Centenary of the Magic Circle Commemorative Stamps

George Hardie

Research output: Other contribution


In 2004 Hardie was commissioned to collaborate on the design development and illustrations for a set of stamps to commemorate the centenary of the Magic Circle, as part of the Royal Mail’s Special Stamps programme which started in 1924 to celebrate the British Empire Exhibition. The brief from Royal Mail was ‘Show us magic, and make it magical’. Building on his award-winning work for Royal Mail (Jet Travel, 1999), Hardie, with his collaborators (Tatham and Griffiths) researched types of magic from escapology to illusion and explored the translation of these to a stamp format. Royal Mail suggested the use of thermal and metal inks as a means to create ‘magic’ and encourage public engagement. Pursuing a central idea that the stamps would have tricks hidden within them, Hardie’s design process included iconic pencil sketches of card and coin tricks, and rabbits and hats. Hardie also established a set of design rules: • what images all refer to conjuring, magic, tricks and puzzles; • technical tricks would enhance these narratives; and • no additional equipment would be required to conduct the magic other than a mirror, water, magnet, finger scribble. Hardie’s role was to collaborate in the design process and develop the images. This innovative set of stamps used heat-sensitive inks, scratch card technology and optical tricks. The stamps were nominated by international jury for a DandAD Silver Award. Citations include: The Designer interviews Amanda Tatham. Magic! Stamps … Just Like That. Double page illustrated article, 10-11, The Designer, Issue no. 24, 2005. Design Review annual 2006, Michael Wolff. John Stones. Get stuck in. Whole page article 17. Design Week, 17 March 2005. The stamps were selected by the design jury to be included in Images 30, The Annual of the Association of Illustrators, 2006.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherExhibited D&AD, THe Old Fish Market, Billingsgate
Place of PublicationBillingsgate, UK
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005


  • Stamps
  • Magic Circle
  • Royal Mail
  • Commission Centenary


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