A special delivery

A special delivery

15 September 2016 |
Posted in Print

“The Capability Brown project perfectly illustrates the work that goes into creating a Presentation Pack”

For three decades, Silk Pearce has had the rare privilege of designing Presentation Packs for Royal Mail, including those for its recent Capability Brown stamp issue. But what does it take to design for one of the country’s most recognised brands?

News and social media coverage in August announced the release of the latest Royal Mail Special Stamps. The stamps mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown, the famous landscape gardener who designed, created and tended some of Britain’s most famous backyards.


It continues a long tradition for Royal Mail, whose Special Stamps have, for more than 50 years, commemorated anniversaries and celebrated events relevant to UK heritage and life.

Silk Pearce first designed a Presentation Pack for Royal Mail in 1988. Since then we've worked on more than 20 issues, including collections that celebrate British Pillar Boxes, the Merchant Navy and the Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.

The Presentation Packs provide additional images and information, and enthusiasts who are quick off the mark can also obtain a First Day Cover - only available on the day of issue. Complete with its special postmarks, the cover is a collector’s item in itself.

Making our mark

As such, Presentation Pack design is a prestige job that’s worth special consideration. Rob Steer, Creative Director at Silk Pearce says there’s no formula. Each Presentation Pack is created to enhance the detail of the subject matter and complement the stamps. He says, “The aim is not to recreate the design of the stamps. Instead, we deliver contextual background, fleshing out the story behind each subject.”


The Capability Brown project perfectly illustrates the work that goes into creating a Presentation Pack. Silk Pearce designers studied Capability Brown, using his influences to determine the style of the design before researching the imagery. Certain elements, such as background images, are carefully balanced to appeal to collectors. “We look closely at the typography, finding a style that’s sympathetic to the subject matter,” says Rob. “In this instance the typeface reflects tradition, yet it’s contemporary at the same time.”

The images complement but don't overwhelm one other. For example, the background behind the stamps tells more of the story without competing with the images on the stamps. As a whole, the Presentation Pack design uses contemporary and traditional images, arranged amongst the text in the form of a landscaped garden. Rob says, “It’s an elegant presentation that works in context."

For more on how Silk Pearce works with prestigious organisations such as Royal Mail, call us on +44 (0)1206 871 001.