The saying, ‘written on the back of a stamp‘ often means either you know very little, or don’t have very much to say, on a subject. Or that you don’t have a great deal of space to exercise all the expressive qualities and messages you think you need.

These self-initiated Basic Stamps by Duane Dalton demonstrate that space constraints are no hurdle when you really concentrate on what’s important, and that giving your message a stamp of authenticity can be achieved within the smallest formats.

Looking at these made me think of the challenges that designing for small spaces on screen present – and the danger of following over-familiar design patterns – when there’s a whole world of vernacular inspiration out there, literally on the front (rather than the back) of a stamp, as Dalton’s work demonstrates.

Perhaps it’s worth taking a page out of philately’s album for inspiration. After all their currency’s been one of reducing design down to it’s essentials for getting on for two hundred years.

With the pressure on, finding the right visual shorthand cues and clues to keeping things small is a big challenge – as the excellent Work&Co demonstrate here –

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

Latest Posts By Richard Hill


Design, Experiences, Just design!, Re-thinking, UX


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