I met this leaf of stamps at my local store. It was love it first sight. Not much of a design, but bright colours and flowers are a weakness of mine. Extra communicative flourishes email can’t buy. Then I read the text: ‘Live the seasons with Seasons: for twenty years the outdoor life style magazine of the Netherlands’. Did I fall in love with an advertisement?
Some may wonder now, what happened to the celebrated design tradition of the Dutch PTT. Alas, the former government organisation is privatised now. The proud mail man and woman of PTT are replaced by temps. The design department abolished.
One look at the stamps pages of the website of PTT’s successor Post.nl shows that the Dutch have gone postal. Stock images. Nice but not intelligent design. We descended to the level of the United Arabic Emirates.
Still, was the PTT so much different from Post.nl? How did organisations end up on PTT-stamps anyway?
In the old days organisations officially applied for a stamp design at the PTT. If you were relevant for society and had a jubilee to celebrate there was a great chance you were allowed to leave a mark on society in a nice designer suit.
Even designers themselves could not suppress their desire of being stamped. In 1968 the international Council of Graphic Design Associations (ICOGRADA) organised their third congress in Eindhoven. This was a big thing in those days and the Dutch design world demanded a stamp to celebrate this.
The answer was no. Designers had to content themselves with making a stamp designs for others. In those days and for a long time to come still an honour.
These days the Dutch Association for Designers can pay Post.nl to have a stamp made. But they won’t. And I don’t blame them for it. Nevertheless, I am happy with my flowers, but not that intellectually challenged.