Posting the Future: British Stamp Design and the “White Heat” of a Technological Revolution

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Abstract

This paper seeks to address the relative neglect of postage stamps in design histories by examining Post Office commemorative stamps of the 1960s featuring British scientific and technological achievements. Despite resistance from the Council of Industrial Design's conservative Stamp Advisory Committee, modern stamp design emerged in the era as a result of reforms by Post Master General Tony Benn. It is argued that the new, radical stamps were ‘pictorial ambassadors’ for Labour's ‘White Heat’ modernization programme and the re-branding of Britain as a progressive, technologically advanced nation. Moreover, it is suggested that the new stamps reveal not only debates about the aesthetics and function of stamps but also the tensions and contradictions inherent in the discourses of modernity and national identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-176
JournalJournal of Design History
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004

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