Royal Mail has worked with a roster of top notch creative talent for its Animail stamp collection, enlisting Osborne Ross to design the stamps, and Magpie Studio to make its packs, which in turn commissioned designer and illustrator Owen Gildersleeve. Owen’s paper cut scenes put the little creatures into natural habitats, the koala clinging to a tree, the chimpanzee dangling from a vine, and the snake weaving through grass. For the project Owen was given the Osborne Ross stamp designs, which he recreated as paper cut illustrations, and set them amid a variety of surroundings. On the back of each presentation pack is also a game for kids to play with their families.
The stamps by Osborne Ross take the shape of six super-cute animals, which cling to the sides of envelopes. Royal Mail asked the studio to create something that hadn’t been done before and would appeal to children, which it delivered (ahem) with a design that considered and played with its placement on an envelope.
“We tried to find a balance between the fun of the brief and the accepted visual language of stamps,” says Andrew Ross, partner at Osborne Ross. “To the best of our knowledge there hasn’t been a stamp which wraps around an envelope before. The thought of a simple fold in a piece of paper bringing the creature printed on it to life appealed to us; we thought that this was an idea which would appeal to children and would achieve something which email and texting couldn’t compete with. We were looking to amplify the point of difference that makes receiving a piece of post so special.
“Stamps are a great challenge for a designer because you are working on a small canvas with a very limited kit of parts: an image, the Queen’s head, and the value. There’s not a great deal to hide behind so everything that is there has to justify being there. We created the illustrations in a simple geometric way to start with, which was then tempered with a little friendliness and quirkiness to give the creatures personality.”