Swiss Stamp Design Schweizer Les Timbres suisses Kurt Wirth There are few assignments that make such subtle demands on a designer's skill as a postage stamp. A little thought about the purpose of a stamp shows that it is a relative of the negotiable papers, a kind of small banknote, meant to acknowledge receipt of payment for a service to be provided by the Post Office. The most important in formation the postage stamp has to convey is consequently the name of the issuing authority and its value. As a bearer of information it is small, but it is nevertheless a symbol or emblem of the country in which it was designed and printed. It also reveals to some extent the nature of the collaboration between postal authorities and designers, and shows what artistic attitude the former take. In spite of its diminutive size, the postage stamp is an ambassador of its country and bears witness to its nation's graphic potential as well as to its culture and way of life. It is about 140 years since the first stamp appeared. There were no teething troubles in its design, the very first issues showing complete mastery of the medium. The first of all stamps, the English Black Penny, is still exemplary in both design and engraving. The emblematic pictures used on coins probably inspired the first stamp designers. It was a fairly obvious expedient to use the portrait of a monarch to denote the sovereignty of state, or an allegorical figure or coat of arms for a republic. It is even quite probable that the ministers in charge wanted the first stamps to bear a recognizable resemblance to coins of the realm. Postage stamps are not only used on letters or parcels, they are also collected, and are listed each year in the philatelic catalogues. They therefore continue to exist as expressions of their time with all its interests and problems, and of course of its graphic style. This smallest of all categories of printed matter is a lasting challenge not only to the designer but also to the postal authorities. Every project must respect the special properties of the postage stamp and mus'ie more than a tiny picture with a few words of copy. There is no Wt round these criteria. Fortunately there is no accepted recipe for st-jip c design either, for that would make things too simple and would :>o tend to restrict the range. The skilled designer is no doubt led liar feeling for the essence of a stamp and is thereby enabled to fiiita T controlled and understandable clarity of form and to limit his vijilzk* message to its fundamentals. The choice of colours is subject to certain rules. The use of hams It nious colours is optically better than complementary gaudiness, w!j:h .c accords badly with the small format. Colour may also have a functi< it purpose, especially in engraved single-colour stamps. A colou M< allocated to each value simply because it is perceived more rapidly tul a number, which has to be read. Although there are many examples of foreign postage stamps that re not very successful because they are simply borrowed pictures jatte really designed for the medium, as a whole stamp design has been lie. affected by changing art styles. Nor does it show any distinct linpf development of its own, with an experimental spearhead that coulou construed as an avant-garde. This might be due to the reluctancoht designers to risk unpopular designs, or to a mistrust of the new ome part of the Post Office. Whatever the cause may be, the postage stap has not become a power active in the field of changing styles, as it m it have done, and as visual communication has done, even to the exterpfe'i influencing the idioms of painting. Yet respect for the design requirements of the postage stamp cpjrr not preclude new and individual approaches, nor does it preventie designer from using his own personal mode of expression. There is jll i unlimited scope for new departures that are nevertheless quitdti keeping with the character of the postage stamp. Designers Entmrfer j Graf-its 1) CELESTINO I Bj l 2) 9) HANS HART^SN 3) HANS K&B 4) HERBERT L»>)'J 5)-7) HERMANN EIDENtSB 8) MAYA ALLENjMH 10) KURT MjlH [Texte francais: page 57] 52 Swiss stamps comprise a general-issue series (steel engraving), publicity sap; (one or two emissions a year) and the annual Pro Patria and Pro Juventute stips (gravure) with a surtax for the respective welfare fund. The Post Office invites «w designers to submit projects, and a mixed jury selects the winning design. For seel if. reasons, the stamps shown here are about one third above actual size. Our thanksto the Swiss Post Office for permission to reproduce original designs, and tijhc- Zumstein company in Berne for placing the stamps at our disposal. Our audi is himself a reputed stamp designer. Editor Die Schweizer Briefmarken umfassen vier Gruppen: eine allgemeine Serie (Jhl; stich), Werbemarken mit einer bis zwei Emissionen pro Jahr, die jahrlichen ro- Juventute- und Pro-Patria-Marken (Atztiefdruck) mit Zusatztaxe. Die PTT-We.éi- chenabteilung ladt jeweils einige Designer ein, Entwiirfe einzureichen. Ein.re- mischte Jury (Gesuchsteller, Vertreter der PTT, der Eidg. Kunstkommission'ter Philatelie) wahlt den zur Ausfiihrung gelangenden Entwurf. Aus Sicherheitsgrii en sind die hier gezeigten Marken um ca. einen Drittel grosser als die Originale.vir danken der PTT und der Firma Zumstein Cie, Bern, die uns die Marken zur ii fügung steilte. Unser Autor ist selber ein bekannter Briefmarken-Designer. RtdèSm Les emissions de timbres suisses se composent d'une série générale (gravéjut acier), de timbres publicitaires (une ou deux émissions par an) et des séries annvles Pro Patria et Pro Juventute (en hélio) avec surcharge en faveur des organisation de bienfaisance correspondantes. Les PTT invitent quelques designers a leur sourritre des projets appréciés ensuite par un jury mixte. Pour des raisons de sécurittjles timbres reproduits ici le sont a environ 4/3 de leurs vraies dimensions, 'jus remercions les PTT suisses pour l'autorisation de reproduire les composijns originales, la maison Zumstein de Berne pour la mise a disposition des tinjres reproduits. L'auteur de notre texte est un créateur de timbres réputé. La Rédactiot.J

Graphis de | 1983 | | page 54