The Daily Heller: Stamps With Messages That Stick

Posted inThe Daily Heller

This has been a busy summer for our otherwise inadequate lawmakers. Congress has fastidiously carried out a well-designed and executed investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, laying the groundwork for Justice Department action. And this past Sunday, the Senate passed (51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris voting to break the partisan tie) the Inflation Reduction Act, which will make “the most significant federal investment in history to counter climate change while lowering prescription drug costs.”

Now is the moment to praise those efforts but continue the campaigns that, like so many delayed planes at American airports, are waiting to take flight. There are still many issues and grievances to give voice to with every means at designers’ disposal.

Portland Stamp Company has been praised in this column on a few occasions for utilizing a simple graphic platform to express advocacy and concern. Josh Berger, one of the company’s principals, recently reported that they’d been talking with illustrator and activist Sarah Epperson about an artist series collaboration. But, “following the mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, she created a piece about stopping gun violence, so we suggested we turn it into a stamp sheet” benefitting Community Justice Action Fund.

With the midterms coming up, The Portland Stamp Company also has two sheets that encourage voting, with all proceeds benefiting the ACLU. One is a collaboration with illustrator Michael Wertz. Alongside Lea Redmond, Wertz’s “The Vote” stamps are originally from a project called Postage Stamp Protest.

The other sheet is an adaptation of a PSA that The Portland Stamp Co. originally made for the 2018 midterms with the photographer Sumaya Agha in collaboration with Plazm magazine.

All in all, Fall 2022 is an extra hot season for democracy and the threats posed against it. The Portland’s efforts are just one way to exercise our inalienable rights. We at PRINT hope to bring more grassroots design actions to light over the coming months. Let us know what you’re doing.

Sarah Epperson
Micheal Wertz
The Portland Stamp Company & Sumaya Agha