Forest, Ontario (April 26, 2011) – Timed with Earth Day celebrations around the globe, Canada Post issued a special collector’s edition stamp to celebrate the UN’s International Year of Forests. Designed by Vancouver’s Subplot Design Inc., the stamp celebrates the complexity of Canada’s forests and ecosystems, and was released to the public on April 22, 2011.


According to Danielle Trottier, Stamp Design Manager for the issue, “Forests in Canada was such an all-encompassing topic that there was a risk of over-utilizing the factual information and environmental warnings to the point that we literally could no longer see the forests for the trees. This design provided not only an intellectual reminder of the importance, economically, culturally and environmentally, of the forest riches we are privileged to have, but is also a moving and dramatic vision of the natural wonder of the Canadian forest.”


UN’s International Year of Forests, launched in February during the 9th session of the United Nation’s forum on forests, seeks to “raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.”


“One of the challenges with a topic as broad as “forests” is to bring it down to a single image that is simultaneously complex enough to be all-encompassing, and yet simple enough to be iconic and compelling”, observes Matthew Clark, Subplot Design Creative Director. “International Year of Forests is not just about “trees”, but about the complex ecosystems of flora and fauna that make up what we know as a forest”.


Initial research discovered that any forest ecosystem can be divided into 4 distinct layers: Emergent (above the canopy), Canopy (in the trees), Floor, and Understory (under the ground). Whereas a traditional forest landscape would be a horizontal (landscape) image, Subplot chose to create a “vertical panorama” that pans down from the sky, down the canopy and down a central tree, and right down onto the forest floor. This gave not only an opportunity to depict the vertical layers, but to create two distinct images once the stamps are separated from the souvenir sheet: one shows a dominant tree, and the other shows mushrooms and moss in the foreground.


The main stamp image was created by Anthony Redpath Photography, combining over 30 individual photos taken on location in the forests of North Vancouver, BC to create this dramatic image.


Once the main image was in place, the layers of the forest are depicted as simply as possible, with minimal writing and animal silhouettes to help tell the story of animal life at all the layers of the forest. And as an additional treat, three nocturnal animals are printed in an ink that is only visible under black light, to give collectors a special image that only they would find.


An Official First Day Cover envelope rounds out the story with the top nine tree types found in Canada while the Cancellation Stamp depicts a falling fir cone, the symbol of life renewal in the forest.


Additional images can be viewed here


About Subplot Design Inc.

Subplot Design Inc. is a leading brand design firm with international experience in creating category-defining corporate and consumer brands. We specialize in powerful ideas that build intelligent, relevant, stand-out brands and communications in what has become an increasingly competitive marketplace. From our Vancouver, BC owned and operated offices, we do this with breakthrough creative brand design including Logomarks + Identity, Brand Packaging, Product Design, Print Communications, Annual Reports, and Retail Identities + Environments.