When’s A Postcard More Than Just A Postcard?

Postcards, unlike business cards, come in all different sizes. The standard size is 4 x 6, but 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 and 5 x 7 are also common. When most people think of postcards they think of the “wish you were here” variety that you can pick up at any tourist location. But when you start thinking creatively, the applications for a postcard can be endless.

We’ve all received postcards announcing sales, inviting us to parties and reminding us of important appointments. They are a cheap way to send information via snail mail that isn’t private because the postcard rate is cheaper than a regular first class envelope. That’s not a new application. I’ve created postcards for several organizations helping them to get the word out about important events. Full color postcards aren’t much more expensive than business cards. A lot more affordable than fold over cards that need an envelope and require more postage.

Think back to the standard sizes that I gave at the beginning of this post. Specifically the    5 x 7 and the 4 x 6. What else comes in those standard sizes? (Cue the Jeopardy theme…) You guessed it – photo frames! Not that I’m suggesting that you go out and have a 100 postcards made so you can frame them, but what about special occasions that you want to always remember and possibly display? Here comes the “endless application” part of this post.

My youngest daughter recently graduated from high school. Aside from the fact that this post is now aging myself – let’s not think about that aspect – it also means that I’ve been through this before. Being a graphic designer, I’ve never ordered the standard graduation announcement. Each of my older daughters had a unique announcement, but they did have the standard fold over formal card with the fancy envelope and name cards. You know how people say that children are all unique? Well my youngest daughter is the perfect combination of both her older sisters and then some. When I thought about what I should do about her graduation announcement, I drew a blank. Unfortunately, so did she. It was getting down to the wire and we had to do something. Finally I stopped waiting for her input. I started looking through all my normal sources and nothing seemed to fit her personality or style. It began to dawn on me that since she didn’t fit “inside the box,” why should her graduation announcement? That’s when I came up with the idea of a postcard. Granted, it wasn’t your typical style and it definitely wasn’t formal, but who cares? It would be a reflection of her personality and when I ran the idea by her it was the first time that she actually got interested in the whole process. Who knew – and as an added bonus – it was considerably cheaper than going the traditional route.

Once I started playing with the concept, she started coming up with ideas. I actually ended up treating her like a typical costumer, and she, true to form, treated me like I was working for her. I came up with some quotes, she gave me the one that she liked the best (none of mine, by the way.) I designed the announcement side with one of my favorite informal shots and she had me replace it with one of hers. I was happy though, because for the first time since I mentioned the idea she was participating and giving me her input and was actually getting into the whole process. It was great. Her uniqueness came through like a charm. Here’s what we came up with.

The fact that she picked Dr. Suess as her quote just added to the uniqueness and charm. I’m so proud! The fact that these were set up to a 4 x 6 gave me the opportunity to find frames that were both vertical and horizontal and display them instead of having them sit in an album or in a box.

Now that you get the idea, what can you think of to do with a postcard format?  How about a birth announcement, or even a wedding invite? Of course some people will still want the formal invites and announcements, so this idea isn’t for everyone. It is fun to think about though, isn’t it. The fact that it is a cheaper alternative is also a plus. If any of you can think of another application for a postcard format, feel free to let me know. I’m always open to new ideas. Above all, have fun with it. It’s your special occasion so make it uniquely  yours.

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