The U.S. Postal Service sought to channel the enduring delight in magic with the 2018 Forever stamps Art of Magic. Greg Breeding served as the art director for these stamps, working with the illustrator Jay Fletcher on the design.

Stamp development

Jay Fletcher brought an impeccable aesthetic sensibility and level of experience to this project: He’s worked extensively with theory11, a community of magic creators and purveyor of luxury playing cards, and he was game for the design challenge of translating the appeal of magic to postage stamps.

The stamps, proposed by BJ Bueno, a magician in his own right and a member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, would represent five primary categories of magic: production, prediction, levitation, vanishing and transformation. Jay and Greg discussed how these abstract concepts could be communicated through the miniature canvas of the stamp, reckoning with the need to show movement and wonder in a small, fixed image.

The final designs

Greg and Jay landed on depictions of five classic tricks for the final stamps: a rabbit in a top hat, a fortune teller with a crystal ball, a woman levitating, a cage that once held a bird, and a white dove that seemingly materialized from a rose.

The visual approach of the final stamps strikes the perfect balance between vintage and modern. The stamps harken back to magic posters of a bygone era while simultaneously capturing the attention of a 21st-century audience with graphic simplicity.

“I was thrilled when I heard about this project. Designing a stamp is a bucket-list project for any designer.”

Jay Fletcher, Stamp Illustrator

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