Stamped Across History

Subplot celebrates the discovery of insulin with Canada Post

April 16, 2021


stamps, postage, insulin, diabetes, canada, canada post, subplot, applied arts

It seems almost unfathomable that at one time a person diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes faced a death sentence. However, this was just the case 100 years ago before the discovery of insulin. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this milestone medical discovery Canada Post Corporation enlisted long-time collaborators Vancouver-based Subplot Design Inc. to create a collector’s set of postage.

stamps, postage, insulin, diabetes, canada, canada post, subplot, applied arts

The 1921 discovery of insulin by Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip and John Macleod at the University of Toronto, won Banting and Macleod the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (they split the winnings with Collip and Best) and changed, and continues to change, the lives of millions.

stamps, postage, insulin, diabetes, canada, canada post, subplot, applied arts

“We were honoured to be involved in this special project,” notes Subplot Creative Director and Lead Designer, Matthew Clark. “We had very personal reasons to be attracted to this topic.”

Clark continues, “My son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just over 2 years ago, and he wouldn’t be living the full and healthy life he is now if it weren’t for this amazing, breakthrough discovery.”

stamps, postage, insulin, diabetes, canada, canada post, subplot, applied arts

The main stamp design, which incorporates an original, antique viral of insulin and a page of Banting’s handwritten diary, which illuminates the sleepless nights that led up to the lifesaving drug’s creation, were supplied by the University of Toronto’s Archives and shot by Seth Stevenson. The custom Cancel and Official First Day Cover (OFDC) also utilize antique items related to insulin’s creation from U of T’s archives. In the case of the OFDC, Subplot used the immensely appropriate original envelopes.

U of T Archives

U of T INSULIN 100 Celebration

All products are available for purchase at selected Canada Post offices and online here.

Creative Credits

Creative Concept & Implementation: Subplot Design Inc.
Designer: Matthew Clark
Creative Directors: Matthew Clark, Roy White
Photographer: Seth Stevenson
Icons & Cancel: Matthew Clark
Client: Canada Post Corporation
Printer: Lowe Martin

We gratefully acknowledge the expertise of Patricia Brubaker and Scott Heximer, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; and Grant Maltman, Curator, Banting House National Historic Site of Canada. Artefacts courtesy of The Banting Collection, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.

About Subplot Design Inc.
Subplot is a leading Branding & Packaging Design firm that specializes in solving tough problems for demanding clients in highly competitive world markets. Savvy marketers are demanding tangible results that grow their business. And they need to connect with consumers who are looking for brands to trust, to love and that add value to their lives. We ensure success with Creative Certainty®: smart, consumer-focused strategy that is brought to life with inspiring, breakthrough design. From our home base in Vancouver, BC, our partners are hands-on with every project; verbal & visual branding, corporate identity programs, packaging systems, campaigns, video and of course, more.