Thursday, May 7, 2009

Swiss Post Honors Gutenberg

Swiss Post is recording a significant period of history on a tiny piece of paper. Entitled "From Gutenberg to the Internet" the new stamp will not only depict the invention of letterpress printing but also its evolution into electronic communication. This stamp and all others in the current issue will be on sale from 8 May 2009.

A new Swiss Post stamp has been designed to honour one of the greatest inventions of the last few centuries. The stamp commemorates Johannes Gutenberg who invented letterpress printing with movable letters around 1450. It is thanks to this invention that we have books, newspapers, magazines and stamps as we know them today. Gutenberg's letterpress printing also laid the foundations for the graphics industry, which today – some 550 years on – is governed purely by electronic processes.

A new stamp entitled "From Gutenberg to the Internet" has been designed in recognition of this development. The one-franc stamp features a lead character with the letter "a" while the red imprint it makes on paper is a "@". The difference between "a" and "@" sums up the development from lead character to written online communication perfectly.

Part of an international campaign

The special stamp is the result of a competition held for polygraphic apprentices from six countries. Their task was to capture the 550-year history "from Gutenberg to the Internet" in the form of a stamp motif. The winning motif – a design by Meike Kollmann of Germany – was chosen by a panel of international judges. The stamp will be available in Switzerland and Luxembourg. The idea for this stamp project originated from these two countries.