THE MINIATURE BEAUTY OF POSTAGE STAMPS IS CAPTURED IN A BIG WAY WITHIN THIS NEW PUBLICATION BY UNIT EDITIONS
Graphic Stamps: The miniature beauty of postage stamps is the 24th book by Unit Editions, the publishing that focuses its interest in the making of exclusively graphic design-oriented publications. Its latest book is the collaboration between renowned British graphic designer, Tony Brook and graphic designer-turned-writer/editor, Adrian Shaughnessy. The book is packed with amazing collection of stamps from around the world, meticulously selected for their intriguing graphic design attributes by two stamp enthusiasts/graphic designers, Lain Follett and Blair Thompson.
“Collecting stamps for their graphic design qualities is the main reason I started to collect. It didn’t come from a desire to find out more about postal history. It was to find the best in stamp design and to promote the designers behind them to the wider design audience.” said Follett, the owner of half of the stamps featured in the book. Thompson, the collector of the other half interestingly remarks how most people tend to have a preconceived notion about stamp collecting as a serious hobby of old people who wear a long coat with a pair of tweezers and magnifying glass in their hands, or something only the nerdy schoolboys would find fun doing. But to them, stamp collecting is more than what most people think, particularly when it involves finding the ones with unique graphic design from around the world. Thompson opens an instagram account under the name Graphilately where he posts pictures of cool graphic stamps with background information and designers’ names. The account currently has 85,000 followers.
Surprisingly, not that many stamp designs have been included in most historical books of graphic design. As we recall, there was only a series of Dutch stamps created by the legendary design studio, TOTAL DESIGN, which is the most mentioned and recognized one by far. Another strange thing we see from this book is a great number of stamps with the most stylish and interesting designs that come from countries whose reputation in graphic design is almost unheard of, be there Uruguay, Bulgaria or Venezuela.
Additionally, it is truly a shame that these two dimensional, miniature creations have never received the recognition they deserve from the graphic design community. The fact is stamps are the works that require masterful skills and brilliant ideas where excesses are carefully eliminate while essences of characters are have to be creatively preserved. The results are great works that people can recognize and remember no matter on what occasions they are designed for. The book opens new perspective to a form of graphic wonder in a super impressive stamp collection that many of us have never seen or been interested in before. Perhaps this is a retirement hobby we can really enjoy.
TEXT: PIYAPONG BHUMICHITRA