Postage Stamp Design

Stamp, '1948'The design is an essential point of the stamp manufacturing process. It has a lot to do with graphic design like images, definition, color, type etc, but done on a small area of a stamp. Since the first stamp release (and it was a UK Penny Black with Queen Victoria depicted on it), there were thousands of different designs of the stamps created for different purposes from postal to collecting.

Postage stamp design is not just an image, it should correspond to numerous criteria, and still serve its main function. One of the most important functions of the stamp is denoting of its actual money value. Also, postage stamp is an object to international agreements, and it should not violate the laws of the country of issuing. The country name though should appear on every postage stamp in the world. Stamp’s design must me understandable for anybody, at any corner of the world, so such common sense might be a problem for people from absolutely different cultures.

Essential Elements to pay attention to in a Stamp Design

There are 6 details or compounds that are extremely significant in a postage stamp design:

1) Value

Stamp, J. KennedyMost of people believes that the main feature of a stamp is to indicate the value or denomination of the pre-payment of postage. Because of the thing that different sizes and types of letters usually cost different sums of postage, the postage stamps are need to have a particular and precise value.

The value is usually in a shape of a number, sometimes it is followed or preceeded by the common symbol of currency. In past, the denomination on the stamps was shown through full words of numbers, however, later the in order to make postal stamps more universal, UPU (agency in the united nations that coordinates postal services) made a decision for every stamp to use Arabic numbers. It is way easier and simplifies the process for people in different countries.

Semi postal stamp usually have two values, separated by the + (plus) symbol. The value that comes first indicates the real amount, while the number that comes after + shows the amount that will be donated to those in need.

Sometimes you will be able to see the stamps with dual currency, and it is usually geographically reasonable. For example, the stamps of Ireland had two currencies, one number expressed in pounds and another one in euro. With the introduction of political changes such stamps can disappear, which will make them really valuable.

2) Name of the Country

Stamp, ParisAnother really essential element depicted on the postal stamp is the name of the country where the stamp was issued. It is extremely important for the stamps that will travel beyond the borders of one country.

As the first stamp was created in the UK, it had no name of the country written on it, by that time its origin was obvious. However, later the UPU gave the UK the right not to indicate country’s name on the stamps, because their distinctive feature was the picture of the reigning person (the Queen for example) on their stamps. Even nowadays, the UK is the only country that is free from indicating country’s name on the stamps. But speaking about all the rest of the countries, their names must use Latin alphabet for international purposes.

The name of the country is usually shortened in order to fir the size of the small stamp. That’s why some countries use abbreviations, though some countries do it only from the perspective of stamp aesthetics. The size here limits the creativity, however for some it is a challenge.

Some countries prefer their previous names instead of the current one. It is caused historically and some time needed for people to recognize the country by its new name and for the residents to identify themselves with it. So, the name on the stamp reflects the political changes as well.

Some countries have different names and use them all on their stamps. When it comes to the stamp design, designer chooses the name which suits design the most. The designer has the power here, so some countries have the adjective in front of them if the space allows. Some small countries that gained independency decide up to their choice whether to indicate the name of previous or parent country or not.

Postage Stamp Design (Part 2)

Postage Stamp Design (Part 3)