The classic question of “How would you like to be remembered” is one rarely answered with “by my handwriting”, but perhaps (whether she likes it or not) top-drawer illustrator Marion Deuchars may well become so. I could wax-lyrical about Marion’s work for yonks, but it might be easier to give it the credit due by showing a new set of stamps she’s lent her trademark hand to alongside Hat-trick design in London. The set is to celebrate 50 years of The Royal Shakespeare Company and we’ve got a lovely little extract from an explanation from Marion about the series, as well as all 6 designs up-close and personal.
“Working on the Royal Mail stamps for RSC 50th anniversary was a real honour.
Producing artwork that will work at stamp size is a unique challenge, especially when considering the legibility of handwriting combined with photography, within this 15mm square format. I worked on layouts, and then shrunk them down to stamp size, often to find an image that was expressive and clear one minute, became difficult to read. Endeavoring to make my type work at such an intimate scale was an ambitious undertaking and at first I thought impossible. However, I also knew it would create a distinct and engagingly graphic depiction of a very well known subject.
Considering the space available we initially experimented with single words but decided that they didn’t have the same impact as a short quote. I was very keen to get a full Shakespeare quote on a stamp, be able to read it and react to it emotionally. To create a little piece of poetry, stamp size.
I liked the idea of juxtaposing some very obvious quotes with some less known citations. In the end, working closely with Hat-trick design, the Royal Mail and RSC, we went through various different permutations of type and image before deciding on predominantly black and white stamps with a key quote. Famous actors and well-known plays were selected and a relationship between them and the words was formed.
In the end I tried for an emotive quality between the character from RSC archives and the words, as if they were being sounded out on the stage.
For example, with the design for King Lear, I wanted the type to be fervent and disturbing, as if it had been scratched out, whereas in Romeo and Juliet I concentrated on it flowing round the figures and being more lyrical and passionate.
In the end I hope the stamps reflect the amazing work of the RSC and to appeal to the new and old audiences of Shakespeare."