Imagine that the people who you saved know who you are

One person's caring means another person's life

The postage stamp for World Blood Donor Day 2013 embodies the relationship between blood donors and patients. Designer Suzanne Rosier from The Hague went looking for the essence of this relationship and how she could best depict it.

"The cooperation between PostNL and Sanquin was very open and relaxed. This allowed me as a designer to get to know Sanquin very well and take a 'peak behind the scenes'." 

"Topics such as 'one person's caring means another person's life' and 'sharing blood connects people' were the most important themes for me during the creative process. I got free reign," says Suzanne Rosier. "Apart from the restrictions that naturally apply to postage stamps, I was able to proceed as I pleased when developing and elaborating the concept. It was an autonomous and hence a very satisfying process."

Suzanne chose '1 to share = 1 to live' as a stirring perspective. "This sharing of 1 as a message, 1 as a unit, 1 as caring for others and 1 as the story of patients and donors offered various perspectives. The relationship between donors and patients is the focus in the chosen concept. Here too we saw the return of the theme of 'one person's caring means another person's life'." 
Suzanne selected the playing card concept to illustrate this relationship. "This meshed well with illustrating our feeling about what this relationship actually means. Namely, that caring about your fellow man can mean life-saving blood for another person. Hence the heart-shaped blood drop. By focusing on the donors and patients, they receive extra attention as the 'true' heroes. Just like the nobles on the face cards are the heroes."

The connection between donors and patients is reflected on the postage stamp in numerous ways. Suzanne: "It starts with the mirrored face cards - they are joined. This is reinforced by placing the heart and the blood drop at the connecting point. The relationship between donors and patients is also reflected in the banner, which has a colour gradient from pink to red, just as the two are literally connected to each other through blood. On this postage stamp everything rotates on its axis: the face cards, the symbols and the typography. This also refers to a playful dynamic that you associate with cards."

A lot of attention was paid in the design to illustrating the Queen of Hearts and the King of Hearts. "So there are endless options, of course," says Suzanne. "I tried out and tested a lot of different variations. From modern to old-fashioned, from unknown to recognisable, from abstract to realistic. You have to go through a perfecting process. Due to the anonymity of both donors and patients, the faces were reduced to the essential, drawn with a few simple lines. Naturally, it has to be something happy, because it's a festive day. Hence the upturned corners of the mouth, the slight smile. A small detail is that the Queen of Hearts' hairstyle and jewel are both in the shape of a heart. The red and white colours are obvious, but they were also chosen to emphasise the association with the pack of cards. What's more, the big contrast creates the illusion of a sheet containing 10 instead of 2 different postage stamps. The other colour - the warm grey - is derived from gold, intended to represent the warmth and radiance of a celebration."

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