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KPU design instructor wins stamp of approval from Canada Post Community Foundation

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 10:51 PDT, Tue May 23, 2023

A Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) design instructor is putting his stamp on one of the latest adhesive squares issued by Canada Post.

John Belisle has designed the 2023 Canada Post Community Foundation stamp, featuring an owl, a fox, and a bear reading together in the moonlight.

"The theme of this stamp issue is the way in which stories and storytelling enhance the lives of children and youth," says Belisle. "The illustration depicts a diverse group of animals gathering around a fire in the forest to read a story together. It reminds us of the joy that stories and storytelling bring, as well as the creativity and curiosity they inspire."

The stamp issue is part of the foundation's annual campaign to raise money for grants to support Canadian charities, schools and organizations that benefit children and youth.

"The illustration is rooted in the idea that the community stamp gives back to kids in communities that are in need, including mental health and education," says Belisle.

Canada Post retail employees selected the design from Belisle, who is no stranger to the art of creating postage stamps.

A graphic design for marketing instructor at KPU's Wilson School of Design (WSD), Belisle has been designing stamps for 15 years, including 25 stamps for Canada Post. His postage designs include themes of the 2010 Winter Games and Star Trek, to Canadians in Hollywood and mental health awareness.

A huge challenge of designing the small squares is considering what the selection committee will respond to.

"Some of my best ideas have not been chosen. Stamps are small, so your ideas and artwork have to be imaginative but also quick reads visually, and to work that small you need small little fingers to create the artwork, which is why no one over six feet tall has ever designed a stamp, true story," says Belisle, who stands five foot eight.

Belisle's previous design work also includes the bid books for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and brand identities and campaigns for over 50 organizations in Canada and around the world, as well as several children's and coffee table books.

The Canada Post Community Foundation supports a variety of initiatives, including literacy and language programs, youth outreach services, projects supporting Indigenous youth, gender and sexual diversity programs, arts and recreation projects, special education programs, and childhood health programs.

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