Responses by Peter Ørntoft, graphic designer
Background: To assist its coverage of the heated debate about mail-in ballots in the US 2020 presidential election, CBS News reached out and asked me to create an infographic concept and design. The purpose of the project was to present the data in a new and intriguing way to stand out from the mass of similar data presented by other broadcast stations. CBS News’s Face the Nation program unveiled the collection of stamps in its weekly Sunday broadcast and across its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles.
Reasoning: I always begin these types of projects by exploring the context of the subject to look for powerful visual elements that can carry the data. Thinking of various different objects in relation to the postal experience, the potential of using the stamp as a format caught my attention, as they are like small traveling pieces of art that can show us our history.
Challenges: At first, my challenge was time. I had three weeks to come up with a concept, convince my client that it was a good idea, design it and set up a photoshoot. However, the biggest challenge ended up being scale. I have never designed for such a small scale before. Early in the process, I made some test prints and quickly got an overview of the limitations in terms of design and content. With such a small scale, it was all about keeping it simple. The data visualizations had to be as precise and clear as possible meaning not too many variables and not too much text.
Favorite details: The details in the stamp designs. Stylistically, they match the visual aesthetic of stamps themselves, and there are several details in the design that make the stamps appear authentic. I’m also really happy with the details in the macro photoshoot, like the paper fibers from the ripped paper edge and the paper surface.
Anything new: I learned a lot about stamp design. I was especially inspired by the Polish stamp designer Czesław Słania and his illustration style. Talking to an old stamp collector also made me realize the importance of stamps. Apart from being an important part of our communication infrastructure, they also give us small glimpses of world history.