EVERYMAN'S GUIDE TO STATIONARY Stop Texting and Discover This Dying Art
So, you want to get the most bang for your buck in everything you do. I don’t think there’s a greater positive efficiency than employing the use of personal correspondence in your social life. Everyone loves to be noticed, and for whatever reason receiving a personalized letter—even if it’s just a few words—means an outsized amount to us. In our digital age, there’s something about the tactile physicality of a written letter that stands in your stead—almost as if you were there personally. And what better way to get personal than with some personalized stationery...
Traditionally, men have kept up through the use of correspondence cards as opposed to folded letters or full sheets of paper. A correspondence card is a single sheet of stiffened paper, usually 4x6”, and often engraved on the top with an insignia or another personalized moniker. I highly recommend getting yourself some of these cards for a number of reasons. Primarily, if you’re not big on writing letters or you’re afraid of not having much to say, the 4x6” dimensions allow you to get away with writing only a few sentences and still looking classy. On the other hand, 4x6” is large enough that you can really pack quite a bit in there if you choose to (and also use the back in a real stretch).
Generally, stick to white or a variety of creme tones for the cardstock and go with black or navy for the ink. Personally, I go with my name at the top printed in brown ink (which is actually my favorite color), but I’m aware that’s a little unorthodox. In terms of insignia, if you have a personalized coat of arms put that at the top (duh). If you’re like most of us peasants, consider printing your full name centered at the top, or try just your initials at the bottom. Feel free to have a border printed around the edges as that’s squarely in the land of tradition as well.
A simple google search will show you lots of options for ordering personalized stationery online, just be sure to purchase matching envelopes with your correspondence cards to give your letters the full effect of intentionality.
If you’re writing letters, you need a quality writing instrument. Everybody I know loves a good pen, however what that means exactly differs from person to person. I recently graduated from being a Uniball man to being a full-fledged Pilot G-2 07 man. I find the 0.7mm thickness to be a perfect balance of intentional bold strokes combined with finesse, but you might differ on that count. If you know you’re a long-winded individual, consider something with a tinier point so you can fit in more lines on your cards. If you really are willing to commit to a quality correspondence card, consider opting for an actual fountain pen. You cannot beat a personalized letter handwritten with a fountain pen. It will take a little bit of learning, but the rewards will certainly be worth it.
When to Send a Letter
Once you’ve actually purchased your own personalized stationery you’ll be champing at the bit for excuses to send them and thankfully there are many. Send one after a good dinner party. Look ahead in your Facebook notifications to see who has a birthday coming up. Send a follow up card after a big (or small) business sale or interaction. Send one when there’s a birth or a death.
It’s pretty much always a thoughtful gesture to send a card. The only time I would say to hold off is if you know you sometimes come on too strong, then definitely stay away from sending gushing/begging handwritten follow up notes after a job interview. But sending a thoughtful few sentences picking up on something the two of you discussed in your interview? Not a bad idea. Essentially, be courteous and err on the side of generosity, and you’ll be all set.