North Texas Daily

Bumper stickers and decals add personality to drive

Bumper stickers and decals add personality to drive

Bumper stickers and decals add personality to drive
April 02
00:04 2015

Sarah Lagro / Staff Writer

The widening of Interstate 35 and construction on Highway 380 has been inconvenient for many Denton residents, but it gives drivers plenty of time to stare at the bumpers of the cars in front of them.

You might see a sticker or two, such as “How’s my driving?” often designated to commercial semi-trucks, or maybe even “McCain/Palin 2008.” Political, religious, pop culture, humorous and many other types of bumper stickers are displayed on motor vehicles all around us, though the number of those adorned has dwindled in recent decades.

“They give cars character,” engineering sophomore Alejandro Rivas said. “I like looking at them whenever I pass them by.”

According to the Gill-line Company, Forest Gill created bumper stickers sometime in the 1940s. Gill was a silkscreen printer from Kansas City who combined fluorescent ink and self-sticking adhesive to create the first bumper sticker we still use today.2_bumper_web2

Employee of East Side Denton Anthony Glenn Langston sports a bumper sticker from the local bar. He believes people love showing there support for local businesses in Denton.

Modern bumper stickers weren’t very common until the 1962 presidential election when they were used as a form of campaign support, and are still a form of campaigning today.

“I have a 2012 Obama sticker,” Texas Woman’s University vocal performance senior Linda Hiort said. “I got it because Obama’s presidential campaign was the first one I really cared about. I was too young to vote in the first election, so I got involved in his re-election campaign.”

Carol W. Gardner, author of “Bumper Sticker Wisdom: America’s Pulpit Above the Tailpipe,” said there is a decline in the use of social issue-oriented bumper stickers due to the rising age and lack of participation from baby boomers.

“I think we’ve looked in the mirror as we’ve gotten older and said, ‘Oh my God, I better start being more introspective,’ “ she said in a 2000 Los Angeles Times article.

Some local business owners are trying to bring back the trend by offering stickers exclusively available in Denton.

“Sure it helps advertise, but it’s cool to have bumper stickers,” Recycled Books employee Aaron Leis said. “It’s a collectible, something to show where you’ve been or what you like.”

Recycled Books, located at 200 N. Locust St., gives customers a free bumper sticker with every purchase. The black sticker displays the store logo and is available right next to the register. Recycled Books isn’t the only place where you can find stickers, but some stores sell the item’s competition: car window decals.

Bookstores like Voertman’s and the UNT Bookstore sell spirit decals for football, softball and other Mean Green sports. Decals displaying the UNT logo and alumni pride are available for purchase as well.

According to CBS Minneapolis, Woodland Manufacturing’s invention of the Family Stickers, figures depicting individual family members, is a major contribution to a spike in popularity of car decals. Decals are used in a similar way to bumper stickers, but they are often placed on the rear window of a vehicle.

Rivas said bumper stickers might become a new Denton icon if they have an impact on tourism or even university life.

“They really can brighten someone’s day,” Rivas said. “I hope people see those bumper stickers and want to come to Denton.”

Featured Image: TWU student Linda Hiort decided to put her first and only bumper sticker, an Obama campaign sticker, on her car back in 2012. Photos by Hannah Ridings – Staff Photographer

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