On July 11, 2015, in Sacramento, CA, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Summer Harvest stamps (Forever First-Class Mail priced at 49 cents) in four designs in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) booklet of 20 stamps.
Every summer, some of America’s favorite foods are in season. The U.S. Postal Service celebrates a few of those favorites-corn, tomatoes, cantaloupes, and watermelons-with four new stamps. Vintage produce advertising inspired these stamp designs, including 19th- and early 20th-century crate labels, seed packets, and catalogues. Though not all produce was shipped in wooden crates, the stamp art is especially reminiscent of vintage crate labels.
The four stylized labels are drawn in the same color palette of red, black, green, and yellow-orange. The product names are in white lettering at the tops of the four stamps. The word “Forever” is enclosed in a banner centered along the bottom of the stamp; the letters “USA” are to the right of the banner.
After America’s railroads linked the East and West Coasts in the 1870s, growers in agricultural areas could ship their products to locations across the country. To distinguish their wares from other producers, growers commissioned special crate labels from printing houses that employed some of the day’s best graphic artists. The artists created designs that featured clever slogans and unusual styles, though the art did not necessarily relate to the products inside. For example, illustrations might portray bathing beauties, historical events, landscapes, animals, or the grower’s family.
The Summer Harvest Forever stamps will be issued in booklets of 20.
Working with an early concept developed by former art director Richard Sheaff, Antonio Alcalá art directed these stamps. Michael Doret was a designer and artist.