While many of us will peel off the sticker from our apple and flick it in the bin without a second thought, Kelly Angood takes a long old look and pastes it in one of her many, many fruit sticker folders. She's the collector behind the design-delicious @fruit_stickers Instagram account where she highlights her collection and the dream fruit stickers created by other designers. She also produces her own delightful range of fruit sticker prints and more on her website.
As her Instagram is one of our five-a-day, we were keen to find out a whole bunch more about Kelly's collection.
How did your collection begin?
Ever since I can remember I’ve collected them. It's often been quite subconsciously, by just sticking them to the back of notebooks, or my phone or laptop. It wasn’t until I’d racked up a couple of hundred that I realised I had a collection. That’s when I started noticing how different all of the stickers were, and when I started isolating them on a white background to start focusing on the amazing and varied designs.
I love how taking them out of their expected environment helps people adjust their focus. I don't have an exact number of the collection (unlike on Instagram it's highly unorganized!!), but it's in the thousands! I’ve always been drawn to the design of everyday things – packaging, signage, that kind of thing. Fruit stickers were always just intriguing to me on a really basic level. As objects, they have no intrinsic value per-se, and in a way that’s one of the nice things about collecting something so everyday.
As collections go, the barriers to entry are pretty low. Anyone can build their own fruit sticker collection pretty easily. Unlike those collectors who amass things that they know will increase in value with a long term view of financial gain, I collect fruit stickers purely because I’m into how they look. But like anything, once you own it and curate it, it gains a lot of personal value and worth.
Are there particular fruits which you find always seem to have the best stickers?
Most of my stickers are the classic oval, but there are stickers of all shapes and sizes. But in my opinion, Spanish oranges almost always seem to have the best stickers – they always seem to have these fantastic leaf shape stickers, and I just love how they replicate the leaf that should naturally be there.
I love how despite coming from different growers they all seem to have a similar graphic and be printed in virtually the same green. I’m yet to discover if there is just one designer who has cornered the Spanish orange sticker market, or if there is some kind of fruit sticker template they are working from.
I almost always find the best ones on holiday in Spain, or in southern Europe in general! I can't stop myself going into a continental greengrocer scanning for new stickers – there is always a bit of a buzz around finding a fruit sticker I’ve never come across before.
What is your all-time favourite fruit sticker?
I don't have a singular favorite, but I love the Dole Bananimals Range. It’s incredible. It ran for three straight years in the late 1980s in the USA, winning awards and driving massive sales for Westlake Village, Calif. based Dole Fresh Fruit Co.
The company distributed over 100 million stickers throughout the campaign. You could even collect soft, plush versions of the much-loved creatures through a mail-in offer from Dole and Post Bran Flakes. You just had to send in 2 banana stickers and pay between $5.75 - $7.95 (depending on the year) – essentially to cover postage to get hold of them.
Do you think there's a golden age of the fruit sticker?
Honestly, there are good fruit stickers from all eras. I have stickers from all the way back to the 1960s to today, and there has always been, and continues to be a huge variation in design. It's easy to say that some of the older ones were nicer, but the reality is that the uninteresting ones simply weren't kept.
Were you surprised by the success of your Instagram?
My background is in design, and I always knew that these stickers had lots of appeal to like-minded people. To be honest, though, it's not an overnight success– I've been running it for over 5 years and it's been very gradual!
Along with all the followers, there are lots of illustrators and designers creating their own fruit stickers which you share on the Instagram page. Why do you think it's such a popular medium for designers?
It's fun. I think it's honestly just that. Most designers I work with approach me with work they've created in their spare time, or as a personal project. I think it's such a small footprint that it feels like an achievable small project, and it's a real-world execution that most designers will never get to work on.
The very format is a brief in itself, and I think there is something very creative around working within the constraints of making a single fruit sticker, for a single fruit.
Pick through Kelly's collection over on her @fruit_stickers Instagram account.