Steven Spazuk is an accomplished painter and graphic designer, but he's also had great success framing other people's pictures. Spazuk designed last year's Jean-Paul Riopelle stamps, framing the work of this master painter at stamp size. Now he has designed frames to feature photographs of Canadians across the country - for Picture Postage.
In this latest version, Picture Postage now comes ready to use. Earlier versions of the product came in two parts, with a separate personalized sticker that the customer affixed inside the stamp frame. But customers who order Picture Postage today will receive a sheet of complete individual stamps, with their -photograph already printed within the stamp frames.
"It's all about making Picture Postage easier to use and making it more ideal as a keepsake," says Michelle Standen, Manager of Stamp Products at Canada Post.
This easy, one-piece format comes in a choice of two newly designed frames, both in sleek and simple styles. "The idea is to spotlight the customer's own photo," says Spazuk. "These frames are simple and neutral, and the photo seems to float within them. They appear to be almost without design."
Their simplicity gives them a fresh, modern look. The stamps are self-adhesive, with a simulated perforation. While not denominated, they are for domestic use. The typography is subtle, so the lines of the frames are clean.
Picture Postage has been particularly successful with consumers, who often purchase these stamps to mark special events such as weddings, graduations or birthdays. Sales usually peak during November and December, as the holiday season approaches. The new sheet designs make the product even more attractive for collecting or gift giving - a special enlarged stamp image now accompanies 20 personalized stamps for mailing.
Customers can select either frame design, but the style resembling a photo album will likely appeal to consumers. Business customers may prefer the new silver ribbon style, similar to the previous silver frame design that has been popular for business use. Customers can also choose to purchase sheets of 40 stamps without the enlarged keepsake image. Digital photos are now accepted too, and Canada Post expects to introduce online ordering through its website in the near future.
Spazuk designed Canada's first customized stamp, the 1994 Greeting Stamp, and over the past ten years, he has developed various frame designs as the product evolved into Picture Postage. As part of the 2004 Picture Postage relaunch, a special collector edition featuring the -proverbial Canadian maple leaf is available in a keepsake sheet format in both frame designs at postage value, and in a combination OFDC (by mail order only). Metallic inks and minimalist photography incorporating a mottled, soft-focus background accentuate the silver tones in the -ribbon frame and the sleek look of the photo album frame while lending a dramatic touch to this timely fall collectible.