Friday, November 20, 2015

Lame Designing - Is it really 2015, India Post?

Note for Clarification: There are ample good ideas such as crowdsourcing and stamp designs that are often used by India Post. Gandhi Return from South Africa (2015), Swachh Bharat (2015), India-France Joint issue (2015), Charkha (2015), Indian Musicians (2014), Border Security Force (2015) etc. are some recent examples of decent quality work.

But, being a stickler for good design, at least five stamp issues in the last couple years (2014 and 2015) stand out for poor execution. Stamp designs, either appropriating logos or using poor imagery reduces the overall quality of a stamp program. Logos for meetings, celebrations or any other events are typically designed to be used for publicity and to provide an identity, a connect with its audience. Rarely should postage stamps be utilizing such logos as the design backbone. Enough other related research material is generally available for design considerations. Three of these lazily executed stamp projects are shown below by comparing the stamp design and source material. Although the Yoga Day stamp depicts the official logo, the miniature sheet was well designed with elements of nature along with yoga postures.
Three Logos and their replica on postage stamps:
World Hindi Conference (2015), International Day of Yoga (2015) and Nabakalebara (2015)
One would think that famous Hindi writers like Phanishwar Nath Renu, Nirmal Verma, Rajendra Mathur, Makhanlal Chaturvedi, etc. could have been released to commemorate the World Hindi Conference. Similarly, the Yoga posture series from 1991 could have been continued with stamps on additional yoga postures being released. Nabakalebara 2015 should also have been commemorated with stamps depicting some aspects of the traditions involved in idol making.

Stamp design for a couple other issues, viz. Kuka Movement and Old Seminary Kottayam showed a clear apathy toward philately and research in general. Kuka Movement coins were released in 2012 to commemorate 150 years of the struggle. The coin design was similar to the stamp as well, but appeared to be better than the coin. Stamps generally have more space and better technology for printing rendering it a better medium of expression. The Kuka Movement stamps thus appear to lack innovation and planning during the design phase. One could easily envision including Satguru Ram Singh Ji's image as the main theme for this stamp. 
Kuka Movement stamp (2014; above) and commemorative coin (2012)
The last stamp issue for discussion is the Old Seminary, Kottayam stamp released in April 2015. The seminary turned 200 years, but the stamp to commemorate the bicentenary shows a recent addition to the institution, its main entrance! Red arrows on the image below show the cut-paste job done to create the stamp design. An image from the internet exactly matches the one on the stamp with a superimposed blue sky. There are many more images on the seminary's website that could have commemorated 200 years of this institution better than the main entrance alone.
Pazhaya (Old) Seminary images from Malankara Orthodox Church TV website  (above top left and right). Top right image was most likely used on the stamps. 

List of Stamp Designers

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