We are big fans of any type of printed ephemera here in the studio, and a few years ago while traveling in Europe we had this idea to create a stamp illustration for each city we visited. We created an Instagram account called Townsquares, and also blogged about our trip. Eventually after our trip we just continued illustrating some of our favourite cities each week. We had a blast with the project and regularly asked our Instagram followers for suggestions on which cities to do next!
Anyway, cut to the present day where the folks at Wix.com decided we need to revive our stamp making skills one more time. They commissioned us to create a set of 10 stamp illustrations to use as assets in their website building platform and we had so much fun! The brief was basically to capture the essence of these 10 cities in the best way we could:
We actually visited this beautiful city on our trip to Europe. We were very inspired by the typical Dutch apartment blocks that were neatly stacked (or squashed) next to each other, overlooking these scenic canals. That’s what we took away from Amsterdam.
I know everyone says this, but this is really one of our favourite cities! Such a vibrant mix of cultures, a combination of old and new, and of course…Beer! Our inspiration was those retro brand mascots that used to appear in adverts. I distinctly remember a visit to the DDR Museum and seeing these examples of East German packaging. And what better mascot than the one you see around every corner in this marvellous city - Germany’s brown bear.
We didn’t actually get to visit the holy city, but it’s right up there on the ol’ bucket list. We thought the Temple on the Mount was an appropriate image and especially like the way it’s framed within the arches.
This one is basically inspired by the Big Ben’s Victorian style decoration - think Crystal Palace, old-fashion timepieces etc. The simple line style was chosen to suit the decorative nature of the stamp, but also to hide a little London Eye in there too (if you look carefully).
5. New York
Drawing inspiration from vintage travel posters, this one has a very mid-century modern feel. It’s unmistakably Times Square with all its neon buzz. I can already hear Frank Sinatra singing in the background.
What’s more Japanese than Mount Fuji and cherry blossoms? We figured the red sun rising is equally iconic and went with a soft gradient approach.
For Paris we wanted a retro look with a limited colour palette and some simple line-work - a style that is typical of 1960’s printed ephemera. The view is of the Eiffel Tower seen through the Arc de Triomphe from the Champs Elysees.
The interesting patterns of the St. Basil's Cathedral was perfect for designing at the small scale of a postage stamp.
We were inspired by the classic monochrome etching style of some vintage stamps like this one. The illustration is a head of a typical Roman soldier. It also reminds us our trips to Italy - the classic Italian sculptures and architecture.
10. Rio de Janeiro
This stamp combines two iconic Brazilian attractions - the Christ the Redeemer statue and the famous Copacabana beach. For me, Rio de Janeiro’s heyday was in the 1960’s - think Bossa Nova jazz and Oscar Niemeyer architecture - we wanted to capture this with the retro aesthetic.