In December 2010 I noticed an open competition from Canada Post for the design of the Mental Health 2011 stamp, a first where the corporation would allow all Canadians a voice through social media to vote for the winning design.
December can be a very slow month for active paying work and I decided – between trying to market Baseline to new clients – to give some thought to what I hoped would be a compelling design solution. My black sketch book became the starting point for conceptual and visual thoughts. I researched past stamp finalists, looked at the stats for mental health issues across Canada (they are many and varied) and decided to approach the issue not through typically representing people but rather the overwhelming numbers of fellow Canadians suffering mental health issues.
The following was my submitted and requested verbal rationale to answer the brief:
“I found it striking that in your introduction to this competition, one in five Canadians are suffering from mental illness in one form or another. I have attempted to reflect the Canadian part of this story (Coast to Coast, North to South) with what I think most of us have come to associate our country with, the maple leaf. It has five sections and one has fallen. The rest is self-explanatory and as I love typography the message is clear even at the actual size these stamps would be reproduced.”
I didn’t win, but became a semi-finalist – announced through an email from the Canada Post Corporation – in April of 2011. What I didn’t submit – which was perhaps an important error – a bilingual version included in the attached illustration. I want to thank all my family, friends, co-workers and clients for supporting me during December and January’s public social media voting and wish the very best to the winner, Miriane Majeau for her submission.