Feeling the need to send an extra little “thank you” to someone? Well, the U.S. Postal Service has just the stamp for you – a nicely sized stamp – a bit smaller than commemoratives – that not only fits perfectly on those small thank-you envelopes but has a classy design to boot.
The words “Thank You” are highlighted in gold foil in cursive script, which gives the stamp a shimmery look. An elegant floral design swirls through and around the words. Each of the four stamps – purposely subtle in design compared to the bright and colorful 2019 Celebration stamp, for example – features a background color of soft maroon, muted green, grayish blue and purple.
A press run of 200 million stamps has been ordered from contract printer Banknote Corporation of America. The stamps were printed by flexography with gold foil stamping on the Gallus RCS press. Officially, the colors used by the Pantone Matching System are black, red, teal, green and blue.
The stamps, sold in panes of 20, were issued August 21 with a virtual ceremony courtesy of the Virtual Stamp Show. The first-day postmark is Hartford, Connecticut.
Dale Smith, a 30-year member and officer of the American Topical Association, served as emcee. “Today’s stamp has words that probably all of us need to say more often: thank you.”
“There are few words in any language that are so filled as these with the warmth of human kindness and appreciation,” offered Tom Broadhead, a professor at the University of Tennessee and another officer of the ATA, who noted how the words can brighten someone’s day. “To be thankful is to be accepting of a gift and by uttering words of thanks we complete a circle of giving and receiving.”
Dana Tanamachi was the stamp designer. She is a Houston-born graphic and letterer who graduated in 2007 from the University of North Texas and has worked most recently out of her studio in Brooklyn. Greg Breeding served as art director.
In 2009, an impromptu chalk installation for a Brooklyn housewarming party landed the artist her first commission for Google and set the popular chalk-lettering trend — and her career — in motion. After working under design icon Louise Fili, she opened Tanamachi Studio, a boutique design studio specializing in custom typography and illustration for editorial, lifestyle, food, and fashion brands. She has been commissioned globally by clients such as Target, Nike, Penguin Books, Ralph Lauren, Instagram and West Elm. She has created custom cover art for O (Oprah) and Time magazines.
Recent articles in the Texas press – the Houston Chronicle and Texas Monthly – provided background on the artist.
Tanamachi actually created the stamp in 2015, wrote Emma Balter in the Houston Chronicle. Tanamachi said she wanted the stamp design to be timeless but modern. She was inspired by classic book covers and bookplates from the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements, as well as by typeface designer Doyald Young and textile artist William Morris, who was known for his florals.
It took several sketches and revisions for Tanamachi’s stamp to materialize, Balter wrote. The design was meant to be in gold foil, but printing technology was not up to speed back then; she believes this is partly why it took more than five years for the stamp to see the light of day. The USPS now has the capability to print non-tarnishing metallic foils.
Stamps are not Tanamachi’s usual beat. She typically works on large-scale murals — quite different from the tiny rectangles that stick in the corner of envelopes.
“It was a fun challenge to condense a message onto such a small canvas,” she said.
Tanamachi became enamored with the art of lettering while taking a typography course in college, Arielle Avila wrote in Texas Monthly.
Wrote Avila: “I was obsessed with it,” Tanamachi says. “I didn’t know you could be good at something like this and make a living filling letters.” A few years later, the native Houstonian launched her career with a piece of chalk and started her own boutique design studio.
“Growth and unity are what I was thinking about,” Tanamachi said. “I knew I wanted a lot of connecting lines, for it to overlap and interlock, for it to feel like one thing. And there are floral elements to it, too. I hope they do have a timeless feel. It feels so classic and it doesn’t feel super trendy, so hopefully it will stand the test of time.”
Part of this column was originally published in the October 2020 issue of The American Philatelist.