Purple Heart Stamp Redesigned for 2012

2011 Purple Heart with Ribbon

Those of you with an astute eye will have noticed that the 2012 Purple Heart Medal Forever® stamp, which was released September 4, is a redesign of the 2011 Purple Heart with Ribbon stamp. To emphasize the brilliant purple appearing on the medal and in its ribbon, designer Jennifer Arnold slightly enlarged the Purple Heart medal and placed it on a pure white background. “When applied to an envelope,” says Ms. Arnold, “the stamp edges disappear, leaving the medal and ribbons of type hanging free.” We love the new treatment.

You can read more about the redesign of the stamp and a history of Purple Heart postage stamps at Beyond the Perf.

Waves of Color Coming Soon to Post Offices Nationwide

Later this year, the U.S. Postal Service will issue four distinctive new stamps whose elegant design will lend a contemporary appearance to packages, large envelopes, and other mailed items. Each of the stamps features rich colors and dense abstract patterns akin to engraved banknotes. Their palette of blended tones leaves the dominant color of each stamp open to interpretation.

The stamps will be issued separately at the $1, $2, $5, and $10 rates. $1 Wave is the smallest of the four new stamps; as the denominations increase, the stamps grow larger.

Release dates for each of the stamps have not yet been set. Check back here for all the latest stamp news!

It’s Sewing Machine Day!

No, we didn’t know such a thing as Sewing Machine Day existed either, but we can’t resist any opportunity to revisit this stamp:

These two streamlined sewing machines (don’t you wish you had one?) were designed by Dave Chapman, who is probably best known for his innovative and award-winning designs for classroom furniture. The sewing machines—whose chrome grilles evoked the sleek look of contemporary automobiles—were shown at the first exhibition of the American Society of Industrial Designers in 1947.

Chapman studied architecture at the Armour Institute of Technology (later known as the Illinois Institute of Technology). In 1933, he joined Montgomery Ward, first as an architect and then as head of product design. He left in 1936 to open his own industrial design office, with clients that included Corning Glass, Maytag, Hamilton Beach, Parker Pens, Johnson Motors, Inc., and Sears. In 1950, Chapman served as the president of the Society of Industrial Designers. Four years later, his firm designed a line of classroom furniture for Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company. Made of tubular steel and plywood, the furniture earned the highest honor bestowed by the Society of Industrial Designers. Chapman was named a Benjamin Franklin Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1960.

The Dave Chapman stamp was one of 12 Pioneers of American Industrial Design Forever® stamps issued in 2011 and !

Gone But Not Forgotten: National World War II Memorial

Dedicated on May 29, 2004, the National World War II Memorial is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, just east of the Reflecting Pool.

The memorial honors the 16 million Americans who served in the armed forces during the war, and the millions more who supported them on the home front.

On May 25, 1993, President Clinton signed Public Law 103-32 authorizing the American Battle Monuments Commission to build the memorial in or around Washington, D.C. The memorial is funded primarily by private contributions. Construction of the memorial began in September 2001 and it opened to the public on April 29, 2004.

The Second World War is the sole 20th-century event commemorated on the central axis of the National Mall, where it joins other beacons of freedom. The U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument are symbols of the nation’s founding in the 18th century; and the Lincoln Memorial and statue of Ulysses S. Grant honor the nation’s preservation in the 19th century.

The memorial’s design, by Friedrich St. Florian—an architect based in Providence, Rhode Island—was one of 404 entries received in an open design competition in 1996. St. Florian’s design is intended to create a powerful sense of place that is distinct, memorable, evocative, and serene. Its principal features are the Rainbow Pool and memorial plaza. Ceremonial steps and ramps lead into the plaza, and two 43-foot arches serve as markers and entries on the north and south ends of the plaza. Each state and territory from the World War II era, and the District of Columbia, are represented by one of 56 pillars adorned with bronze wreaths, celebrating the unity of the nation during the war.

Issued on the day of the memorial’s dedication, the postage stamp honoring the achievement and ideals of the Americans who served during WWII was created before the memorial was completed. “The memorial was barely a scratch in the dirt when I was given the assignment,” stamp artist Tom Engeman said. His computer-generated design was based on photographs he and art director Howard E. Paine took of a scale model of the memorial housed in a trailer on the construction site. The stamp art depicts one of the two large memorial arches with a curving row of pillars, set against a dramatic sunset.

What does the National World War II Memorial mean to you?

6 Ideas for Personalizing Postcards

Postcards are a fun and easy way to stay in touch with friends and family. But sometimes they can seem so impersonal. Here are just a few ways to liven them up:

  • Break out the fountain pen, colored markers, crayons, or whatever to give your messages a little class, a little color, a little personal flavor.
  • Be clever with your messages. Add inside jokes or write a silly little poem (or a serious one). You could send a riddle or puzzle of some kind (just be sure to send the answer on another postcards in a couple days!) or even write your message so that it can only be read by holding the postcard up to a mirror.
  • Write in the voice of someone else, like a favorite movie character: If Flik and Dot from A Bug’s Lifevisited the beach, what would they find most interesting?

    Mail a Smile postcards (available for preorder)

  • Choose quirky, odd, funny postcards and comment on them in your message. Instead of “Wish you were here,” try “You should have seen this!”
  • Include your own art. Add doodles, stick figures, your own scene . . .  on the front or the back of the postcard.
  • Or, make your own postcard!

Have an idea for making your postcards fun and interesting? Tell us about it in the comments.

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