Royal Mail reveals out of this world Star Wars stamps

Consultancies Interabang and GBH have used the force to create 18 special Royal Mail stamps, to mark the release of the new Star Wars film.

Star Wars stamps, by Interabang and Malcolm Tween
Star Wars stamps, by Interabang and Malcolm Tween

Royal Mail has released a set of 18 special Star Wars stamps, to mark the forthcoming release of the new film this year.

The set includes 12 main stamps, designed by Interabang, and a miniature sheet containing six stamps, designed by GBH.

Three new characters

The 12 main stamps include illustrations by artist Malcolm Tween, which show nine characters from the previous films and three new ones from upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Characters included are Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Stormtrooper, Han Solo, Princess Leia, The Emperor, Boba Fett and new characters Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren.

“Classic montage” style

They all include a large, “heroic” head-and-shoulders portrait of each character, alongside a smaller “story corner” in the bottom right, which depicts a scene related to that character, says Adam Giles, co-founder at Interabang.

“The inspiration for the stamps was very much your classic collage-style posters where you have the main character, and a montage vignette scene,” says Giles. “That’s classic Star Wars language. We wanted to honour that tradition but also make them feel contemporary.”

Illustration to “unify” stamps

The illustrations were based on photographic compositions, which Interabang designed on Photoshop. Tween then created the illustrations by painting them digitally.

“We gave him the building blocks, then he refined it to make it look beautiful,” Giles says.

He adds that due to the mix of old images and images of new characters, the consultancy decided to use illustration to unify the stamps.

“We had contemporary images and also images from the mid 1970s, which often aren’t of incredible quality,” he says. “That led us down the path of using illustration to help them feel like a coherent set.”

Star Wars miniature sheet, by GBH
Star Wars miniature sheet, by GBH

Putting viewer in “pilot” seat

The miniature sheet, illustrated and designed by GBH, includes a scene of “battle” between different Star Wars vehicles and spaceships, both from previous and the upcoming films.

“It collides classic vehicle characters with some of the about-to-be-revealed characters,” says Mark Bonner, co-founder at GBH. “We wanted to get a balance of good and evil coming across in battle. We very much enjoyed putting the viewer in the pilot seat.”

“Many drafts”

“These things look incredibly effortless, but they take many drafts,” Bonner adds. “Often we were working with soft images from 1977, rather than CGI – making everything look sharp is considerably difficult.”

The stamps will be on sale from 20 October on the Royal Mail’s website, and can be pre-ordered in advance, and from 8,000 Post Office branches nationwide.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens will hit cinemas on 18 December.

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  • Matt Baxter September 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I think if you took a straw poll of graphic designers (of a certain age), this would be their dream job. Star Wars + stamps = nerdvana. Lovely detail on the ‘ST’.

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