new work – Royal Mail year book and year pack.

Before 2014 is but a dim and distant memory, here’s a sampler of Royal Mail’s Year Book and Year Pack, both published in November, for which we provided a variety of words. In case you don’t know, these tell the stories behind the stamps in slightly different ways. (And you get a full set of the past year’s stamps into the bargain.)

The Royal Mail Year Book is a handsome slip-cased book, with an extensive chapter on each subject area. Jim has written six entire Year Books in the past, but these days, each chapter is written by a leading light in that particular field.

Fortunately, we still get to do the most interesting bit, which is interviewing all the designers about their ideas, approach and how their stamps ended up looking as they did. That and the introduction, which sets up the overall visual theme of the book — last year’s being ‘Broadening horizons’. The 2014 Year Book was designed by Magpie Studio, and cleverly builds on the idea of looking outwards and upwards from the small gem of inspiration provided by a stamp image.

Jim also contributed the ‘Working Horses’ chapter, an appreciation of the work of the Riding for the Disabled Association, the amazing 45-year-old organisation that promotes equine therapy in the UK. You can click on the image above to read the first part of the story.

The Year Pack, meanwhile, is more snappy and immediate. A fold-out affair — more like a double-sided poster than anything else — it usually comprises a punchy idea-driven image on one side and short, 200-word outlines of the stamp subjects of the year on the other.

The 2014 Year Pack was designed by True North, and featured rhyming couplets hand-lettered by artist/designer Jon Gray, bringing all the disparate stamp subjects together. Jim’s task — one he’s done for the past ten years — was to distil each stamp story to its very essence. You can read a selection of these below (just click on the image to enlarge). As ever, the experience was enlightening, surprising, and a pleasure. Both are available to buy from the Royal Mail website.

click to download pdf.