design case: Designer with stamp of approval

Stamps (large)

Above: Mike Dempsey RDI's stamps for the Royal Mail celebrating classic album covers. Image copyright: Studio Dempsey.


Mike Dempsey RDI, founder of Studio Dempsey, is one of the most awarded designers in the history of Design & Art Direction (D&AD), the awards and education body. He has chosen to work mainly in the UK.

In addition to stamps, Dempsey's expertise also encompasses design for arts properties from posters for art exhibitions, theatre and dance to film titles.


Above: A Poster for the exhibition of photographs of Sixties model, Twiggy, at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Image copyright: Studio Dempsey.


His studio was established in 2007 and he works and lives in both London and Dorset.

Dempsey says he has done "very little work abroad although I am known within the international design community".

His awards bear this out and include: 

  • 10 D&AD silvers and the Gold Award from D&AD. In 2012 he was given a special award by D&AD for being the most awarded designer in the organisation's 50-year history 
  • The CSD Minerva Award
  • 2010 The Royal Mail award with Reginald R. Phillips Medal for outstanding contribution to British stamp design  
  • 2012 New York Art Directors Club Silver Award
  • He was made a Royal Designer for Industry

Dempsey says: "There has always been a fantastic collection of creative talent in the UK, especially in London. However, the digital age has widened the pool and I feel many people no longer see the UK as the centre of the creative universe.

"I believe that it is possible to create anywhere. It is no longer anchored to any one place. But as designers we like to cling together in creative collectives. Although this is now achieved via many online forums, physically being with other creatives is very beneficial for the spirit."

Asked to nominate an innovative UK designer, Dempsey chooses Thomas Heatherwick, explaining: "He is the most innovative designer working at the moment. He always starts with the user. He is about the ‘human experience’ rather than bolstering his ego by producing vanity projects. He is refreshing in today’s world of design."

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