ISSUE On 11 May 2020, PostNL will issue the postage stamp sheet For any time. The 6 stamps bear the denomination 1 for mail up to 20g destined for delivery in the Netherlands. With this issue, PostNL introduces the successor of the stamp sheet Stamps for all Occasions from 2017. The 6 new stamps are suitable for cards or letters that are sent, for example, to congratulate someone, encourage them, show them you appreciate them, apologise, show affection or share something humorous.
DESIGN The For any time stamps feature 6 full-picture illustrations of faces with various emotions that match the wish featured on the adjacent tab. The colour of the text on the tabs is a darker version of the colour of the face next to it. The same applies to the denomination. The 6 stylised faces in lilac, blue, brown, green, red and yellow pastels have large eyes and a red mouth. The look in the eyes and the shape of the mouth express the corresponding emotion. On the right-hand side of the stamp there is room for the country (Nederland), year of issue (2020), denomination 1 and sorting hook. The title of the stamp sheet is printed on the left-hand edge of the sheet and the PostNL logo and the barcode are printed on the right-hand edge.
TYPOGRAPHY The typography font is the FF Metaplus font by Erik Spiekermann (Berlin, 1993). Spiekermann developed this font as an ‘antithesis’ for Helvetica.
DESIGNER PostNL asked design agency Beukers Scholma from Haarlem to design new occasional stamps with a positive character suitable for a wide audience. “Then you start brainstorming right away, of course,” explains Haico Beukers. “We knew what the design would be even before the final briefing. That’s why we didn’t start sketching immediately but let the design ‘simmer’ for a while. This led to the choice of making things abstract. We based this approach on the emotions people want to show when they contact someone by sending a card. Emoticons and smileys are the ultimate way to convey emotions in this day and age. And in our view, this requires an illustrative approach. In the briefing we received later on there was a strong preference for a typographical approach. But you can deviate from briefings.”
Marga Scholma: “You ponder colour, shape, the degree of abstractness. All through the day or at night when you lie awake for a while. All our work is based on two main starting points: keep it simple and ensure everything has a vibrant clarity. Limit yourself to just one thing. Because two might already be too much. Based on these starting points, we came up with a lovely new colour palette for the illustrations. And we experimented with the contours of the faces at the same time.”
Skulls and chins
The shapes of the six gender-neutral faces on the stamps are the same, while the eyes and mouth indicate both the character of the person and the corresponding emotion. Beukers: “You can still tell the difference. On the top row of the stamp sheet the skulls continue onto the adjoining tabs above them. The same applies to the chins on the bottom row. It makes the entire stamp sheet more dynamic. Because of the simple design of the illustrations, primary colours could easily turn the entire design into something that is little childish. That’s why we chose a palette of understated pastel colours that go together nicely. The colours were combined to create aesthetically pleasing and mature faces. Sympathetic with a friendly character. The Metaplus font suits this to a T. Not business like, but still straight. Without capitals and either in grey or colours based on the illustrations.”
Text on tab
The illustrations are printed on the stamp as large as possible against a white background. With this clear approach the designers wanted to get the emotion of the stamp to jump off the page. Scholma: “They speak for themselves. That’s the reason why we didn’t put the emotion on the stamp itself but on the tab next to it. It also means the sender can use the stamp if it doesn’t literally tie in with the message he or she wants to convey. And when it does, you can stick the tab on the card together with the stamp. That’s why we asked PostNL to use a perforation pattern that allows each stamp to have its own tab.”
Strongest and most applicable
The 6 stamps with 6 faces and 6 corresponding emotions are the result of a hefty selection process. Beukers: “We started with a list of 20 emotions. Then we designed stamps for 12 of them. In consultation with PostNL, we then chose the 6 strongest and most applicable. The colours determine the order of the stamps on the sheet. But you can also use 2 stamps at once if you want to connect the emotions. So you could send a ‘congratulations’ and a ‘sorry’ to someone if your card is late.”
About the designers
Haico Beukers (1960) and Marga Scholma (1966) have been partners at Beukers Scholma, located in Haarlem, since 1997. The design firm works primarily in the field of architecture and urban planning, creating designs for the cultural sector, municipal institutions and businesses. Its customer base currently includes the municipality of Amsterdam (Space and Durability), architects agency Meganom, Heren 5 architects, Japan Museum SieboldHuis, publisher Lectura Cultura, publisher nai010, historical research agency Stad en Bedrijf, SteenhuisMeurs (agency for cultural history and area development) and publisher THOTH.
Haico Beukers studied graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam from 1977 to 1983, while Marga Scholma followed the same course from 1985 to 1990, but at the Academie Minerva in Groningen. Between their graduation and the start of their own agency, they both gained experience at other agencies, as a partner and as a senior designer respectively. Both of them act as jury members for different design, architecture and children’s books awards and they regularly advise students of Academie Minerva in Groningen. Haico Beukers has been adviser on stamp design for PostNL since 2017.
Beukers Scholma previously designed stamps for PostNL, including Panorama Mesdag (1995), Honderd voor uw zaken (1997), Division of KPN (1998), National Map Weeks (2003), Borderless Netherlands: Japan (2014), Model ships from the Maritime Museum (2015), Denk Groen PostEurop (2016), 220 years of postal service (2019) and the XL-stamp(2020). They also designed the postage paid stamps with the tulip and the herring and the counter postage strips. The agency won a Red Dot Award (Special Award Highest Design) for the Honderd voor uw zaken stamps and a Silver Award (European Design Awards 2015) for the stamp sheet Borderless Netherlands: Japan.
SALE/VALIDITY The stamps are available while stocks last in Bruna shops and at www.postnl.nl/bijzondere-postzegels [in Dutch]. The stamps can also be ordered by phone from the Collect Club customer service on telephone number +31 (0)88 868 99 00. The validity period is indefinite.
VALUE The denomination on these stamps is ‘Nederland 1’, for standard letters weighing up to 20 grams sent to an address within the Netherlands.
- Stamp size: 36 x 25mm
- Sheet format: 144 x 75 mm
- Paper: normal with phosphor print
- Gum: gummed
- Printing technique: offset
- Printing colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black
- Edition: 108,000 sheets
- Appearance: sheet of 6 stamps in 6 different designs
- Design: Beukers Scholma, Haarlem
- Printing company: Koninklijke Joh. Enschedé B.V.
- Item number: 400672
- Issue: For any time
- Issue date: 11 May 2020
- Presentation: sheet of 6 postage stamps in 6 designs
- Item number: 400672
- Design: Beukers Scholma, Haarlem
COPYRIGHT © 2020 Koninklijke PostNL BV