Tag Archives: British design classics

Miniature Posters: the stamp designs of Abram Games

This Thursday (17 September) Naomi Games, daughter of designer Abram Games (1914-1996), will be joining us to talk about her father’s stamp designs, his working process and show progressive sketches from his archive. Here she gives us some background on her father and a taste of what to expect.

Abram Games with his controversial ATS poster, which was later withdrawn.

Abram Games is best known for his posters. He was the official war poster artist during WW2, and during his sixty year career he designed three hundred posters, notably for London Transport, Guinness, the Financial Times and BOAC. He also designed the first animated ident for BBC television, the covers of Penguin Books, and the emblems for the Festival of Britain and the Queen’s Award to Industry. Less is known of his numerous award-winning stamp designs for Britain, Jersey and Israel. In 2014, his centenary year, he was included in the ‘Remarkable Lives’ issue. Royal Mail also issued a special Abram Games postmark to celebrate his 100th birthday. Always an obsessive letter writer, he would have been delighted!

Poster advising on the best time to post mail. Poster artist: Games, Abram

Poster advising on the best time to post mail. Poster artist: Games, Abram

His first published stamp was for the 1948 Olympic Games and he was nicknamed ‘Olympic Games’ thereafter. He boasted that he was the only artist to have his name on a British stamp, as designers were not allowed to sign their work.  After winning the competition to design the Festival of Britain symbol, he  also won the stamp competition and his ubiquitous Britannia appeared alongside side the head of King George V1. His involvement in the Festival of Britain was a great boost to his career and he continued to secure many prestigious commissions throughout his life.

KGVI, 1949 Universal Postal Union: Submitted design by Abram Games

KGVI, 1949 Universal Postal Union: Submitted design by Abram Games

Games was a self-taught designer. His only formal training was two terms at St Martin’s College of Art but he continued to study life drawing and anatomy. He believed drawing would be the key to becoming a successful designer. He faithfully followed his axiom ‘maximum meaning, minimum means’, always keeping all his designs as simple as possible. When creating a poster or stamp, he filled a layout pad with several ideas. He wasted no time covering large areas and avoided detail. Once he had selected his thumbnail design, he circled it with red pencil. He said, ‘I never work large because posters, seen from a distance are small. If ideas don’t work an inch high, they will never work.’ Thus the design of stamps – his ‘miniature posters’ – was second nature to him.

The event will take place on Thursday 17 September 18.30-19.30 at The Phoenix Centre, Phoenix Place, London, WC1X 0DL.

To book tickets please visit abramgames.eventbrite.co.uk or telephone 020 7239 2570.

Great British Fashion Stamps

Today Royal Mail is showcasing Britain’s world famous fashion designers and their iconic designs on ten new stamps. Great British Fashion, issued today, brings together some of the very best of post-war fashion, featuring the innovative fashion houses which have put Britain in the top rank of world fashion design.

The ten new Great British Fashion stamps issued today, 15 May 2012.

Each stamp features a prime example of each selected designer’s work, including Tommy Nutter’s suit for Beatle Ringo Starr and Vivienne Westwood’s 1993 Harlequin dress, famously modeled by Naomi Campbell.

The idea for the issue came from the British Design Classics stamps of 2009, which featured the stylish chic of Mary Quant’s daring mini skirt. This proved to be one of the most popular of the ten stamps featured in the issue, prompting the decision to dedicate an entire issue to our world-class designers.

Since 1945, British fashion has grown to become a major national industry. Today it employs about a million people and contributes directly some £21 billion to the UK economy.

The stamps and stamp products are available at all Post Office branches, online at www.royalmail.com/fashion and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.
Visit the Stamps & Philately pages on our website and find out more about caring for your philatelic collection.