I don’t want to come over as some sad old stamp geek, but thanks to a long association with Royal Mail Design, I’ve learned a thing or two about this minuscule art form. Strict rules about what you can and can’t do with the look and form of a stamp are gradually being loosened in an effort to attract younger collectors, and the January 2010 stamp issue by London Calling by The Clash, Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Blur’s Parklife and Led Zeppelin II.

I was among of a group of designers and music journalists to help draw up a shortlist for Royal Mail, and I’m glad to see that several of my suggestions made the cut. Mike Dempsey has cleverly played with the form of both the stamp and the sleeve, with a small crescent of record poking out of the right-hand side. Let’s hope the younger audience appreciate what this curious black stuff is. Personally, I’ll be buying as many Clash stamps as I can get my hands on. The iconic Pennie Smith photo of Paul Simenon smashing his bass still has immense power, and the type design by Ray Lowry – a homage to an earlier Elvis album – creates the perfect frame. Along with his many other achievements – bassist, artist, coolest man on Earth – Simenon becomes one of the first recognisable living people to appear on a British stamp. Until recently, only members of the Royal Family were accorded that honour. To see all the other classic British album sleeve stamps, check the Creative Review blog. God Save the Queen.

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