British Design Classics stamps by Royal Mail



Britain's Royal Mail has issued a set of ten stamps celebrating 20th-century British design classics.


The series, which went on sale today, features designs including Robin Day's Polypropylene chair (top), the Mini (above) and the Anglepoise lamp (below).


See our story from January 2007 about a series of stamps celebrating Dutch design.


Here's some info from Royal Mail:


British Design Classics – Available from Tuesday 13th January 2009

Your 2009 Special Stamp collection starts here.


We always like to start the year with a classic and this year we’re launching our Special Stamp programme with ten, in one very special issue – British Design Classics.


Britain has produced some of the world’s most iconic design work of the 20th Century and to help us select which icons to choose we gathered together a panel of experts from the world of design to help us make the final cut.


From the distinctive lines of R J Mitchell’s Spitfire fighter and the stylish chic of Mary Quant’s daring mini skirt to the calm of the Penguin Books jacket and the practicality of Robin Day’s Polypropylene chair.


But there’s one brilliant design that remains close to millions of people’s hearts - the Mini. Fifty years ago, in 1959, the first Minis rolled off the production lines at the British Motor Corporation’s plants at Longbridge, Birmingham and Cowley in Oxford.


Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, the revolutionary small car remained in production until 2000 and is the most popular British designed and built car ever. Not only that but its stylish design made it a hit with the trend setters of the swinging sixties with everyone from John Lennon and Marianne Faithfull to Peter Sellers and Steve McQueen owning one.


1st Class – Supermarine Spitfire
The superlative Battle of Britain fighter with its distinctive elliptical wings was designed by R J Mitchell who sadly died before the plane went into production.

1st Class Large – Mini Skirt
Mary Quant rewrote the fashion rules for women forever with her daring design.

1st Class – The Mini
Sir Alec Issigonis made use of every available space in the small car that was as much a fashion statement as a means of transport.

1st Class – Anglepoise Lamp
George Carwardine’s flexible design brought light wherever it was needed.

1st Class – Concorde
Aerospatiale and BAC’s supersonic jet was capable of twice the speed of sound and beautiful to look at too.


1st Class – K2 Telephone Kiosk
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s design bright-red phone box always stood out on the streets of the UK.

1st Class – Polypropylene Chair
Found in public buildings throughout the world, almost everyone will have sat on a Robin Day chair at some time.

1st Class – Penguin Books
Edward Young’s book jacket design was instantly recognizable as a Penguin edition.

1st Class – London Underground Map
Harry Beck’s easy to understand design was based on an electrical wiring diagram.

1st Class – Routemaster Bus
Once a symbol of London to visitors from all over the world now only a few of Douglas Scott and Colin Curtis’s remain on London’s streets.

Posted on Tuesday January 13th 2009 at 9:00 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • andy

    Whilst it’s nice a company as large as royal mail is doing this, every time british people talk about design it appears to be the same things over and over. What about jasper morrison or paul smiths contributions, would it not be more worthwhile showing people design that is perhaps not so well known.

  • Jay D

    very cool, simple stamps!

  • modular

    That is good design. On the stamps… i mean :)

  • blank

    No mention of the 11th British design classic featured on these stamps. Gill Sans, which features on each of these stamps twice and sometimes thrice.

  • eric luyckx

    and Gill sans by Gill

  • Those are truly unique designs for stamps I just love them I just wish that someone would come up with so unique designs for South African stamps.

  • Billy

    We celebrate our heritage on stamps but stamp on our heritage. Double decker buses, telephone boxes, Concorde killed off- and the tube is a disgrace. Rant over

  • Xit

    Andy, I agree Japser Morrison and Paul Smith are great designers, but I dont think their work has served/influenced the general public at the same level as these design examples (Yet).

  • waka

    candy for the eye

  • MG

    Andy: I think the point is that these are design icons. There are probably better examples of design out there, but for some reason or another they aren’t as recognizable.

  • NonW00t

    First Dr. Who, 1392. LOL

  • Love the Gill. Such un-inspirational shots 0f those amazing aircraft! Sorry Xit and Andy (Please Andrew don’t drop your apostrophe’s) Jasper who? And has Sir Paul smith ever had an original idea in his life? Plagiarist’s, answers on a postcard please…

  • that great collection stamp… I like it.. it’s valuable

  • stevenlufc

    What about Jonathan Ive, the British born designer changing the way the world looks at and uses computers/phones with Apple.

  • Suen

    interesting, like it, & want to have letter eceived from UK with those stamps on. :-D

    Gill San font type, ah huh! should have one with “Stamp” or “Gill San” on one of the stamp to acknowledge Eric Gill.

  • Suen

    btw would like to have a collection of the font which Underground uses… on the stamps.

  • Really great stuff. Choice of image treatment and those Gill sans fonts perfect complement em.

    You guys at BMS ought to see our own home stamps (Nigeria) then you would appreciate what you got. Ours are not designed at all.

    I have ami9nd to visit our Philatelic Service toofer my services even for free.

  • Remember the series Inside Herman’s Head? ,

  • Nice… very attractive…

  • jeongmi

    design for Korea~