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‘I’m a lucky guy’: Wolfville man designs newly issued Queen Elizabeth II stamp

Wolfville graphic designer Steven Slipp has designed the newly issued definitive stamp of Queen Elizabeth II, which is now available in post offices across Canada.
Wolfville graphic designer Steven Slipp has designed the newly issued definitive stamp of Queen Elizabeth II, which is now available in post offices across Canada. - Sara Ericsson

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – A newly issued stamp of Queen Elizabeth II that’s available in post offices across the country was designed in Wolfville.

Wolfville-based graphic designer Steven Slipp is the creator behind the new stamp featuring the Queen, which first became available in Canada Post offices Jan. 14.

It’s a stamp Slipp says he’s happy with for more than one reason, and a project he says was about more than creating a clean design. For Slipp, it’s about being part of an enduring tradition of royal stamps.

“I love being part of this – it’s not just her reign, which has been long, but her family’s and Canadian stamps in general. I just get caught up in all of it,” he says.

Slipp began his design process for the 2019 definitive stamp 18 months ago after being invited to submit a concept design. He won the competition and began his search for images, looking for the perfect fit for the 20-by-24-millimetre stamp surface.

“It’s really not that much real estate,” he says.

He found one that fit the stamp tradition while offering a little something different.

“When you look at the stamp booklet, a portrait-orientation appears sideways. This layout means the queen is right-facing as you look at her – just how I wanted her to be seen,” he says.

The project also required Slipp to design small, invisible security features on the stamp, along with an official first-day envelope and cancellation stamp for the issue. The envelope features a maple leaf brooch worn by the Queen Mother, the Queen herself and Kate Middleton during their respective visits to Canada.
The project also required Slipp to design small, invisible security features on the stamp, along with an official first-day envelope and cancellation stamp for the issue. The envelope features a maple leaf brooch worn by the Queen Mother, the Queen herself and Kate Middleton during their respective visits to Canada.

Slipp says other design choices included the word Canada written in a typeface designed by colleague Rod McDonald and the stamp’s white backdrop.

“It looks like it’s been printed right on the envelope,” he says.

“I like that a lot – I’m very happy with it, and it did everything I wanted it to do.”

But it’s not just laying out the Queen’s face. Slipp also designed a security pattern in invisible ultra-violet ink, an official first-day envelope and cancellation stamp for the issue.

Slipp’s design features a maple leaf brooch first worn by the Queen Mother, followed by Queen Elizabeth II and later Kate Middleton, on several of their respective visits to Canada. The brooch also appears in the Queen’s official portrait for Canada’s 150.

“It was a Canada reference on what would have been a huge tour for the Queen Mother, and has been worn so many times since. It’s among the most significant maple leaf pieces,” says Slipp.

A love of stamps is nothing new for Slipp, who collected them as a child. He also inherited a collection from his father, and remembers how his grandfather worked as postmaster in Moncton, N.B.

“Stamps were significant to me. There were some done in the ‘50s and ‘60s that I still absolutely love, and I remember them as a kid, seeing how striking they were,” says Slipp.

He designed his first stamp in 1985 – commemorating Charles Inglis, the first Anglican bishop of Nova Scotia – and estimates he’s since designed more than 25.

Slipp looks forward to that number continuing to grow in the future.

“I’m working at the top of my craft, nationally. It’s very gratifying, and really rewarding,” he says.

“I’m a lucky guy.”

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