To mark the 50th anniversary of the meeting of Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the UK’s Royal Mail asked Johnson Banks to design a commemorative stamp. The London-based design firm conducted a sweeping audit of the masses of memorabilia surrounding the band and the cultural phenomenon that set off before concluding that “the answer was literally staring us in the face.” The Beatles album covers said it all.
In the end, Johnson Banks picked six covers to make into stamps. They explain on their website that their choices were made up of a “combination of the obvious ones like Sergeant Pepper and Abbey Road, plus ones we knew would look great small (With the Beatles and Help). Revolver was in because of its status as ‘the fans’ favourite album’ and Let It Be felt like a suitable ending.”
Their decision to make the perforations of the self-adhesive stamps follow the album edges, instead of be in a rectangular shape, “involved as much time designing the ‘edges’ of the stamp as the actual stamps themselves.” As is often the case, sometimes the final solution appears so inevitable that viewers don’t see the creative struggle that went before it. “Apart from the trick with the perforated edges, you could argue this is a good example of invisible design, the answer is so obvious,” admits Johnson Banks. “Maybe. That’s fine with us – after 20 months of work, we were just relieved to do justice to a subject that we knew the nation would hold dear to their heart.”