RSA Stamp Project 2012

RSA Stamp Project Water DropletMy first post on my own work! This was one of my projects from my first year of uni which shared the brief with the RSA’s Postage stamp competition. I wanted to take this chance to advance my Adobe Illustrator and typography skills as well as experimenting with some basic illustration.

There were two options, I chose Brief B: World with a Future – “Design a set of stamps as a means of encouraging consumers to make positive environmental changes and educate future generations with regard to energy conservation, low-impact transport, zero-carbon housing, and reducing water over-consumption.”
Projects based on the environment and the reduction of our impact upon the climate have been covered many times but despite this I think there’s plenty of scope for new ideas and ways of tackling this problem as a graphic designer. It’s still a problem, it’s not going away and it’s part of everybody’s duty to do what they can.

I decided to whittle down the broad list of issues and focus on reducing family water consumption, as this is something that everyone can do and even the smallest change in habit can easily mount up to a big difference over the years. I wanted to engage children as well as adults to get the future generations thinking about how they relate to water from a young age – I think this is key to a more sustainable future and more environmentally conscientious Britain.

I thought the best way to target this broad target audience would be through a series of cartoon characters, mixed with contemporary typography, bold colour contrast and retro aesthetic. The decision to adopt a vintage approach was based on the idea that several generations would be able to identify with the characters and style, rather than primarily targeting children through a modern one.

Gary Taxali’s illustrative style was a big influence on these designs, studying his use of lines and technique helped me get the expressions down, as well as the use of halftone shading that you see so prevalantly in older styles of character illustration. I also admire Taxali’s colour decisions and use of found materials – they really take his illustrations to another level. Check out his work at

To accompany the characters I also added concise tips on reducing water consumption, some aimed at children but mainly aimed at adults and parents. Hopefully the cartoons would spark a child’s inquisitive nature and get them questioning why and how they can help. I didn’t end up submitting the stamp designs to the competition as I wasn’t 100% satisfied that they were finished, I still think they could do with some work and will hopefully revisit them in the future.


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