Residents across the country can now ship a bit of love with their letters and packages using the work of a Longview native.
Pine Tree High School graduate Bailey Sullivan, 29, designed the U.S. Postal Service’s new Love 2021 stamp, which became available Jan. 14. The stamp is the latest in the series by the Postal Service, the first of which was issued in 1973.
Sullivan is a freelance illustrator and muralist who lives in Poconos, Pennsylvania. After studying advertising art direction at the University of Texas at Austin, she moved to New York to live and work for five years.
About two years ago, an art director with the Postal Service reached out to Sullivan after seeing some of her work. She said the actual design process was over in just about two months, but all of the approvals for the design took two years.
“It’s kind of like a bucket-list item for any designer,” she said. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do anything like this. When I got the email, I started crying.”
The design is a “colorful and lighthearted digital illustration,” according to the postal service website. “The stamp art features the word ‘love’ and three large hearts in an unconventional palette of color duos, strikingly set against a dark blue background.”
Sullivan said she wanted the text on the stamp and the visuals to blend.
“For this design, I wanted to use the graphic shape of a heart to inform the typography,” she said. “So, some of the letters are curved, and some come to sharp ‘V’ at the bottom. It’s an abstractive form of the art shape.”
She also wanted the design to reflect all types of love.
“I kind of had this thought that when we hear the word love, we sometimes go to a romantic visual language,” Sullivan said. “But there’s so many different forms of love, like love of family or friends. I wanted a design that felt more playful or universal and not just a certain gender or age group or anything.”
To have her work be available everywhere and not just where she lives is overwhelming, she said.
“To have something that’s everywhere and that my grandma in a teeny tiny town in Texas can go into her post office and see is exciting,” Sullivan said. “My parents just sent me a photo that they had framed different sheets of the stamp.”
The Love 2021 stamp was first issued in Loveland, Colorado, where for 75 years the city’s chamber of commerce has teamed up with the Postal Service for a Valentine Remailing Program.
According to the Postal Service, the Love 2021 stamp is available as a Forever stamp in panes of 20. Forever stamps will remain equal in value to the First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. The stamps are available online at usps.com/shopstamps .