Monday, August 22, 2011

Innovation Nation

20th century American product innovators celebrated in recent USPS stamp collection.

If you can't afford to collect modern design objects from an auction at Christie's, you can at least now collect stamps of the items. OK, maybe it's not quite the same thing, but nonetheless, the United States Postal Service recently released a limited-edition set of stamps commemorating some of industrial design's pioneers, including Raymond Loewy, Henry Dreyfuss, Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague.

The collection targets the years from the 1930s to 1950s, an exciting period of design, spawned in part by the availability of electricity to consumers, industrialization, and other advances in technologies and materials such as radio, plastics, et cetera.

The Post Office website, which offers a pdf download with related biographical details, says the stamps were created to honor designers who helped shape the look of everyday life in the 20th century:

Teague camera. Wikipedia.
"The colorful stamps feature objects designed by 12 of the nation's most important and influential industrial designers, set against black selvage containing a photograph of the "Airflow" fan designed by Robert Heller around 1937."

The above image of the stamp set was the promotional one used for stamp collectors. It shows the official initial postmark. Because I'm not an avid stamp collector, my set was pretty much a functional purchase, and unusable for presentation because it is missing the stamp of Gilbert Rohde's clock design for Herman Miller in the bottom right corner of the page. That stamp was used to mail the bill payment for internet service just in time for this post to be written!

Go Green Collection

The post office has run numerous collections commemorating innovators, artists, and or promoting energy efficiency and environment - the latter of which was rolled out earlier this Spring with the "Go Green" collection, a wonderfully illustrated set containing helpful eco-themed tips. The effort was coordinated with the Environmental Protection Agency, and featured web links to additional energy saving and earth-friendly advice for the home. Learn more about purchasing these stamps and the postal service's comprehensive array of sustainability products and measures at the USPS website DeMers.

Go Green Collection, released in April.

Coming soon to Designer In Exile: Part II of our interview series with Mural Arts of Philadelphia artists - an engaging talk with acclaimed muralist Emilie Ledieu about community outreach and her work with mosaic wall art.
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