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How stamps are produced

From concept to reality

In Germany in the past, only the regional rulers could decide on the stamp motifs. Today, anyone can suggest a theme.

The Finance Ministry receives around 500 proposals for special stamps every year. Around 50 of these entries can make it onto a real stamp. The German Finance Minister has the final word when it comes to selecting the themes for the stamps. The selection follows a clearly defined set of criteria.

The people behind the stamp

German stamps are supposed to represent Germany – but what is it that defines the country? In answering this question, the German Finance Minister is supported by two committees. These committees are made up of politicians, administrative experts, graphic artists, philatelists (stamp collectors) and representatives of the postal service:

  • The stamp programme committee reflects on themes for the stamps, examines suggestions from members of the public for new stamps and compiles a list of suggestions for new stamps for a calendar year.
  • The art committee assesses the quality of the proposed designs. The art committee was first convened in 1954, following harsh criticism of stamp design in the early Federal Republic of Germany.

Around 100 graphic designers are currently involved in designing German stamps. For each new stamp, the Finance Ministry asks six to eight artists to submit designs.

Each design is crafted for a surface measuring only a few square centimetres with painstaking care, ensuring that every single stamp is a tiny work of art.