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Stickers, printed bricks or nothing at all...

BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,281
I was having a discussion about this with someone elsewhere and wondered what you good people thought. Chances are this topic has already been aired before (and will be again), but I'm going to plough on regardless...

I rarely hear anyone have a good word to say about stickers. Those on a single brick are usually tolerated, those across multiple pieces are cussed at. In any event, they have a shelf life - eventually they'll fade, peel, or get damaged unless they're wrapped in cotton wool (figuratively and/or literally) when packed away.

Printed bricks are more robust, but if you're a builder who (unlike me) takes a set and then uses it to build MOCs, then as often as not that printing renders a brick unsuitable for other structures (not always, but sometimes).

So the third option is no stickers or printing, but just have our LEGO creations made from plain bricks. I'm no fan of stickers, but I have to admit that they can make a good set look great.

So what do people prefer? Obviously with a sticker you have the option of not using it, but once I've seen a finished set, I look at an unstickered model as 'not quite complete'.

Is there an ideal solution? I guess if you go back far enough there were no stickers or printed bricks (one for the historians - I'd be curious to know when stickers and printing made their grand entrance), but Pandora's box has been opened now, so are they here to stay?

Comments

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,302
    edited March 2014
    I think people would be less vitriolic of stickers if the stickers did not dog ear/peel or fall off. I know that many sets in the 80's that have stickers still have them attached today, and very well attached as well (no dog ear-ing or peeling) as I have many 80's sets with stickers.
    I think on single bricks it would be best if it was printed IMO. But you cannot do much when design needs to go over multiple bricks, stickers are usually required. However I think LEGO could do better with what they use to adhere the stickers to the plastic (heck stickers of 10 years ago are better than what they use now)
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,026
    I really dislike stickers for the fact that they are so fragile, at the same time I do like the look they create. I wish they would be printed, but I don't run the LEGO company.

    My strategy is that for all sets where I feel the stickers are important I buy extras on BrickLink. If the set is new and still carried by retailers, BL prices are very low for stickers on most sets - a few pennies usually. For large exclusive sets they may cost a few dollars. The most I have paid for a sticker-sheet was $10 for a retired exlusive set.

    If you leave the sticker on the original sheet and store it in a ziplock bag, it will last pretty much forever. I usually buy 3-5 for each set where I want to preserve the stickers. I apply the original stickers and if in a few years I see that they are starting to deteriorate, I just replace them with the extras. If you leave stickered sets out of the sun, they will last some years.

    I also buy sticker sheets for random decorations. They are quite fun and can really enhance a MOC. Basically every time I shop at BL, I see if the seller has any stickers, and if I find some that looks interesting I add them to my order...(c:

    mcvitiecarlq
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,155
    I prefer printed pieces. I agree with all the points in the original post but if I'm buying a set that is designed to look a certain way I think that stickers cheapen it a little. While it might changed the way a piece is used for MOCing but a lot can be used in various situations, especially with a little imagination.
  • YpresYpres Member Posts: 200
    edited March 2014
    The other day I was building the new Disney Princess set #41052 Ariel's [not so] Magical Kiss and was sweating like I had just come out of my old highschool gym class. That set has three large troublesome stickers, all three of which fit onto curved pieces. One sticker was an image of a window for christ sake! Think of all the damn window pieces Lego has made, and yet they decided to make a window using a sticker! They clearly feed off my suffering. After the set was built, the damn thing looked half-stupid because the stickers were so damn obvious. Maybe it's just the flat blocks that do a better job of hiding stickers, but if I had made so much as the tiniest error when applying the stickers on that set, I might have smashed it into a million pieces (or 250 pieces to be correct).
    timinchicagominicoopers11
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,302
    Try putting a Santa Fe sticker on the front of the #10020 Super chief loco. And get it centered and straight, especially now when the stickers are so insanely hard to get cheap. I can only think of how many people do not have the stickers applied to their super chief for that fear alone. I got it on mine when I bought it off the shelf ohh so long ago.It is slightly off center, but darned if I try to readjust it.
    minicoopers11
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,577
    For display style sets, I would have thought they could have gone to rub-down decals or transfers as we used to call them when I was a kid. Easy to position and adjust until just right, and still reasonably hard wearing and no raised edges like stickers.
    binaryeye
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 255
    I personally don't mind stickers. There are some that I reuse several times (like the fire and rescue set decals), but they wear out over time if used frequently.

