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Winners of the Christmas stamp design competition announced - the winning illustrations depict glowing candles, a peeking elf and a Christmas fish

The winners of the Christmas stamp design competition, organized by Posti and University of Lapland's Faculty of Art and Design, have been selected. The three winners were picked out of a total of 174 entries, and two of them will be featured in the Christmas stamps released next November.

The first place was shared by two atmospheric Christmas illustrations, Glowing Candles and Peeking Elf, which were designed by Graphic Design student Jutta Luukkonen and Interior and Textile Design student Ida Sarisalmi. These two winning entries will be featured in the 2020 Christmas greeting no-value indicator stamp and domestic no-value indicator stamp.

The third place went to Art Education student Juho Jusslin's entry, Christmas Fish.

The goal of the competition was to find illustrations conveying a traditional Christmas. "We received very diverse suggestions. The illustrations selected for the postage stamps brilliantly capture a true holiday atmosphere," says Posti's Design Manager Tommi Kantola.

The entries were judged by a panel of four people. In addition to Kantola, the panel included two other members of Posti's Art Committee: graphic artist Jukka Kinanen and Posti's Product Manager Petri Pohjolainen. University of Lapland was represented by Riku Ounaslehto, who himself is an alumni of the university's Faculty of Art and Design.

Posti pays a 3,000 euro reward for the two entries selected as Christmas stamps. The third-place entry is rewarded with 1,000 euros.

Posti's postage stamp competitions are a way of scouting new rising talent to design postage stamps. "It makes sense for Posti to partner up with visual arts education institutes. In the past, we have organized design competitions with Aalto University, Lahti Institute of Design and Pekka Halonen Academy, among others," Kantola says.

Here's what the panel had to say about the winning entries:

Glowing Candles

"The illustration reflects a warm, cozy holiday season. A charming dog watches the room as an observer, which is something that is also relatable to us humans. The traditional watercolor technique and depiction of space radiate a festive atmosphere."

Peeking Elf

"The elf peeking in through the window brings back memories of Christmas as a child. The execution wonderfully captures the elf peering into the warm room from the cold outdoors. The colors used reflect the atmospheric contrast between the cold exterior log wall and the warm interior space."

Christmas Fish

"The Christmas fish wrapped up in a present is a great symbolic encapsulation of the holiday. The deliberate design language and colors work well together. The picture is at once thoughtful and playful."

Lapland University, located in Rovaniemi, is the northernmost university in Finland. The research fields represented at the university are Education, Law, Art and Design, Social Sciences as well as Arctic Studies. Lapland University's Faculty of Art and Design offers six study programs: Audiovisual Media Culture, Graphic Design, Art Education, Interior and Textile Design, Industrial Design and Clothing Design.