Sunday, November 15, 2015

Design Flaw - 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit 2015

A  set of six stamps were released at the concluding session of the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit held from 26 to 29th October 2015, in New Delhi. These stamps were also released in a miniature sheet format (regular miniature sheet and embossed hot foil miniature sheet). The theme - easily predictable - for the stamps was animals in India and Africa, specifically, lions, rhinos and gazelles. Full marks for the idea and the paintings as well (designed by Suresh Kumar Achari). There are a few minor issues that show a sense of urgency in designing as well as printing from SPP Hyderabad.

The first design flaw (blue arrows in the image below) appears to be the location of the stamp title, '3rd India-Africa Forum Summit' in the two gazelle stamps. The other four stamps have the title well aligned to the top of the stamps. On the same two stamps, names of the gazelles (yellow boxes), Black Buck and Thomson's Gazelle are capitalized oddly. First letters of both words, for e.g. Indian Lion and African Lion appears to be a common approach on stamps, but the second words on Black Buck and Thomson's Gazelle are not capitalized (it reads Black buck and Thomson's gazelle). The last issue is most likely due to space constraints and a personal preference (red boxes). The two Lion stamps have the country name, stamp title and the denomination, all appear on the same top alignment making the stamps overcrowded.

Suggestions to mitigate such issues:
1. Proof reading the final designs will ensure spelling errors or capitalization mistakes don't occur (read another blog post about needing a research group in the Philately Division). Re-checking the final designs will also ensure simple design errors are caught and this exercise would be aimed at ensuring consistency and a well made final product for stamp collectors.

2. A radical approach to this particular stamp issue could have been to restrict the scope of work itself. Similar to the 2011 Africa-India Forum Summit stamps, where Indian and Africa elephants were depicted in a well designed miniature sheet (designed by Kamleshwar Singh), either rhinoceros or lions could have been chosen as the theme. A limited number of stamps could have ensured maximum sale (lower costs for the philatelists) and saved a couple ideas for future commemorations (potentially even joint issues with African nations). Below is shown a cropped image of the 2015 miniature sheet with rhinos only and the 2011 stamps.

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