    I hate printed pieces that really don't have any re-use ability, Dashes, license plates, screens ,and other items are useful, but the printed parts in sets like the Toy Story series are practically useless.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,546
    I can appreciate their uses occasionally, but generally, I'm not a fan of stickers if a printed part (or actual bricks) would do the job the same, particularly when used to:

    *Achieve a 'multiple brick' effect just to avoid using actual bricks, usually for 'walls'. These leave me feeling the set is cheaply designed, and abandons the heart of lego being a construction toy.

    *Achieve the exact same effect that another set has the printed piece for. (AAAAAGH! This one reeeally ticks me off more than it should, but it just (aargh!) does. All i end up asking myself is: why is my set stuck with the bl**dy sticker, when that set has the printed piece!? The Shire Map... Wooden Planks... etc)

    *Used to replicate the IP artwork in a Licensed Set. HEY! NO! This box of bricks has cost more because of that bl**dy license, so let's have these bricks with the licensed artwork ON them, not just the box (that went in the bin) and a sheet of stickers. I want to see that Star Wars Imperial Logo printed, a printed Ghostbusters sign, a printed Death Star panel, etc.

    I can see the value of stickers if they want to create an unusual effect, but ultimately it then clashes with my sense of purity within the brick, as I see LEGO as a creative puzzle too. Creating something from the bricks is the challenge, which in turn renders a fancy sticker slapped over for that illusion something of a 'cheat'.

    It's partly the same reason for not liking large one-piece moulded cockpits, etc. They take some of the construction aspect away. I much prefer the old planes that you had to build nose to tail.
    klatu003
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,155
    legomatt said:



    *Achieve the exact same effect that another set has the printed piece for. (AAAAAGH! This one reeeally ticks me off more than it should, but it just (aargh!) does. All i end up asking myself is: why is my set stuck with the bl**dy sticker, when that set has the printed piece!? The Shire Map... Wooden Planks... etc)

    Stickers for wooden planks is one that I find particularly annoying, especially when you consider how many uses they could have as pieces the argument of stickers give you the option to leave them plain for other uses is rubbish.
  • Short_RoundShort_Round Member Posts: 161
    I hate stickers. They've gone down in quality as well over the years (I find they have less stick these last few years).

    I've mentioned this before, but my worst set for stickers is #10219 Maersk Train. I can't bring myself to apply the stickers across multiple pieces (even though I keep it on display - it's a beautiful set), so it just looks half finished.

    Conversely, one of my favourite sets in my collection is #5988 The Temple of Anubis. The printing of the hieroglyphs is amazing, and haven't aged a day. This is from when Lego were extravagant and going down the pan though.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited March 2014
    Shib said:

    Stickers for wooden planks is one that I find particularly annoying, especially when you consider how many uses they could have as pieces the argument of stickers give you the option to leave them plain for other uses is rubbish.

    Well, wooden plank stickers are especially heinous (e.g. An Unexpected Gathering #79003) because Lego already has nicely printed wooden planks (e.g. Haunted House #10228).

    Too bad they can't come up with a modern equivalent of old school model water decals. Those were nice because you had a few moments to align them perfectly before they dried in place.

    I hate stickers. They've gone down in quality as well over the years (I find they have less stick these last few years).

    I've mentioned this before, but my worst set for stickers is #10219 Maersk Train. I can't bring myself to apply the stickers across multiple pieces (even though I keep it on display - it's a beautiful set), so it just looks half finished.

    Then you might want to avoid #10241.

    madforLEGOklatu003carlq
  • Short_RoundShort_Round Member Posts: 161
    ^ :) I saw it a couple of days ago, and want it (I'm a sucker for Maersk blue), but yeah, damn there's a lot of stickers :/
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734

    ^ :) I saw it a couple of days ago, and want it (I'm a sucker for Maersk blue), but yeah, damn there's a lot of stickers :/

    It's not the same color as previous Maersk models. The blue in #10241 is Medium Azur.

  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561

    I guess if you go back far enough there were no stickers or printed bricks (one for the historians - I'd be curious to know when stickers and printing made their grand entrance), but Pandora's box has been opened now, so are they here to stay?

