I love stationery.
Actually, it might be that I love getting cards and letters in the mail (bills, not so much). I still have ones I received as a child from family members and a few Mom saved that I wrote to her while away at the dreaded summer camp.
My high school English teacher (I had her 3 of the 4 years for one thing or another and was her teacher’s aide during my Senior Year) gifted me a gorgeous box of personalized note cards just before graduation. I loved them dearly and felt oh so posh sending out my graduation gift thank-yous on those heavy white cards.
Over the years I’ve dabbled in making my own stationery but, as I’m sure we can all agree, we just don’t write cards and letters very much any more. Email, cell phones, texting–it makes the time a message spends traveling over physical miles positively glacial. No wonder we call it snail mail!
Still, there’s something thrilling about seeing an envelope in the mailbox, hand-addressed and obviously not junk mail! I even have a pen-pal these days and it’s been a real treat to get the letters she sends. Sure, I read her blog and can keep up with her that way, but our written correspondence is different.
Reviving the Passion
Just recently I was invited to a thirty-one party by a friend. Their purses may not be my thing, but they have personalized note cards in a variety of styles. Happy to be able to support my friend’s shopping habit I gladly attended the party and ordered my cards (and a purse and a new lunch-tote; I’m a good friend).
Then, a couple weeks after the thirty-one party, I received an email from a representative of Modern Postcard, offering me the chance to try out their service and get a set of note cards or postcards. Was I interested? You bet! (And, yes, I do see the irony in a card company emailing me… first contact doesn’t always happen on the ground, right?)
Now that both orders have come in and I’ve had a chance to hang out with the finished product for a bit, a review is definitely in order.
Thirty-One, Notecards & Envelopes
- Variety: 15 different patterns available, including one where you pick your characters to represent you or your family.
- Ease of Ordering: Through a consultant or the consultants website
- Personalization Options: Each design determines how many lines and characters per line are allowed. Font selection is what is shown on the sample, no changing from the pre-set designs.
- Packaging: Delivered by your consultant or the party hostess, they came in a clear plastic snap-closed pouch that makes keeping them from getting crushed very easy. I could see carrying the pouch in my purse if I were travelling and wanted to leave a little note or something.
- Extras: Envelopes are printed in a color that coordinates with the card design, even on the inside to look like they’re lined. It’s a nice touch!
- Usability: The cards are nice and sturdy but completely uncoated, which means that pretty much any writing instrument will work–pencil, pen, gel, etc.
- Price: $18 for 20 cards and envelopes ($0.90 each, before tax and shipping)
Cute cards. I got the Pixie Pink Medallion design because it seemed fun. The only thing, design-wise, I would have liked was an option to have my name printed down in the lower right corner instead of front and center but I understand why offering that many options would make the process unwieldy for the company.
Modern Postcard, Postcards
- Variety: Postcards and Greeting Cards come in both standard (4.25×5.7) and deluxe (5.7×8.5) sizes, with over 500 different pattern choices.
- Ease of Ordering: Online ordering only, the website is very easy to follow through the different options available.
- Personalization Options: With the pre-designed cards it looks like you’re locked into the personalization placement but you still have full advantage of the font options (11 fonts, 6 font size options, 12 font color options). With one of the 14 design-your-own options you choose your size, orientation and layout and can upload a photograph or your own original art for the image. Basic editing tools are available for photos. This would be great for artists dealing in small-run cards for shows, just trying things out.
- Packaging: The order was delivered in a bubble-mailer (via USPS) with a length of pearl ribbon keeping the cards from shifting around. Simple and effective.
- Extras: They offer cards for the postcards at an additional $1.50 per 25 (again, for standard size), and return addresses printed on those envelopes for $17.50 with a sliding scale for larger orders. They also will direct mail your order (great for invitations!) if you want them to, for an extra fee per card of course.
- Usability: And this is where Modern Postcard let me down a little. I ordered a set of 25 standard postcards, so I can’t really speak to the greeting cards. The cards are coated on both sides, glossy on the front. Now, working for a printing company as I have these past 16 years, I know that coated stocks can sometimes resist certain inks and even pencil marks! So I did a test. Pencil was actually okay, ball-point pens needed a little coaxing but were fine once you got them started, but gel and archival-ink felt-tips smeared up to a minute after writing with them. Permanent marker, of course, poses no problem. Not the worst thing in the world, but if you were planning on ordering postcards and actually using them as such, you might want to be aware that your pen choice will be limited if you want it legible. My recommendation to Modern Postcard would be to investigate C1S (Coated 1-Side) stocks for their postcards to increase the user-friendly nature of the cards.
- Price: $19 for 25 standard postcards, no envelopes ($0.76 each); $29 for 25 standard greeting cards & envelopes ($1.16 each); free shipping
For all that the coated backs made certain pens a liability, the cards really came out great. The print quality was excellent on the photo (please note: they do give instructions about what sorts of files to upload–if you send them garbage you won’t get roses, folks! dpi is important!) and would not hesitate placing an order with them for show cards or items for conventions should I got that route. The cards were processed in a timely manner and it was a pleasure getting to try them out. It should also be noted that they offer larger quantities (increments of 25), with a decreasing cost-per-item as you go up.
Style isn’t just what we wear, it’s in everything we do, say and believe. Fun stationery is a little luxury, a small price to pay for something miles removed from a blank sheet of copy paper or a screen full of pixels. Indulge a little (very little, with prices like these) and show the world your style even when you’re no longer in the room.
Disclaimer: I was provided a $19 credit to use towards an order with Modern Postcard in return for trying out their service. The opinions expressed above are entirely my own.