Stephen Hawking Stamps

The Stephen Hawking Stamps Project

Project Info

Client Isle of Man Post Office
Skills Graphic Design, Illustration, Print

Project Description

We have the honour of working for one of the greatest minds in science; having created the branding for the Stephen Hawking Foundation we wanted to help the Foundation with their aims of improving public knowledge about Cosmology and Motor Neuron Disease.

As we also work with the Isle of Man Post Office, designing stamp collections for their global market, we brought our two clients together with one perfect project.

The Challenge:

Our proposition was to create a set of stamps to celebrate 100 years of General Relativity, focusing on the work of Professor Stephen Hawking; so, logically – the first thing we needed to do was to get reading… When approaching any design brief particularly something as intricate as stamps, it is critical to truly understand the content in front of you and what significance each component has. With cosmology, this meant a lot of learning. You all understand General Relativity right? Yep, so do we now. Honest.

During our research we were sent a blackboard sketch from Professor Hawking’s study of Hawking Radiation – this simple chalk drawing was our starting point and the inspiration behind the illustrations in the stamps we created.

The Solution:

As well as images of the two great minds, Einstein and Hawking; we created four highly detailed illustrations representing Gravitational Waves, Black Holes, Black Holes Colliding and the Hawking Radiation theory.

We defined our art style based on mathematical theory visualisations. The colour palette was inspired by the cosmos; we wanted to use light, and dark and the playful iridescence of light, so we used a holographic foil on the stamps to make them shine with every colour of the visible spectrum.

Physicists and Cosmologists please note: Glazier Design is aware that a holographic foil does not emit quite the same energy or light as an actual star and our research budget didn’t allow for space travel, so please forgive any transgressions.

The Result:

The stamps are stunning – even if we say so ourselves, and we do quite regularly. 40,000 stamps were printed in the first run and the accompanying booklet received wide acclaim from the press. Our Director, Ben joined astro-physicist Sasha Haco in a day of interviews to launch the stamps and they have been a great success.

This first enterprise led us to the idea that a special edition of the book might be issued for Professor Hawking’s 75th birthday, with the specific aim of raising funds for the charity. Through the Foundation, we called on the good will of Eddie Redmayne, who agreed to write a forward for the book, and sign every copy.

The Special Edition Book:

The special silk-bound book has a foreword from and is personally signed by the Oscar winning actor Eddie Redmayne, who played the Professor in the film The Theory of Everything.

The issue of just 100 books is individually numbered from 1 to 100. #1 was presented to Professor Hawking on his birthday, January 8th. The remaining books will be sold by the Isle of Man Post Office, with proceeds donated to The Stephen Hawking Foundation.

The hardback edition in silk slip case is a special edition of the book that was released with the stamps, featuring Professors Hawking and Einstein and the major scientific works of Professor Hawking’s career.

Each book contains two full sets of the stamps, which are legal issue Isle of Man Stamps, bearing the head of Her Majesty the Queen. The successful issue was launched in 2016 to mark 100 years of the theory of General Relativity, but specifically the life work of Professor Hawking.

How do we feel?

Amazing! It was such a great honour to work with Professor Hawking, but to be able to create a project like this has been a career highlight for any of us. We are an agency with a strong focus on charity, so this is a great achievement for us all.

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