When was the last time you ever got a postcard in the mail? And not the kind of postcards companies send in to advertise their brand. For the everyday person, it must have been a while since you last received a good postcard design from a friend or relative. People don’t even send physical copies of holiday postcards as much as they used to anymore. But for some, the art of writing and sending postcards is a tradition that’s very much alive. There are a number of individuals and organizations, especially church groups, that go above and beyond to make postcards for their members.
Some see postcards as a simple medium for communication, but others consider it as a hobby for collecting. In fact, it’s known to be the third largest collectible hobby in the world. But if there’s one thing we could all agree on, it’s the amazing history behind these postcards that makes it all the more interesting. From the evolution of the basic postcard examples to the issues that rose along with it, here are some facts you might not have known about the medium.
It has been said that the earliest known postcard was a hand-painted design that was initially meant as a joke to poke fun on workers at the postal service. Soon after, the birth of the average postcard came to be. But it was nothing like the ones we have become accustomed to, as these postcards had no images printed on them. By 1870, stamps came along with the postcards made in Britain as a part of the design. Meanwhile, in another part of the world, France began making their own version of a postcard with an image on one side. Because of a large number of postcards produced in the country, people started referring to them as French postcards. These early postcards typically showcased images of nude women, as this art form was widely embraced at the time.
Bright images and vivid colors are always a crowd favorite, so it’s no wonder how these types of postcards dominated the scene over sixty years ago. The images plastered on postcards were full of color, giving off a glossy appearance caused by the paper’s coating. This soon replaced the classic linen and black & white postcards in store racks, forcing some postcard firms to make the big switch or even go out of business.
Today, we have seen a huge increase in postal rates for postcards and with the birth of technology, you can find various forms of e-cards readily available online. The postcards we have these days may be a far cry from the traditional ones that rose to fame many years ago, but the popularity of postcards is very much apparent nonetheless. The coming generations can expect a new form of the old-fashioned card hitting stores anytime soon.
Now, who would have thought there would be controversy surrounding something as innocent as a postcard? When picture postcards first came to be, legal issues soon followed. The issue had a lot to do with these postcards being sent across national borders, wherein there was no guarantee that the postcard would be considered “appropriate” to its destination country. There were some places that refused to handle postcards containing images of sexual references and nudity of any form, banning the sale of such materials in some states. As for the postcards that were sent before the ban, they were considered of high value by collectors.
We all have our own reasons for using a postcard, with some businesses even considering it for postcard marketing. But to the average individual, postcards are merely used as a form of communication with loved ones. For travelers and tourists, the travel postcard serves as one of the best choices for destination souvenirs. It’s mostly because of how postcards have the ability to capture the beautiful sceneries and mesmerizing culture of a particular place. The use of postcards has also become a common favorite among newlyweds and soon-to-be’s, with wedding postcards taking the place of the standard wedding invitations and thank-you notes.
Living in an age of digital communication, it’s hard not to appreciate this old-school craft. Not a lot of people seem to practice the art of writing anymore, considering how technology could offer us instant and spontaneous interaction at the tip of our fingers. But there’s something special about the time and effort involved in sending postcards, especially if you’re a sucker for the “Dear John” type of romance. The whole concept of writing and sending postcards is something to give credit for in the modern times. And you know what’s the best part about postcards? They don’t need to contain paragraphs of words, nor do they have to be completely formal. You could either print out your message or write it legibly by hand for a more personal touch. It won’t take much of your time to make as well.
Finally, let’s point out how we could actually learn from postcards. For one thing, historians and collectors would tell you that every postcard has its own story to tell. There are postcards that showcase images of exotic locations and artifacts, and there are a few older ones that contain images of the past. These postcards hold more value than we know, so it’s unfortunate how the present generation fails to recognize such.
Postcards are meant to be appealing, so it’s not enough to just rely on good wording to make the whole thing work. There are various aspects of the postcard that must be brought into focus, so we rounded up a few helpful tips in postcard making to guide you.
While postcards back in the day didn’t come with images, it’s a lot different from the kind we have now. But sometimes, a plain image just won’t make the cut. If you’re really serious about your postcard, then you should probably steer clear of the clichéd postcard designs. It would be best to use images that people could actually relate to, one that is interesting enough to turn heads at a single glance.
Most people would opt for something vibrant but if you’re one who prefers to keep it simple, you could always look for a striking subject that’s relevant to your purpose. And since technology can be your best friend at times, playing with colors and shadows to accentuate the graphic elements of your image would be the way to go. You have to make sure your image relays your message loud and clear as well.
Keep it short and simple. Not too difficult to follow, right? Although the content of your postcard is solely up to you, it would be best to keep it direct and to-the-point for the sake of keeping the spark alive. You could always make your message clear with a few words, just as long as it’s readable and understandable enough for one to grasp. Try experimenting with different typefaces and colors to make your text stand out, as this could easily draw attention to your message.
The use of white space has always been seen as an advantage for designers, as it leaves any creation looking clean and crisp in the end. For a postcard, it highlights the primary design elements that you wish to bring into focus. Think about it. Anything deemed to be aesthetically pleasing to the human eye is quick to gain praises from the viewer. Not only will a beautiful postcard be highly noticeable, but it also motivates a response from the recipient. It’s definitely the type of postcard that’s worth keeping.
If you’re aiming for an attention-grabber, then why not go for an oversized postcard? People can always appreciate the extra space that comes along with it to write messages. You can do wonders with a 6-inch by 9-inch or 6-inch by 11-inch postcard, probably even use it as a home decor. However, you still have to make sure you’re being practical with the size. After all, newspaper-sized postcards aren’t exactly the most convenient type of medium to carry around.
Printing quality is always a serious matter to take on. You could have a well-made graphic design ready, but if the quality of your card fails to meet expectations, nobody would even consider investing on it. Some postcards could be made with a glossy material, while others could have a matte finish. This all depends on preference, just make sure your postcards is of top quality for it to successfully serve its purpose.
One thing we should all learn from postcards is that it’s always the thought that counts. People could care less about its price tag, the company that produced it, or where it came from, what matters is the effort that you put into it. It’s a fun experience of keeping in touch with the people who mean a lot to you, especially at a time when we have become so absorbed in our own little bubble. At the end of the day, postcards hold a special meaning that the average individual can appreciate.