By Jennifer Farley

Rock On: UK Stamps To Feature Album Cover Designs

By Jennifer Farley

Screamadelica Last year the Royal Mail in the UK produced a set of extremely cool design related stamps called British Design Classics, featuring amongst other things, the Tube map, the mini car, the mini skirt and penguin books.

Early next year a new set of stamps will be released featuring the covers of ten classic British albums. The albums span several decades and the stamps celebrate the work of the graphic designers, photographers and artists who created memorable covers. The album sleeve has been the scene of some fabulous design work over the years and has become an art form in itself.


Last year’s “Classic British Design” stamps.

The new stamps are slightly unusual as they are an off-square shape with the vinyl disc appearing outside the die-cut of the stamp.

Royal mail researched existing lists of “greatest album covers” as well as seeking advice from music publications and graphic designers. A final list of ten designs were chosen.

Julietta Edgar, head of special stamps, Royal Mail said:

After the success of 2009’s British Design Classics, we continue the theme by exploring the classic art of the album cover.

For decades the album sleeve has been the canvas for some of the most imaginative graphic artists in the world and this issue celebrates this unique art form and some of its greatest examples.

Here’s the stamps and the albums:


The Division Bell by Pink Floyd

A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay – design by Sølve Sundsbø

London Calling by The Clash – photograph © Pennie Smith

Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield


Parklife by Blur – design by Chris Thomson/Stylorouge, photography by Bob Thomas

Power, Corruption and Lies by New Order – Factory 1983, design by Peter Saville, A Basket of Roses by Henri Fantin-Latour, 1890

Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin

Screamadelica by Primal Scream – Artist: Paul Cannell


Let It Bleed by The Rolling Stones – original cover and liner design by Robert Brownjohn, photo by Don McAllester, cake by Delia Smith

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie.

You can read more about the stamps at Norvic Philatelics.

Would these be your choices of “classic british” album design? What classic album cover design would you like to see immortalised on a stamp?

  • I think it’s a nice idea, something a bit different that ~could~ bring the younger generation back to posting letters.. but I doubt it.

    The Royal Mail has a lot of work to do before it will be trusted again. I think that will take more than stamps.

  • I love the designs from last year, they are simple but quirky – I think it’s great to add a bit of personality to posted letters. We don’t send enough to each other these days though IMHO. The album cover designs is a good idea too, I like the fact they’ve gone that bit further and made them a more unique shape – unusual but it totally works. There’s so many more they could have chosen, surprised not to see any from The Beatles, The Who, Oasis, Sex Pistols, The Smiths, Radiohead, Queen?!

  • Yes, I would expect the Beatles Abbey Road album cover to be on here. Or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

  • Hi Nicola, yes I think there are definitely some bands missing there. Maybe the Sex Pistols cover was considered to be too rude? The Smiths would have been nice to see too.

  • Peter Kendall

    Certainly there are many that could have made it. Personally, one of Roger Dean’s Yes covers, Fragile or Close to the Edge, was more worthy than Led Zep 4. It would be interesting to hear what factors the panel used to pick this final 10.

  • ian – Norvic

    Regarding the exclusion of the Beatles, remember that we had 6 different album covers on stamps in 2007,- including Sgt Pepper.

    Other covers, like Dark Side of the Moon, would have been considered too dark to take a postmark, and of course the Sex Pistols were always reckoned to be in bad taste – that was the point – so you wouldn’t want your grannie buying one of those over the counter, would you? (Maybe you would! :-D)

    So far Pink Floyd are the most popular around the world – we’ve had enquiries from as far apart as Korea and Ecuador. We’ve now added an order and payment page on our website so that people around the world can buy the stamps and associated products, and people in the UK can buy the products which they can’t find at their local PO.

  • Hi Ian, thanks for coming on the site and giving more information, much appreciated.

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