Stamps and Contemporary Art

Postage stamp design is a unique specialty within the broader world of design. Earlier, we talked a little bit about flag design. During that discussion, we brought up the fact that a lot of designers who work on flags create their designs on tiny canvases measuring less than two inches in either direction. The reason for this is because flags are usually viewed from a great distance. As a result, the design needs to read well even if it is extremely small.

With postage stamps, however, the opposite seems to be true. Even though the stamps themselves are small, the designs that are printed on them often include intricate details. Standard postage stamps measure less than an inch in either direction, making them an incredibly small canvas. It seems strange, then, that artists who work on stamps put so much detail into their designs.

Most people who collect stamps have certain things that they look for when it comes to design. If you are interested in designing art for this field, keep the following tips in mind:

Don’t Oversimplify Your Designs

In the world of design, simplicity is often considered to be the best path. Designs that are overly complex can be difficult for the average person to analyze and understand. If you add too many extra details, it may make it hard to get your point across. With stamps, however, that isn’t always true. For instance, this Forever Stamp designer goes out of her way to create designs that are a little bit difficult for people to evaluate or understand. She wants them to have to look a little bit closer to see everything that is going on with the design.

Although this approach isn’t necessarily the right approach, it does show that the traditional thoughts about simplicity may not always apply. Every project needs to be evaluated individually, looking for ways to make the artwork as effective as possible. While that may mean sticking to simple designs in some cases, in other cases it may mean going for something a little bit more complex. Experiment to see which types of designs are the most successful.

Think Outside The Rectangle

When you think of a postage stamp, you probably picture a traditional rectangular design. In fact, however, postage stamps have been created in a variety of different shapes over the years. Some were shaped like circles or triangles while others were shaped like octagons, hearts, and even pieces of fruit. Don’t feel like you are limited to only designing rectangular designs. Instead, have the courage to challenge the rules, coming up with your own unique designs. Even though it may be a little bit frightening to veer off of the main path, you may surprise yourself by creating new, groundbreaking designs. Remember there is always a chance you will be the next stamp designer – it’s an industry. For instance you can see that the USPS reveals new stamp series to be added in 2018

Don’t Push Things Too Far

Even though it is important to experiment and try new things, there are certain requirements that your designs have to meet. For instance, most stamps have to meet certain formatting rules in order to print properly. If your designs don’t follow these rules, they may not be able to be printed. It is important to know which rules you can break and which ones you need to follow. Be bold and experiment. At the same time, however, make sure that your designs are feasible for the real world.

Always Review Your Designs

Imagine how upsetting it would be to have your design printed on a series of stamps only to discover an error after the printing was complete. To avoid this type of scenario, it is important to carefully review your artwork before you submit it. Check every detail to make sure that there are no problems or errors that need to be addressed. You may also want to have someone else take a look at your design for you. Sometimes, an outside observer can spot errors that you may have overlooked. Ultimately, the job of a designer is not only to create beautiful designs but also to make sure that those designs don’t contain any errors.


Avatar photo


The press release and the photographs are courtesy of the gallery and the artists.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial