has stickers representing some of her favorite podcasts, movies, television shows and pop culture references.

She said she has a lot of them because they are fun to collect. Similarly to Gassel, Fawks doesn’t like them to overlap because, as she explained, she wants to see them all.

Political science major Josh Jay, however, has a single sticker on the inside of his laptop. As the Student Activities Board secretary, it’s fitting that the only sticker he has stuck with is for the organization. He explained that because his Mac is new, he is hesitant to plaster something as permanent as a sticker on it, and he is afraid he is already late to the trend.

Jay said he was confident representing SAB on his laptop because he knew he wouldn’t regret it later. He said the sticker shows he is committed and likes what he does with the group.

“If I put something on there like a sports player or something and he leaves my team, then shoot,” Jay said with a laugh. “Then I got a nasty sticker on there.”