Titled "The Colours of Friendship", the stamp booklet was released just before Valentine's Day on 22 January in 2020. Samuli's designs present the shared moments, joys and memories of a friendship over the years. He has made the retro-style illustrations of the stamps look like they would belong on a poster by removing details. “The Colors of Friendship” stamp booklet contains six different domestic no-value indicator stamps.
Samuli Siirala is a versatile and experienced illustrator who is used to editorial illustration commissions, as well as advertising campaigns & food packaging. “The Colors of Friendship” was his first postage stamp illustration project. Designing for such a special format was a new and welcomed challenge for him. The small size of the final artworks also influenced the choice of illustration style:
“I chose the style partly because of the technical framework and partly because of my own preferences: due to the small size of the stamps, I had to minimize the details, but at the same time I was able to make the pictures more poster-like and the scale larger. There is also a dash of retro, which is very typical to my illustrations.”
In Finland, the Valentine’s Day is mainly celebrated as a Friendship Day. This illustration was a very pleasant commission for Samuli because the friendship theme has always been a key theme in his career:
“Friendship is an extraordinarily beautiful phenomenon: people want to stay together without the strong bonds that come with a romantic relationship, but just because they enjoy each other’s company. At best, friendships last from early childhood to old age. The same people who play with each other as kids are a support and a joy to each other throughout their lives
– sometimes even more closely than their own siblings or parents."
"For these stamp illustrations, I was looking for different types of friendships and people tied together for different reasons. I also tried to bring along some of the most typical Finnish events and phenomena. I wanted to show how a grandparent’s relationship with a grandchild can re-open the gate to their own childlike enthusiasm. I wanted to include subcultures because they often create strong bonds between people and also serve as shelters. Most of all I wanted these stamps to convey the mutual acceptance of the friends.”
We at Napa are still so happy with this project! A big thank you, once again, to Posti Group's Design Manager Tommi Kantola for commissioning this project!
To see more Samuli's brilliant work, check out his portfolio here - and be prepared to be blown away!