How are stamps designed?

Students
Stamps and collectables
Stamp design

Australian stamps have a great reputation for high-quality design and production, and we commission designers and artists to produce each unique design.

We often receive suggestions for stamp design themes from the general public. People write to Australia Post all the time with ideas about what would look great on a stamp.

Other ideas come from anniversaries of special occasions, significant events such as the Olympics, and festivals such as Easter and Christmas.

Making a stamp usually takes about two years. Researchers, illustrators, photographers, designers, printers and marketers are all involved in taking a stamp through the process of research, illustration, design, printing and preparing them for sale.

Research

Before a stamp can be created the theme must be researched and the number of stamps to be printed must be decided.

Illustration and design

Stamp designs are created in a variety of ways. Graphic designers, artists or photographers may be asked to produce new images for stamps or existing images from the collections of galleries, museums or libraries might be used. Each finished stamp must include the word "Australia" and the price of the stamp. Not every drawing or photograph will make a good stamp. Producing designs that work at such a small size is a challenge.

The stamp designer also needs to include the year of issue on the stamp, small enough not to interfere with the design, but large enough to read.

After the stamps have been designed they can then be printed.

Holly Alvarez stamp design

Australia's youngest designer

Did you know that some of our postage stamps have been designed by children?

Australia's youngest stamp designer is Holly Alvarez of Perth. She was only five years old when her design for a 1983 Christmas stamp was chosen in a national competition for primary school children.