Postcards: The Twitter of Letter Writing

April 11, 2010

Having personal stationery or business letterhead is very useful, it allows you to send a branded message to friends and clients. In today's fast paced world, however, letter writing is in danger of becoming a lost art. In fact, most folks receive only direct-mail sales pitches in their phsyical mailboxes, and personal messages in their e-mail inboxes. So think of postcards as the Twitter version of letter writing.

There's less space on postcards, which make for lower word counts than letters, and the postcard is more social. It usually ends up on a fridge or bulletin board, with the message out there for anyone to read. (Postcards are also less costly to mail and and feel less stuffy than an old-fashioned letter in an envelope). That's why instead of, or in addition to formal letterhead or stationery, it's a great idea to print up some postcards that can serve as greeting cards, thank-you cards, casual invitations, meeting reminders and more. Having a set of all-purpose postcards around the house or office means you can send a quick message to a friend or client that will feel more personal and valuable to them than an e-mail. Below are some quick tips for printing postcards in lieu of stationery or letterhead: 1. Choose a relevant design. This is your chance to share something with recipients about your business or personal values and not the place for a generic stock image. 2. Be creative! From photographs to vintage illustrations and retro or romantic patterns, there are so many ways to design a postcard. Make it something unique that recipients will want to hang on to and remember you by. 3. Promote your business. Include a map of your location, picture of your building or a logo with customer testimonials and recent awards. Check out these stock postcard templates to get ideas. 4. Protect your privacy. With personal postcards you have a lot more creative freedom, just be careful about putting pictures of yourself, your family or home in the mail with your name and address on it; that might be too personal. 5. Use the back. The top part of the back of the postcard is a great place for a taglines, URLs or "from the desk of" copy. You can also include a caption to explain the image or photograph and give credit to any photographers, image sources or designers. 6. Stay within the lines. Pay attention to the USPS postcard regulations, if you add a design in the wrong part of the back of the postcard, it could be covered with a label or stamp. See the image below for basic guidlines. For templates and more information visit

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.