The Daily Heller: Never Cancel Love Day

  • by

Niko Courtelis, Chief Perforation Officer of the Portland Stamp Company, decided to celebrate the late designer and Yale professor Bradbury Thompson by creating a commemorative poster of all the Love stamps that began when the industry icon was a design director of the U.S. Postal Service. Thompson was in charge of the Love series from the beginning, assigning and working with Robert Indiana on the first issue of 1973 and Mary Faulconer on her all-flower design of 1982. His own stamp in the series (above) was issued in 1984. In observance of Valentine’s Day—the traditional release date for Love stamps—Courtelis shared a little love with The Daily Heller.

You’ve been a postage stamp scholar and designer and printer and perforator for a few years. What inspired you to create this poster? Does it have an underlying agenda?
This is the fourth year that The Portland Stamp Company has released our Love stamp poster. It’s a big shout out to the wonderful talents of the designers, artists and illustrators that have given us these gifts.

It’s also a celebration of Bradbury Thompson, who created the first Love stamp with the art of Robert Indiana.

The agenda is pretty overt! We want to spread as much love as we can; the world could certainly use more of it right now.

Obviously, these are popular stamps all year round.

Why does love have such appeal as a stamp?
Well, love is always appealing. The power of analog correspondence and connecting with someone through the mail cannot be overstated. We often end missives with “Love, …” or “XO,” or a heart. Having that outward expression as the stamp concept brings it full circle.

Which of the love stamps do you favor most?
No, please don’t ask me that!

Looking at them in total, we’re each going to favor some designs over others; it’s subjective. When I talk to people about them, I’m often surprised at how strongly they feel about Love stamps, and that everyone seems to have a different favorite. Collecting them all into the poster gives us the chance to appreciate the excellent job that the USPS has done since the first release in 1973, and to compare the variety of art and design trends, typography treatments and print techniques. Most of these designers could create an excellent stamp regardless of the topic.

Do you think there is a trick to creating a Love stamp? Other than the trope of love, that is?
Well, I’ve never done one (I do have some ideas!). The canvas is small, so developing a concept with broad appeal and a fresh execution at that scale would be a challenge. Not to mention that some great work has been done, so the bar is high. That said, there are many ways to express love, and lots of cultural and creative territory yet to be explored.

Love is forever. But Love stamps? Are they forever, too?
They’ve captured hearts for over 50 years, so yeah, I’d say they have staying power.

Stamps, and by extensions Love stamps and analog correspondence, are becoming a bit outmoded. But I really do believe that taking the time to send a handwritten message has greater meaning and power, whether it’s a message of love, or one of protest. The handwriting, the paper and envelope, and of course THE STAMP all send a message to the recipient … and all for 68¢, what’s not to love?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.