The joint issue was designed by Swedish freelance stamp designer Martin Morck, who has been producing artwork for postal administrations around the world since 1978.
"My idea was to join the two animals without showing their natural surroundings," Morck says of the design concept. "I tried to capture the animals on the same level, somewhere both in front of and behind the water, under water, and at the surface of the water, which is their shared element." The images were engraved by Swedish master engraver Lars Sjooblom and based on photographs of the animals.
The otter and porpoise are shown in a setting of waves and bubbles. "I wanted to create a background that differed from the naturalistic three-dimensional engravings of the animals. It creates a space through the two-dimensional overlaps of the colours. I also thought it was fun to 'go back to the seventies,'" explains Morck. The two stamps meet when placed side by side. "The whole idea is based on the movement of the waves from one stamp to another."
To Danielle Trottier, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post, working on joint issues provides opportunities to bring something new to the stamp program.
"It's always great fun working with other postal administrations and tapping into their technology," she says, noting that Sweden is a world leader in stamp engraving. "For this issue, we've introduced elliptical perforations, and Sweden has re-created our maple leaf perforation on the souvenir sheet using new techniques. It was also the first gummed booklet pane we've produced since 2004."