CBS commissions a series of stamps to visualise the ins and outs of voting via mail
Utilising the constraints of the delicate stamps, Danish designer Peter Ørntoft communicates facts and figures around voting in a recognisable context.
- Lucy Bourton
- 7 October 2020
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
Danish designer Peter Ørntoft’s projects tend to centre around utilising data into a design construct, with a process that always combines dialogue and research. His latest commission delves into this on a particularly timely topic: mail-in voting across the United States. Visualising the history and maths behind mail-in voting, Ørntoft's design interpretation takes the form of a stamp, a signifier of how mailing in your vote has been in practice since the 1864 US presidential election.
Taking information such as the percentage of voters who mail in their ballots, the amount of people choosing to vote absentee due to fears of Covid-19, and some revealing true facts around voter fraud, Ørntoft explains he had the idea of translating these statistics into a stamp format while “in my search for context,” the designer tells CBS. Choosing to utilise the design template of an already existing product is also a regular approach of Ørntoft's, explaining how he often aims to use “real objects and elements to visualise the data because it adds an extra tactile layer of information about the subject creating an emotional connection between the data and people”.
Working with Face the Nation [a weekly news and public affairs program aired on CBS on Sundays] to gather the data and develop a storyline, “my job was to select which data was more suitable for the storyline and which data was the best fit for the stamp format and stamp aesthetic,” he says.
Stylistically Peter’s interpretations sit well within the visual aesthetic realms of stamp design. Immediately identifiable from its scalloped paper edge, and largely sticking to the republican vs democrat colour palette of red and blue, there are several details added on each design to make Peter’s pieces appear authentic. For instance, a thin line and almost hatched illustration mark, often spotted on illustrations of both stamps and currency, is used to create shapes representing the age of voters, or to present a visual metaphor like an egg timer relating to the fact at hand.
Having never designed to such a small scale before, the designer describes the process of scaling down as “certainly a fun and interesting challenge,” he says. With the final pieces then photographed to emphasise their scale and tactile nature too: “Early in the process I made some test prints and I quickly got an overview of the limitations in terms of design and content,” he recalls. And, with such a delicate scale as his canvas, throughout the process, “it was all about keeping it simple and the data visualisation has to be as precise and clear as possible meaning not too many variables and not too much text.”
The full set of stamps can be viewed here, and will be used on air on CBS too.
Peter Ørntoft: Mailing-it-in for CBS (Copyright © Peter Ørntoft and CBS, 2020)
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.