    Both have been around for a long time. There are instances where stickers are the better or even the only solution and other times when a printed part was far more feasible. Why Lego chooses one over the other isn't always clear and Lego's never been very clear on the issue (even when there have been statements regarding why a choice was made it sometimes failed to make sense).

    Personally, I probably prefer printed parts but I'd be just as happy with neither in many cases. With only a few exceptions, details that require printing or a sticker are details that aren't really necessary anyway.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,155
    I remember watching one of the designer videos and they pretty much said that on that set they used stickers because they liked them even if not everyone else did. Sound rediculous but I thought fair enough, at least it's some honesty.
  • Short_RoundShort_Round Member Posts: 161
    binaryeye said:

    ^ :) I saw it a couple of days ago, and want it (I'm a sucker for Maersk blue), but yeah, damn there's a lot of stickers :/

    It's not the same color as previous Maersk models. The blue in #10241 is Medium Azur.

    :( So Maesrk Blue has gone?

    Jeez, I leave for a few months and everything changes :(
  • DoubleDDoubleD Oklahoma, USAMember Posts: 488
    What I hate about stickers is when you are building something with the instructions, it seems like they wait four pages before they are "Oh wait we forgot the stickers, well lets put them on now when it is impossible to get to that piece."
  • dmg111dmg111 Member Posts: 40
    Stickers go straight into a drawer. I'd rather just not have anything on the completed set than stickers.

    I enjoy collecting the printed bricks, though. Sometimes I'll go out of my way to get a set with a printed piece in it, like that mushroom cap in #41023-1, or #3750-1 even though I have no Life on Mars sets.
  • klatu003klatu003 Hobbiton, Shire, Middle EarthMember Posts: 719
    legomatt said:


    *Achieve the exact same effect that another set has the printed piece for. (AAAAAGH! This one reeeally ticks me off more than it should, but it just (aargh!) does. All i end up asking myself is: why is my set stuck with the bl**dy sticker, when that set has the printed piece!? The Shire Map... Wooden Planks... etc)

    @legomatt Yes. It seems that the cheaper the set the better chance it will get a printed tile and not a sticker. #6858 gets a printed newspaper, Hobbit and LoTR get stickers. The only printed tiles in the whole theme is the generic map in #30213 and a few of the generic letter. Two sets, #79008 & #79012, get printed sheilds. Do any of the licensed sets have printed bricks that are part of the license? Or are they all generic?

    To get *the look* I apply most stickers. Someone here mentioned hobby knife and my applications with that method are better. I draw the line at those awful Friends stickers. They just make me gag ... and the minidolls ... but those yummy colors and clearance prices keep me buying the dang sets.
  • ChrisbstmChrisbstm USAMember Posts: 151
    I'm always on the lookout for printed bricks and tiles. I can't bring myself to apply stickers. Throughout Legos life they have produced an amazing variety of printed pieces, and I can usually find a suitable printed replacement for the stickered brick
    dmg111
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,836
    As a MOC maker I personally like stickers better because if I want to use a stickered piece I just take off the sticker and then use the piece, I also keep wax paper if I ever want to put the original set back together. There are some pieces I like printed like minifigures, minifig tools/weapons and tiles that minifigs hold because the sticker can start to peel after a while of clipping the hand over the tile
  • SquareSideSquareSide Member Posts: 170
    When I got back into LEGO It first started with Kre-o Starscream(yeah yeah^^;;). Not getting the stickers perfectly right annoyed me and since then I just don't apply the stickers to my LEGO sets. Some day I'll photo copy my sticker sheets and apply the copied ones to my sets. I always cringe when I see the sticker sheet when opening a new set. Totally want printed pieces.
    dmg111
  • PlellPlell Member Posts: 192
    I just plain don't buy sets with stickers. It's done wonders for my budget. I'll probably have to break that self-imposed rule when a certain spaceship spaceship spaceship comes out though.
    bobabricks
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    I was overjoyed when I built my sons' Juniors set and found printed parts! I've also noticed some Toy Story sets have printed parts, like the Pizza Planet Truck.

    I'm totally in the printed parts camp - I hate applying stickers. I hate trying to align them. I hate how they peel then get bits of hair or fluff stuck to them. I'd be happy to pay a little extra to get all printed parts in sets.
  • DiggydoesDiggydoes Cologne/GermanyMember Posts: 1,074
    I'm not against sticker in general but i just don't get why some certain "premium"sets come with them! The worst must be the last UCS X-Wing,a sticker that folds over the canopy??? Come on TLG you must be kidding?!?
  • VenunderVenunder Nottingham, UK.Member Posts: 2,464
    I would prefer to have printed parts.

