Justified Juror Comments: Waves of Color

In 2013, for “Justified: AIGA Design Competition,” a distinguished jury chaired by Clement Mok selected 14 case studies that each serve as an effective tool to explain the role of designers in conceiving and implementing solutions.

The following are individual jurors’ comments on the selection “Case Study: Waves of Color” To view all 14 selected works, visit: aiga.org/justified-2013-selections/

Valarie Casey 300x200

Valerie Casey, founder and chief executive officer, Necessary Projects, San Francisco, California

The Waves of Color stamp set feels robustly and confidently American. The varying sizes, face designs and color palette all fall within a well-fitted system that is conceptual but simple, complex but essential and rich but unadorned. Beautifully done.

Jessica Hische 300x200

Jessica Hische, letterer and procrastiworker, Title Case, San Francisco, California

Not only are these postage stamps beautiful, they also feel incredibly expensive and high end—something that’s hard to accomplish in a tiny paper format. They make me want to pay too much for postage in order to find a way to use them.

Brad Johnson 300x200

Brad Johnson, VP, executive creative director, Second Story (now part of SapientNitro), Portland, Oregon

These stamps have the clean, sophisticated, abstract elegance of Dutch currency design and made me a proud American—aesthetically.

Clement Mok 300x200

Clement Mok, design and business consultant, The Design Office of Clement Mok, San Francisco, California

Game changer. Moved the needle. Inspirational. What’s the big deal? The first United States Postal Service stamp that doesn’t use type, illustration or photography. Waves of Color is simple, elegant and modern.

Josh Rubin 300x200

Josh Rubin, founder and editor in chief, Cool Hunting, New York, New York

It’s about time the USA had simple, beautiful and sophisticated postage stamps.


Christopher Simmons 300x200

Christopher Simmons, principal and creative director, MINE™, San Francisco, California

National attitudes toward art and design are reflected in a country’s currency and postage stamps, which are also a form of currency. U.S. currency currently embodies our worst national dysfunctions, to the point that I am almost embarrassed to carry cash. Our stamps aren’t far behind. This high-denomination series is a stunning exception. Necessarily complex in form but elegantly simple in execution, these designs are abstract yet absorbingly contemplative, suggesting that we may yet be a graceful, modern nation.

Alina Wheeler 300x200

Alina Wheeler, author, Designing Brand Identity, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In a competition filled with complex solutions, intricate processes and multidisciplinary teams, the simplicity and beauty of these stamps was a tribute to intelligent design. Although the United States Postal Service has been issuing stamps for hundreds of years, this is the first abstract design that has been published—what a triumph. Making different denominations different sizes is also an innovation to be applauded.