On January 20, Royal Mail will issue a Smilers 2015 miniature sheet, introducing eight new 1st class stamps expressly intended for use in personalised Smilers sheets.

The range of designs that customers can choose from is refreshed from time to time, and this is the first new set since a miniature sheet in 2010; previous sets were issued in booklets in 2005 and 2006.

The idea is to offer greater choice and flexibility when it comes to celebrating big events, from weddings and births to birthdays and other achievements, and sending ‘thank you’ messages.

Designed by Jenny Bowers of Peepshow, the stamps were printed in litho by International Security Printers. The same designs in booklets and Smilers sheets are self-adhesive and printed in gravure.

1st class WELL DONE

A big ‘1st’ represents success, and is intended to be applicable to a wide range of personal achievements.

1st class MUM

The inscriptions ‘Mum’, ‘Mummy’ and ‘Mother’, interspersed with flowers, make this stamp ideal for use on a mother’s birthday or Mother’s Day.

1st class NEW BABY

Meant for spreading news or congratulations after a birth in the family, this design is based on one of the 1st class designs in the 2004 Occasions set, but redrawn and in a different format,

1st class WEDDING

Showing a three-tiered wedding cake decorated with two hearts at the top, this stamp could be used for sending out invitations or thank you letters.

1st class HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Birthday party invitations or birthday cards could be sent out adorned with this design, featuring three candles whose flames have smiley faces.

1st class DAD

Reminiscent in style of the 1st class Love design which was included in the 2005 Smilers issue, but spelling out ‘Dad’ instead, this stamp might be used for a father’s birthday or Father’s Day.

1st class GRANDPARENT

Showing a child’s hand in an adult’s hand, this design is intended for sending to a grandparent but could find other uses.

1st class LOVE

With its image of two birds apparently kissing within a heart shape, this stamp’s applications could include Valentine’s Day, weddings and anniversaries.

OTHER PRODUCTS

The stamps are also available in a presentation pack, a retail booklet and a Smilers generic sheet.

The presentation pack combines more Jenny Bowers illustrations with a witty poem by Roger McGough on the subject of celebration.

The booklet of 12 self-adhesive stamps comprises all eight different designs, with the New Baby, Wedding, Love and Happy Birthday stamps duplicated.

The generic sheet comprises two each of the Dad, Mum, Grandparent and Well Done stamps, and three each of the Happy Birthday, Love, Wedding and New Baby stamps, all with adjacent inscriptive labels clarifying their intended use, and has a wrapping paper-style border.

Personalised sheets come in sheets of 10 or 20 with a single stamp design.

As ever, stamp cards are also available.

 

PRICES

Miniature sheet          £4.96

Presentation pack      £5.50

Stamp cards      £4.05

First day cover  £6.43

Retail booklet    £7.44

Generic sheet    £12.90

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH                  1/5

The commemoration work these stamps do is all on a personal level, not a national one

QUALITY OF DESIGN           2/5

All the designs are cheerful and colourful, although two are highly derivative

WOW FACTOR            2/5

Hopefully anyone receiving a such a stamp on a special occasion will be suitably impressed