Buy a Stamp and Get the Best of British Design


image from Royal Mail

British stamps don't just show the Queen's profile--they cover the whole range from endangered species to the Mini. The latest issue--British design classics--shows ten of the iconic images of British life in the twentieth century. The K2 telephone kiosk, created in 1932 and on the verge of disappearing due to mobile phones, is one that will always symbolise England to tourists. And the double-decker bus--the Routemaster--another disappearing species, is remembered.

Penguin book covers have been modernised beyond recognition now, so it is good to see that they have been recognised. And what about the mini skirt from the Swinging '60's. Mary Quant declared herself to be "hugely flattered and simply bowled over with delight. I think the mini-skirt is something that makes one feel happy and enjoy life."


image from Royal Mail

The "Polyprop" chair was designed in 1963 by Robin Day as low cost seating for mass production.

A charming letter to the Times newspaper elaborates on the creation:

Sir, I saw with considerable pride that one of the designs featured on the new postage stamps is the Hille polypropylene chair ("Stamp of approval for British design classics", Jan 13). My father, Leslie Julius, commissioned the design of this product, which represented a huge risk for a small family furniture company.

The unproven nature of the process represented a big gamble on modern design, which almost came to a halt when the first set of tooling produced a chair shell that was judged to be slightly too small. I remember that after days of agonising, it was decided to risk a second set of mouldings, while the smaller chair shell mould was leased to Japan.

Few had the foresight to see that this was a design that would go on to sell millions around the world and make such an important impact on the reputation of British design.

The Guardian has an alternate list of ironic classics that includes Nigella, the Dalek and Ryanair adverts. Take your pick.

More Stamps with Good Design
Endangered Species Stamps
Eames Stamps Issued

Tags: Buses | Designers | Urban Life