undersea creatures to Hollywood legends, most stamp subjects are
suggested by the public—in more than 50,000 letters each
year. The challenge of sorting through these proposals falls to
the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC), which meets
quarterly to discuss, debate, and ultimately select each subject.
specific look of a stamp is determined by a Postal Service art
director, who conducts thorough background research, selects an
artist, and submits preliminary designs to CSAC. The artist then
develops pencil sketches that evolve into a beautiful final design.
a stamp can take two years or longer, but by the time the Postmaster
General approves the final art, everyone involved has held to
the most important dictum of stamp design: Work small, but think