Cool Hunting

Cool Hunting

When I was 9 years old, my uncle gave me a stamp collector's starter kit. I remember this moment clearly because it was the first time I was introduced to graphic design, and although I didn't know it at the time, this hobby kick-started my obsession with typography and image making. Collecting these "little posters" became a visceral thrill, and a precursor to what would become my love for page design. 

Last week, when coming back from lunch, I passed by my coworker, Sara, and noticed she was using a beautiful combination of illustrated stamps on the return envelopes of her wedding invitations. She informed me that she had purchased them at a local stamp show, where you can find hundreds of stamps of all different themes and different prices (most cost face value!). What struck me was not only the beautiful triptychs of plants, animals and birds she was composing, but how incredibly relevant and contemporary the images seemed. Over the past two years the ubiquity of birds, deer, wolves and other animal motifs---from band names to wall stencils and dinnerware---has been inescapable. I was inspired at that moment to dig a little deeper and find some of the best examples of postage stamps from around the world that fit into this particular vernacular of cool.

Stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Like playing marbles or trading baseball cards with your friends, it is a staple of childhood which has lost its cultural relevance in this digital age. I forgot about the variety and uniqueness of world stamps until I started looking at them again with the hungry eyes of a designer hunting for inspiration. So in an effort to bring this enjoyable, albeit a little nerdish, hobby back to the creative masses, I give you my homage to the hipster zeitgeist---in stamps. Cue up some Deerhoof or Grizzly Bear, and enjoy.


  • abracadabran

    nice collection, and it inspires me a kind of new concept.

    I am still a collector of those little precious imageries and i believe in a serious revival of this tradition, in some way.

    I just reblog your visual in my blog.

    Hope you don't mind.

    Thank you.

  • Gracia Lam

    This is a beautiful collection of stamps and I love the way you named it "little posters". This entire collection, along with the hand writing, is a very gorgeous image. Thank you for this.

  • Justin Gabbard

    Hi Tom, thanks for these awesome stamps! still like to send out the weirdest stamps I can find whenever I send letters. I love that Idaho Bluebird, it's really vivid.

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