Royal Mail celebrates classic British toys with new stamp series

Consultancy Interabang has designed the set of stamps, which feature 10 of the most famous toys created in Britain from the last 100 years, including Space Hopper and Spirograph.

Royal Mail has unveiled its latest stamp collection, featuring 10 of the most notable British toy designs from the last century.

Designed by London-based consultancy Interabang, the stamps include classic British toys including model construction game Meccano and electric train set Hornby Dublo.

The process began with Interabang’s design team sourcing original versions of the toys, which came from websites such as eBay along with some private collectors.

Each of the 10 toys arrived at the consultancy’s offices in their original packaging, which in turn influenced its design of the stamps, says Interabang director Adam Giles.

“For graphic designers, the graphics and packaging are as iconic as the toy itself,” says Giles. “The stamp design is about the toy, but capturing the essence of the world of the toy as well.”

Alongside photography of the toys by John Ross, the stamps also include details from packaging, branding and other accompanying materials, with the aim of expressing the “excitement and theatre” of opening up a toy for the first time.

“Digital collage”

For instance, the Space Hopper stamp features a sunburst pattern backdrop taken from the box it came in, and the Action Man includes an illustration of a parachutist from its original instruction manual, while Sindy Doll comes with an accompanying illustration that evokes the spirit of the “swinging Sixties”, says Giles.

Other stamps in the collection take on a “digital collage” effect, where the design team has married the original designs with a modern twist. The Spirograph stamp matches the stencil pattern seen on the toy’s original box, but has been recreated using the game itself and then photographed, while StickleBricks’ logo uses photos of individual pieces as the “i’s” in its name.

Interabang has also designed an accompanying first day cover and presentation pack, which are based on “visually rich” vintage toy catalogues, says Giles.

The presentation pack includes a mini essay that tells the hidden design stories of the toys, such as the fact that the Merrythought Bear has been handmade in the same sleepy village of Ironbridge in Shropshire since the 1930s, and Fuzzy-Felt started out as the material used in the production of tank gaskets during the Second World War, with the small offcuts being given to the factory workers’ children to play with.

The Classic Toys stamp set and associated products are available from Royal Mail’s website and Post Offices across the UK.

Hide Comments (6)Show Comments (6)
  • Jane August 22, 2017 at 11:31 am

    How fantastic, I am a ‘product’ of that era, having been born in July 1964…
    A lover of design and graphics, (my father was a subscriber to Design Magazine then! and Graphis) My brother and I had some of the above.
    It was in time when consumption was slower, when you waited for Xmas or your Birthday to possibly be given what you desired. I waited for a Sindy Doll, and my brother was SO excited to get a newer Action Man with ‘Realistic Hair’. I agree the colour and the graphics were as well thought out as the item itself. Lovely that these stamps will grace our modern world. Hey guys, get out and buy them NOW, write a note to an old friend and trot down to the post box, before even those are consigned to history…

  • DJ Johnston August 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Sure fire hit with the boomers. Not all are British though…

    • DJ Johnston August 22, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      I stand corrected! all were manufactured here.

  • Margaret Evans August 23, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    The Merrythought teddy stamp is very disappointing.
    All the 1930 teddies were ‘blonde’ a lovely gold colour.
    Why,oh why is the teddy on the stamp rain-cloud grey?
    A big error by your design team.
    Very disappointing for those of us still in possession of our original golden teddies who have bought the Classic Toys Collection Stamps.
    Not up to your usual standard.

  • Tim Riches August 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    What do they mean by Weekender Doll?!

  • Neil Littman August 28, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Probably a coincidence but there is a good exhibition on at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield until January, celebrating British toys. It is called Terrific Toys and is primarily focussed on the Matchbox Lesney company who started manufacturing toys just after WW2 but there are many other examples there including some of the toys featured on the stamps and the exhibition is free.

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