Branding News: Design choice - Christmas stamps

From a kindly, third-century St Nicholas to the modern incarnation popularised by Coca-Cola, Father Christmas has taken many forms. Now he features on this year's Christmas stamps.

Illustrated by Raymond Briggs, creator of The Snowman and Fungus the Bogeyman, this Santa is a refreshing change from the bland, rosy-cheeked, ho-ho-hoing Santa. He battles the elements to deliver his presents without the help of a fleet of trucks. And there's not an elf in sight.

Like many of Briggs' creations, he has an edge. He looks rather hard done by, putting up with whatever life throws at him. He's the sort of bloke you'd have a pint with in your local, who you could grumble to about your day, but who would, ultimately, have had a tougher one than you.

Earlier this year Royal Mail came under fire from the Church of England, which criticised the use of secular imagery on Christmas stamps. Its response was that we live in a multi-faith society and that the stamps should appeal to the widest audience possible. I'm with Royal Mail on this one - it's good to have a twist on an old theme, and this charming set of stamps should inspire everyone to find something new in it for themselves.

Now, where's the agency Christmas card brief?

- Design Raymond Briggs.

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