Each year, the United States Postal Service issues 20 different commemorative stamp designs, in addition to a variety of mail use stamps. From Kermit the Frog to airplanes to scenes from classic American literature, stamps depict the American experience to a world audience.
Kermit stamp design, photographed by Jay David Buchsbaum, 2005
Ever wonder where the ideas for these images come from? Believe it or not, many of them come from the public. Each year, the Post Office receives over 50,000 suggestions for stamp subjects or designs. A special committee, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, meets throughout the year to review proposals, select stamp subjects, and contract artists.
The artists who work on these miniature masterpieces must work under exacting standards to portray a subject within very small dimensions - usually between 10 and 30 millimeters in each direction!
Kitty Hawk 1903 stamp design, airbrush & ink on paper by Richard Waldrep, 1998
If you would like more information about becoming a stamp designer, the U.S. Postal Service provides a brochure, Creating U.S. Postage Stamps. Request a copy from the following address:
U.S. Postal Service
ATTN: Stamp Design
1735 North Lynn Street, Suite 5013
Arlington, VA 22209-6432
You can also read more about the selection and design process on the U.S. Postal Service website.
To admire stamp designs from current and previous years, visit the Postal Museum's online gallery: Trailblazers and Trendsetters - The Art of the Stamp. You may be inspired to make a suggestion for a future work of philatelic art!