Supple Studio's Yearbook design that brings Royal Mail's stamps to life

From Game of Thrones to Women’s Suffrage, the Royal Wedding and Harry Potter – the last 12 months have seen quite a range of special stamp designs from Royal Mail.

Each year, the postal service releases a Yearbook to showcase its range of collectable stamps and for 2018, it was the turn of Bath-based design agency Supple Studio to come up with a design for the book.

The 64 page casebound collectors book, titled Putting Stamps First, celebrates the 15 special stamp designs of 2018, with a chapter for each stamp written by a specialist on the given subject.

“The Yearbook is regarded by many as one of Royal Mail’s most prestigious products. Limited to a print run of 8,000 each year, it has been designed by some of the most creative UK agencies around. So we felt a certain weight of responsibility to maintain the standards they had set,” says Supple’s creative director, and designer of the book, Jamie Ellul.

“Traditionally the stamps are tipped into the rear pages of each chapter and sit alongside an interview with the stamp issue's designer. We decided to turn that tradition on its head. In our design, the stamps sit prominently on the opening page of each chapter, giving them the heroic status they deserve.”

Appropriate typefaces were chosen to reflect the subject matter's era or styling and were mostly created in-house, as well as commissioned lettering by calligrapher John Stevens and letterpress workshop The Letterpress Collective. A predominantly black and white approach was chosen for the typography that sits around each stamp, to allow the stamps themselves to leap off the page and become the focus of the design.

The cover and presentation box features a different treatment of the book title on each face – reflecting the diversity of the stamp subjects within. Printed with a warm red Pantone ink as a nod to the iconic Royal Mail post box, the book has a magazine-like feel to the flexible grid allowing for short and long chapters depending on the depth of the subject matter.

The Yearbook is available via Royal Mail.


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