As a girl my mom would scramble through envelopes and trim postage stamps from the freshly delivered mail. She’d deposit them gently into a pink ceramic jar she had painted herself that sat in waiting on her dresser. Then she would close it for safekeeping until the next batch of stamps arrived. Some days she picked up a grab-bag of used stamps at the craft store and added them to her collection.
Now the jar, sitting on my dresser in the room where I grew up, collects more dust than it does stamps. I remember rummaging through them when I was a girl myself, but now I am itching to travel home to sift through the micro-designs that have decorated ordinary letters and allowed them to reach their final destination.
Thank you Sir Rowland Hill.
Two days ago I was given one hour to design six individual but cohesive postage stamps in a reasonable postage stamp size as an exercise for my all-time favorite class – design. Throughout the semester this class has challenged me, inspired me and helped me zero-in on all of the little bits of design around me that I cannot get enough of. My instructor stretches our abilities and creativity by prompting a lab exercise every week for which we are normally given one task to complete with several restrictions in place in an hour and 15 minutes or less.
And now I can add aspiring postage stamp designer to my list of dream design ventures.
Thank you Sir Rowland Hill.
Sixty minutes left close to zero time for planning, which I kind of love. By nature I tend to agonize over details, like a Deal or No Deal contestant except without the chance of a million dollars at the end. Instead of pretty models holding cash-filled briefcases, I’m weighing the options between Century and Century Schoolbook or justified and ragged right. They’re killer decisions, I’m telling you.
But being forced to jump into a project with little opportunity to go back and restart or move things around more times than I can keep track of was sort of freeing. I knew a theme was the best place to start, and as a baby lover with dreams of future nuggets of my own, I went for ‘baby.’ The stork made an appearance from a recent blog illustration. The rest fell into place after exploring some vintage stamp inspiration. It really is fascinating that so much detail fits into thumbprint-size design, but since Sir Rowland Hill invented the first adhesive stamp in 1837 postage has stretched our ability to send letters and packages into orbit around the world and along with it a little piece of art.
Once I get the chance to sort through the old stamps my mom collected over the years, I’ll be putting together some photographs of my favorite postage stamp designs. Check back for that soon.