Aardman founder Nick Park worked with creative director Merlin Crossingham on the stamps – which will have a run of about 650 million – for about 18 months. The designs were then handed to the Royal Mail, and passed to the Queen for final approval.
Crossingham explains that the stamps started with sketches by Park, which were then brainstormed with the Royal Mail and produced in a five-week shoot.
Aardman used a similar approach to creating the stamps – described by Royal Mail stamps spokesperson Philip Parker as ‘a labour of love’ – as they would to make an animated film, creating special sets, models, props and lighting.
To overcome the inherent challenges of miniaturising images, Crossingham says they experimented with mock-up scenes, and ensured the shapes and compositions were clear. ‘We wanted to give colour, texture and relevant space so that the characters came to the foreground,’ he says.
Crossingham adds,‘We were astonished at how much detail you can see – the print quality the Royal Mail has on its stamps is astounding. There are little treats for people to find – that’s another level of fun.’
Parker says, ‘Keen-eyed collectors armed with a magnifying glass will see that the envelope seen being posted on the 1st class stamp features the actual 1st class stamp.’
The stamps will be available from 2 November.