On May 17 Royal Mail will issue a self-adhesive miniature sheet of six colourful free-form stamps unashamedly aimed at children, although they might also appeal to adults with a sense of fun who want to brighten up letters and greetings cards.

Entitled Animail, it will feature six endearing animal characters, with each stamp designed to wrap around the outside edges of an envelope or postcard, as if the creature is clinging on to the top or side. Thin white lines across each design suggest the place in which it is meant to be folded.

Royal Mail says the stamps are intended to be ‘interactive’ and ‘engaging’, to ‘adorn a piece of mail’ and ‘make someone smile before they have even open the envelope’.

Illustrated by Andrew Ross, these are Britain’s most free-form designs to date, die-cut to complex shapes with mostly curved edges and with the use of simulated perforations reduced to a bare minimum. They carry no inscriptions beyond the Queen’s head and value.

Designed by Osborne Ross, the miniature sheet is printed in litho by International Security Printers.

The presentation pack is being promoted as a gift idea, and includes a simple children’s game in which you make your way through the jungle, overcoming various obstacles, to deliver a letter.

1st class Woodpecker

Curiously blue, the woodpecker is intended to cling to the side of an envelope, as it would to a tree

1st class Snake

Green with a diamond pattern on its back, the snake hangs from the top of a cover, wrapped tight around its own red envelope

£1.05 Chimpanzee

Swaying nonchalantly from the top of the letter, the smiling brown chimpanzee appears to be giving a thumbs-up sign

£1.05 Bat

Hanging upside down to roost as you would expect, the grey bat has its eyes wide open and wings only half closed

£1.33 Orangutan

Dangling from the top of the letter with both hands, the orange orangutan has a more vacant expression than the chimp

£1.33 Koala

Holding on to the side of the envelope, the grey koala in turn has a baby clinging to its back, both with a wide-eyed stare

 

PRICES

Miniature sheet   £6.04

Presentation pack   £6.55

Stamp cards   £3.15

First day cover   £7.67

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   0/5

The sole purpose of this issue is to attract the younger generation. Is it sending them the right message about stamps?

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

The concept is clever, and the designs suitably quirky for what Royal Mail hopes to achieve, although they blur the line between stamps and stickers

WOW FACTOR   3/5

Children and adults alike will certainly notice these stamps, but only if they are actually used in the post. Most philatelists will loathe them