Where do new postal stamp ideas come from?

Petitions for new stamps abound – but do they matter?

Where do new postal stamp ideas come from?

There are dozens of petitions online proposing new postal stamp designs.

Thousands of people believe that legendary musicians such as Tom Petty and John Prine deserve a commemorative stamp–especially since John Prine once worked for the postal service. On the acting side, there's a call for a Vincent Price stamp.

There's a petition for a Black Lives Matter stamp and one for honoring Vivien Thomas, a Black Medical Pioneer.

Some believe that Yoga & Meditation deserve a stamp, with the idea that this would encourage people to live more fit and healthy lifestyles.

So, are these petitions effective?

How USPS decides on new stamps

While these petitions are aimed at the USPS generally, it might be more effective to petition the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee specifically. This 11-person group appointed by the postmaster general does indeed solicit ideas from the general public – but they only accept suggestions via postal mail. Seems on-brand!

Gail Anderson is a graphic designer and educator who serves on the advisory committee. (Photo by Irina Lee)

Once an idea is submitted for consideration by the committee at its quarterly meeting, it takes at minimum three years for the stamp to become a reality. What exactly happens at these meetings? Seems like we will never know, as they are "closed and confidential."