The Art of the Thank You Note

art-of-thank-youThey say the handwritten note is making a comeback. The reason for the resurgence in popularity is obvious to those who understand the note conveys so much more than those two words. As we spend our days in a digitally dominated world, it means something to sit down and write a message in your own handwriting. It’s just a nice thing to do, both for the unsuspecting recipient as well as you, the writer. There was a great article in the NY Times recently that’s worth a read on the subject.

There is nothing that makes me happier than the act of selecting the perfect paper to express my gratitude to someone. This goes back to gradeschool, when my best friend Cindy and I began collecting stationery. We loved sending notes to friends and teachers. Today I’m fortunate to have access to some of the most beautiful papers made, so the idea of selecting just one can be a little daunting.

When I’m sending a note from Parse & Parcel, it’s easy. I’m using our notecards printed on Classic Crest Solar White Stipple 130# Cover, featuring our signature dotted rule and logo, hand stamped in silver metallic. It all fits neatly inside a no. 10 policy envelope in either black or kraft. It’s the details like an envelope flap style that make the difference.

For a more casual note of thanks to friends, I lean towards color. Some of my favorites are Poptone’s Orange Fizz, Astrobrights Lunar Blue and Mohawk Via Safety Yellow. Although, I am loving the new color palette in Environment, especially that raw finish in Honeycomb, so friends may start to see that one in the mix.

Other factors I consider beside color are basis weight and texture.  I like a paper stock with some heft to it, usually opting for 120# – 130# cover and depending upon the writing instrument  I am using, I will usually go with a tactile finish – somewhere between a wove and a toothy vellum.

The biggest source of angst among the design community when it comes to note cards is probably the envelope, but it shouldn’t be. Finding envelopes in your color and size of choice is so easy now. Unlike how the industry worked just a few years ago, you no longer have to worry about selecting a paper whose matching envelope was stocked locally. It used to be only one or two national envelope converters were responsible for making all of the proprietary envelopes for the paper mills. Which meant the local merchant needed to stock them if you, the designer, wanted to to use one in a smaller quantity (by small I mean less than a carton which is usually 2500 envelopes/250 per box). As a former paper rep, I can tell you this was frustrating for all parties involved: designer, printer and paper merchant. Thankfully that all changed a few years ago when mills like French, Neenah, Mohawk and Reich began converting and stocking their own envelopes and making them available in small quantities online. The minimums vary by mill, but some are available in quantities as small as 10 envelopes!

So if you haven’t started writing thank you notes yet,  give it a try. I guarantee you it’s not so much what you say but the fact that you took the time to sit down and write a note for someone personally that will be remembered.