I started collecting stamps during my childhood without realising I was doing it

I used to collect everything from stickers to comics to the freebies in cereal packets and stash them in old shoeboxes. I have always hoarded ephemera and pieces of print, whatever the format, and this still continues today, although my tastes have refined to design books, posters, comics, stamps and anything I like the look of.

However, my nan is the reason I started collecting stamps, and why I say I didn’t realise I was doing it. Growing up, I loved stickers, but she felt there was more value in stamps, and how right she was. Every Wednesday she would bring the latest British first day cover set over to my mum’s house without fail, along with a collection of used stamps from around the world, passed on to her by her friends and relatives. I  diligently mounted these stamps into albums and stockpiled the first day covers.

As I got older I grew out of collecting stamps, but still the stamps kept coming. Years passed (school, college, university, a career in graphic design) and I found myself flicking through a copy of Drip Dry Shirts: The Evolution of the Graphic Designer, where I came across pictures of the Dutch Postal Service stamps designed by Wim Crouwel. Instantly I was taken back 20 years to my youth. There was a key stamp I had always remembered, liked and now really admire. I think this sums up the power of the stamp and good stamp design: an image so small and simple, yet so memorable.

This reignited my interest in stamps. They often say you revisit things you enjoyed in your youth, but do it with more wisdom and passion when you’re older. I collect stamps purely for their aesthetic value now, anything that takes my eye. Hours are spent on Ebay trawling through collectors’ shops and private collections and visiting the odd stamp shop. It’s a great feeling to find a gorgeously designed stamp, especially one with great print production: a fifth colour, metallic inks or some embossing. I feel stamp design is somewhat overlooked. Making the best use of such a small space whilst relaying an important message, or cultural/historic fact, is an artform.

Iain Follett


Iain Follett, creative director of Un.titled has worked closely with brands such as Land Securities, Speedo, John Smedley, Keenpac and Portsmouth FC. Iain is also the founder of creative brand Adapt or Die, under which his personal work is showcased. Through Adapt or Die Iain recently collaborated alongside Darren Firth of WIWP ( to co-design the recent book Two Faced: The Changing Face of Portraiture and was part of the team behind the Two Faced exhibitions in Hong Kong at Agnes b’s Librairie Galerie and at COSH in London.

He lives in Bedfordshire and divides his work time between London and the Midlands.

Special thanks to: Blam at Blanka ( and Simon Congdon at Un.titled (



More from CR

He’s Lost in Music

Image of Andrey Bartenev’s disco installation, a version of which will be shown in Soho next week
Set to brighten up a no doubt chilly Monday morning in London’s Soho next week is a multi-coloured installation by Russian artist Andrey Bartenev, on display at the Riflemaker gallery. Bartenev’s piece, which will be viewable from the street, is a brightly coloured work called Disco-nexion and is based on the glass tunnel containing 50 LED spheres (with the words “connection lost” orbiting each one) that he showed last summer, as Russia’s representative at the 52nd Venice Biennale.

Design at the Centre of the new London Transport Museum

Part of a drawing by Edward Johnston of the iconic London Underground roundel and bar, known as the
“bullseye design”, that forms part of the design gallery at the newly opened London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum has recently opened its doors to visitors once again and CR was lucky enough to have a good look around. Of particular interest is the new design gallery which, if its placing in the middle of the museum is anything to go by, now takes centre stage among the tube trains and buses that fill up the floor space. Design, it seems, has always been at the very heart of London Transport and this is now something the new-look museum aims to celebrate wholeheartedly.

Creative Futures 2007

This year’s Creative Futures as illustrated for our latest issue by Miles Donovan
For nearly 20 years, CR has been giving the next generation of talented creatives an important shove in the right direction, thanks to our Creative Futures scheme. But this year, for the first time, we’ve done away with any categories: with the way in which people work today, it seems increasingly meaningless to define them so narrowly. Indeed, the unifying theme between all our winners this year is that they unashamedly try their hand at a range of disciplines, whatever suits the project. All six of our nominees for 2007 were chosen by the CR editorial team and their work makes up a 25-page special in our latest issue (Jan 08, out now). What follows is a preview of each of our winners this year. We hope you enjoy their work…

Three Trees Don’t Make a Forest

Left to right: Caroline Clark of, Nat Hunter of Airside and Sophie Thomas of design studio thomas.matthews who have come together to form Three Trees Don’t Make A Forest
“We have high ambitions: the entire creative industry needs to be shaken up and sorted out,” says Sophie Thomas, one third of newly formed social enterprise, Three Trees Don’t Make A Forest (who feature in our January issue, out now). The new initiative, which launches this month, aims to provide a one-stop-shop for creatives seeking information on sustainability issues and how their working life affects the environment.

Graphic Designer

Fushi Wellbeing

Creative Designer

Monddi Design Agency