Stamps from the Red State

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I wonder how the People’s Republic of China feels when they hear the term “red state.” Do they have any sense of the irony. Red in the U.S. is Republican, red in China is, well, you know.

The Chinese love their redness. It symbolizes fire, but also luck. Red decorations ward away the evil around them. These mint stamps from the PRC (probably late 1990s) has its share of red hues. But there’s also a great sense of pride that is endemic to Socialist Realism (forced smiles, but curiously engaging). These pages are from a stamp book that my parents, who made frequent trips to the PRC, brought back years ago. There’s something very soothing and satisfying about the design of postage stamps — so small, so intimate.

chinese stamps
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chinese stamps 3
chinese stamps 2
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Print’s February IssueDon’t miss the newest issue of Print, the Sex & Design issue, which takes a tasteful look at these issues. Read even more by Steven Heller, such as his feature article that explores the relationship between sex and advertising through the years, as well as his Dialogue and Evolution columns.

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →