When we stumbled upon writer David Infante’s lovely online piece praising the practice of writing letters, we of course wanted to know more about the 26-year-old New Yorker’s fancy for classic correspondence. Here, the former conscious thank you note objector shares why railroad spikes may make for good pen pal letters and writing while curious always has the potential for a most memorable response.
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
In college. When I was a kid, my parents made me write “thank you” notes to anyone who gave me a gift—Christmas, birthday, etc.—and I hated it. Sometimes, if the gift wasn’t even that good, I would be angry that it had been given to me. Now I have to write another note, and for what?! I would fight back, too, if I had already verbally thanked the giftee face-to-face. As a Cool Teen™ trying to spend as much time as possible playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater on N64, I didn’t see the point of sending a note after the fact—it seemed redundant.
When I got to college, I was sort of lost. I had a really rough freshman year at a small liberal arts school, and I hated it. I was depressed and alone. I don’t want to make it sound like writing notes “saved” me—I was living a perfectly acceptable life for a college freshman, I was just a bit down on myself. So to cheer myself up, I started collecting my friends’ home addresses and sending them Christmas cards. Just for the hell of it. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of it, so then I did it again at Easter, then again the following Christmas and so on. Obviously I still wrote “thank you” notes—it was an ingrained habit at that point. It kinda went from there, but it started because I had a lot of downtime and wasn’t enjoying myself in a new environment.
Over the years we’ve received a mailbox’s (the big USPS blue variety, that is) worth of emails asking us for advice on how one goes about designing personalized stationery for someone else. After all, it is a gift that is so, well, personal. When we came across stationery enthusiast Lauren’s design for her parents, we knew she would have some words of wisdom on the subject.
What was the inspiration behind this design? My dad works for the New York Racing Association and my mom is a horse lover through and through. They spend the summer in Saratoga, NY and are out almost every night of the week at someone’s home for cocktails or dinner. I thought these flat cards would be perfect for sending thank you notes to their hosts.
Nothing says classic to me like gold engraved stationery. I loved the idea of a simple equestrian motif, and given their involvement in racing, this horse was a perfect choice. I used my parents’ informal names and chose a striped envelope liner to add a little playfulness to the design. Continue reading →
Meet Marieke Hardy, co-founder of the live series Women of Letters. Along with fellow Aussie writer Michaela McGuire, the duo created an intimate show that has placed everyone from notable actresses to what Marieke likes to call “dark horses” on stage with their missives. Here, the self-proclaimed writer to “anybody and everybody” shares about a special postcard project, legendary Australian feminists and why you won’t be able to download the show’s podcast (and why that’s a good thing).
Michaela and Marieke
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin? I was a voracious letter writer in my 20s. I would write to anybody and everybody: Politicians, passerby, the company who made my favourite lipstick. I liked to write thank you cards; I felt there were too many complaint letters in the world. (To everybody who received a weird ‘I really love your muesli!’ card from me in the 90’s, you’re welcome!) These days I have lots of secret postcard projects, and obviously Women of Letters means we have to keep the flame alive!
If you are incorporating a social media handle into the information on your business card, ensure that it is appropriate for your line of work. For example, a fashion designer may wan to include his/her Instagram handle, while an accountant would not. From our Business Essentials guide, a primary on business and calling cards.
One should consider his or her paper as he or she would consider any wardrobe piece: with thoughtful attention to detail, quality and style. From our Business Essentials guide, a primary on printing processes and our 100% cotton stock.
We love receiving pictures of our customers’ personalized stationery—it’s the reason we created the Personalized Profile feature—and so it was a visual delight to open Steve Ono’s email recently. Steve works for family-owned print shop Japan Printing and Graphics in New York City, and, like many print shops, they love our Lettra paper.
If you’re not familiar with Lettra, it’s our signature letterpress stock. We like to say Lettra and letterpress printing go together like Fred and Ginger. It’s 100% cotton, and the soft-yet-sturdy, textured composition is positively divine to the touch. When the letterpress machine makes its impression, we’re pretty sure fireworks explode.
Below are a few of the lovely business card designs Steve shared with us as well as his thoughts on Lettra and the importance of one’s business card choice.
Pearl White Lettra letterpress printed in black ink.
“The delicate texture and feel of the Lettra stock is incredibly unique and unmistakable. People absolutely love the paper because it feels so soft and textured, almost as if it were textile. Secondly, the Lettra stock allows for deep indentations when the using letterpress printing. The softness of the paper allows the indentations from the letterpress to be considerably deeper than any other paper that we use. This amplifies the effect of letterpress printing and also adds a more visible dimension to the business cards. This paper is indispensable for the type of work that we do.” Continue reading →