One can eliminate money from a society but can never eliminate value. Cash is, after all, only one form of currency. In Black Rock City, there are nearly endless ways to recognize value, especially with one’s time, attention, or assistance.
But there is another important tool used in our fair city to honor an object, experience, or person: the gift. And no gift is more loved in Black Rock City than The Sticker.
Hear me out.
When each car drives into Black Rock City, they are handed 3 things: a booklet of events, a tip sheet, and a sticker. The Sticker is the one item every single person is gifted when they come to BRC. It is the proto-gift. The first introduction to a city of giving and receiving without expectation.
But The Sticker, in its own nature, is something more. It is a self-adhesive singular celebration giving permission to modify. To go change something. To make an impact.
This is the gift everyone is given in Black Rock City: the gift of permission to create. And it starts with The Sticker.
The Sticker, unlike time or attention, continues well beyond the moment of transaction. Unlike cash, The Sticker, once received, does not lie in wait as potential, but makes an impact every single moment of its existence. It is an act of speech that echoes until the message is bleached blank by the sun. In this way, the greatest role of The Sticker is not in the momentary transaction at Burning Man but in the long tail of its impact in the outside world. I can’t be the only Burner who was drawn to the then-mysterious “BRC” stickers showing up on cars in the early 2000s, well before I drank the kool-aid. Even today when I notice I’m driving behind a car with a sticker from the event, I cannot stop myself from driving up besides the car and waving to the driver like an idiot.
The Sticker, more than any other object, is the hallmark of our community. It is a gift. It is permission. It is invitation. It is a celebration.
So why the heck am I rambling on about stickers? Simple. Because we make a ton of them. Like, a lot.
You’re probably aware that Burning Man prints a design or two each year that is given away to every participant as part of the Greeter’s Packet. You may not be aware that we also print a metric crapton of other stickers too.
Hundreds of thousands of them. Of all kinds. We print up to 15 different designs each year to be given away in Black Rock City. And where do they all go? They go to you.
We distribute packets through Theme Camps, leave them at Ranger Stations and Playa Info, and with Mutant Vehicle operators. I, myself, have been known to head out on a golf cart with several thousand stickers only to return empty-handed after an hour of what I call “drive-by swagging”. From a small office located somewhere around Center Camp, these stickers diffuse out throughout the city and then, like seeds spread by birds, are moved around globe when they are taken home in all your shit.
But here’s the kicker: We don’t make the designs. You do. And now is the time to start getting crafty on images for the 2017 event. Each year, about a hundred designs are submitted and the staff and volunteers at Burning Man headquarters select about a dozen to print for the year. One sticker design out of those submitted is selected each year as the “not really official” sticker of the year and given to every Burner at the Greeter Station as they arrive. A handful of the other designs will also be turned into sticker schwag sprinkled throughout BRC randomly (Immediacy! Gifting!) and shared with Burners all year round. Help us remember our wonderful home in the desert even when we’re away!
Whichever type of sticker tickles your fancy (or maybe you’re very ticklish and want to enter several designs), remember there is a theme, and we like stickers that attempt to use the theme. Read up on the 2017 Art Theme: Radical Ritual
So, now is your chance to create the currency of Black Rock City, and to have your art give used to share value with thousands of others. Your design can be the important gift of the year. Interested? Read below for the specs for submitting your design(s).
Your design(s) will need to be one of three die sizes:
- 3” Diameter Circle
- 2.5″ x 5.75” with a 0.125” corner radius
- 3″x 3″ square with a 0.062” corner radius
You must OUTLINE all fonts.
If using 1–3 colors, set up the file to print as PMS. If using 4 or more colors, set up the file to print as CMYK.
Designer Tips ‘n’ Tricks:
Round stickers are given priority for being selected as the coveted “Greeter Sticker”, which goes out to ALL Black Rock Citizens. Including both the name “Burning Man” or “Black Rock City” and the year 2017 in your design gets you extra awesome brownie points (and a better chance of your image being used for the Gate Design).
Submitting Your Art:
Send either a PDF file OR (preferably) the original Adobe Illustrator (.ai) file to firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether sending your design or questions, please put your first and last name in the subject header as well as the phrase “2017 Sticker Submission”.
Monday, May 29. No art can be accepted after this date!