    Only if I consider that the stickers are absolutely necessary do I try to put them on my lego. They almost never go on properly aligned.
    I blame my big fingers and static electricity.
  • OdinduskOdindusk Member Posts: 763
    I'm very anti-sticker. Part of this is from growing up with nearly 100% of the bricks being printed, and now as an adult having to face sticker hell. They look awful, they're frustrating to apply properly and it contributes (in some way) to my confidence in the company's commitment to quality.
    TheLoneTensor
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,302
    Yeah definitely miss printed parts though. When I was kid (if the 80's) there were printed parts in the set and it just made the set that much more interesting to me. Stickers are sometimes necessary (like for windows) but it seems two things have made stickers painful as of late:
    They are used for almost everything now
    The glue/adhesion of new stickers, compared to old, stink.
    I have no issues if the sticker is needed, like over multiple parts or again on Windows. However it seems like LEGO is using them for everything.
    But, as it is a cost cutting measure they are here to stay.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,802
    Short answer: I prefer stickers in some instances and printed parts in others.

    Generally, I enjoy stickers as I think of them as just another part of the building experience. But I also have a number of very specific sticker-related pet peeves. I generally prefer white-backed stickers to clear-backed ones unless it's going on a transparent part in such a way that a clear-backed sticker is necessary. I also prefer for stickers to line up with at least some of the edges of the part they're supposed to be applied to — it frustrates me when there aren't any edges to line up in order to be sure you're applying a particular sticker straight, as is often the case with stickers on aircraft tail pieces.

    Obviously, I hate STAMPs (Stickers Across Multiple Pieces), and I don't know anyone who likes them — thankfully, though, the LEGO Group has gotten MUCH better at avoiding them, and the only sets that still use them tend to do so for trademark-related reasons (for instance, the last two Maersk sets — I suppose Maersk doesn't want the LEGO Group mutilating their trademarks or logos).

    I don't like stickers on minifigures, and again, thankfully the LEGO Group has not done that kind of thing in a long time.

    There are not any instances I can think of in recent sets where a set has used a print that I would have preferred as a sticker. At the same time, I am perfectly happy with printing being reserved for parts that are "special" in one way or another. The LEGO Group only produces a certain amount of elements at any given time, after all, and I think it would be silly for them to reserve a slot in their production facilities for each and every decorated element they want to include in a set.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,577
    The recent Ferrari minifigs had stickers.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,577
    Plus I don't think they do reserve printing for special parts, but more for sets aimed at kids. Just look at the recent junior SH sets.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,802
    CCC said:

    Plus I don't think they do reserve printing for special parts, but more for sets aimed at kids. Just look at the recent junior SH sets.

    That's one type of part they reserve printing for. Also for parts like eyes and faces on brick-built characters like the Legend Beasts or the Sentinel in the new X-Men set. I started out by listing a bunch of particular instances the LEGO Group tends to favor prints over stickers but it started to get too long for my liking so I just summed it up as "special parts".

    Also, I wasn't thinking of the Ferrari sets as "recent", but I guess there were some with minifigures in 2009... I guess I just didn't think about how recent those were because I didn't collect those sets myself.
  • scrumperscrumper UKMember Posts: 323
    @CCC was probably refering to the Shell promo polybag #30196 Ferrari Pit Crew (2012) - 3 minifigs with stickers I think.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,577
    ^ Yes. And seeing as in many parts of the world, they were not out until 2013, I consider that fairly recent. :-)
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,802
    CCC said:

    ^ Yes. And seeing as in many parts of the world, they were not out until 2013, I consider that fairly recent. :-)

    Ah, OK! When I was checking back at previous Ferrari sets I skipped those recent polybags because I had forgotten there were any other than little pull-back cars. So yeah, I guess that is VERY recent. In any case, though, I'm glad that like STAMPs, that sort of thing remains the exception rather than the rule.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    CCC said:

    ^ Yes. And seeing as in many parts of the world, they were not out until 2013, I consider that fairly recent. :-)

    And some parts of that world have yet to even get them *cough* US *cough*
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