Stamps are in a bit of a sticky situation. Rising prices and the ever-present threat of email loom over 170 years of history. The era of the postage stamp as a small-scale venue for artistic and design expression is fading fast. Happily a few studios continue to work their magic on this most compact of canvases. The aptly-named Gummo, an Amsterdam-based design consultancy, were commissioned by the Dutch Post Office to create a set of stamps celebrating the wonders of forthcoming contemporary architecture in the Netherlands.
A dream brief from the outset, but as Gummo's Sterre Jongerius explains, the agency wanted to do more. 'The natural two-dimensional limitations of a postage stamp could never do justice to the full majesty of these projects.' Hence they decided on creating a separate set of five stamps with a graphic representation of the building, injected with some augmented reality. By combining illustrations with QR codes, lucky recipients of these graphic stamps can hold their letters up to a webcam and see a 3D model of the building spring to life. Hold all five up at the same time and a sixth as yet unbuilt structure for the Dutch Architectural Institute, jumps out at you.
dutch stamps
Watch the augmented reality stamps come to life
With tech backup from the DPI Animation House in the Hague, the new stamps inject fresh life into a long-cherished but endangered medium.