It’s finally out. The mighty, 64-page 2009 Royal Mail Yearbook represents around four months of Jim’s working life across this year and last – and goes some way to account for the recent dearth of entries on this section of the website.

But flicking through page after handsome page, the effort seems more than worthwhile. This year’s 14 stamp issues included British Design Classics, Mythical Creatures, Naval Uniforms and the Industrial Revolution, and the Yearbook delves into many of their more interesting nooks and crannies. We came up with the title ‘Feed Your Mind – A Great British Miscellany’ because of the bite-size editorial style, which cherry picks obscure facts and stories to bring each subject to life. It also fits in with the slightly unsettling custom-made phrenology head on the front and back covers.   The designers, hat-trick, have done a grand job… they went for a ‘more is more’ approach, scatter-gunning many smaller subjects around a central theme and packing each spread with visual interest and graphic wit. The result is busy and intriguing, a dippable smorgasbord of a book rather than a meaty read. The results speak for themselves, but the ambitious approach made for a research-intensive project, with Jim needing to get to grips with from everything from the rules of jousting, to the myth of the Giant’s Causeway, to the most people to fit into a phone box, to the Burns poem Tam O’Shanter. And plenty more besides. We’ll be posting more spreads and details when we get them. This is Jim’s fifth Royal Mail Yearbook, and he’s just been commissioned to write his sixth for next year. Hat-trick will be designing again. You can get hold of your very own copy here.

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