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"Today I’m writing to you...": What postcards mean to us

"Today I’m writing to you...": What postcards mean to us
10 min

Where have the postcards gone? During the coronavirus pandemic, there were hardly any holiday greetings or snapshots of special moments. For over 150 years, they have been indispensable as small bearers of news. A handwritten greeting saying "I’m doing fine, but I miss you" is a nice way of showig you care and doesn't necessarily have to come from a holiday destination. It is a symbol of appreciation, especially in times when you are not able to meet up with friends and family on a regular basis. STAEDTLER would like to remind you of the personal value of postcards – and why they should be written more often.

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Selected yourself, written by yourself: Handwritten postcards let the recipient know that you care.

Image rights: STAEDTLER Mars GmbH & Co. KG

If texting is not enough

WhatsApp, texts, Facebook, etc. make quick communication easy. A postcard, on the other hand, must be carefully selected, purchased, written by hand and posted. The spelling error cannot be easily corrected, the ink will quickly smudge in rain. But: A postcard adds emotions to a message. It counts when a digital message seems too banal, offers too little element of surprise. A postcard is a statement in the digital age. By choosing to communicate in this manner, you are saying: "I'm thinking of you and taking my time to communicate with you." There is a large variation when it comes to personal messages on postcards. From a quick hello: "Weather is good, food is also okay" to lengthy reports that take up the very last edges of the postcard – everything is possible depending on the available space – as long as it's handwritten and authentic.

A trip around the world – despite coronavirus

Regardless of whether the postcard is sent from home or on holiday: Postcards are a small door to the outside world – and to friends and family. Especially in times of isolation, a personal greeting signals: "I’m thinking of you and we're going to get through this together." Because it doesn't always have to be a classic holiday postcard: Funny sayings or images raise spirits, especially in times of lockdowns and travel restrictions. This is also shown by a dispatch company’s list of personalised postcards and greeting cards. According to this, holiday postcards will be significantly less represented in 2020: 80 percent of the orders were postcards that communicate a sense of cohesion and solidarity with their motif.

Revival of a cult medium

Postcards have been en route for over 150 years now. For the first time in the world, the so-called "correspondence cards" were registered by post on 1 October 1869 in what was then Austria-Hungary. An old-fashioned medium at first glance. So why is it still being used today? Because the postcard’s early fields of application are still relevant today. Even back then, postcards offered an inexpensive and quick way to share special events with loved ones. This significance remains as it is today, as a study by the Bitkom (German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media ) from 2019 reveals: According to the study, for example, half of the Germans still send their greetings from their holidays with a postcard. In addition, sending a postcard costs less than sending a letter in many parts of the world to this day. It is therefore still a good choice for a handwritten, personal communication.

The motifs we know today from postcards also appeared in their early days: City views and sights have been portrayed on postcards since the 1880s. They are not only used in private, but also in business contexts: STAEDTLER, for example, already used painted postcards in the first half of the 20th century to refer to the products used - sometimes in German, sometimes also in English or Spanish.

A postcard from the STAEDTLER company archive. The writing and creative goods manufacturer used self drawn cards to draw attention to the products.

Image rights: STAEDTLER Mars GmbH & Co. KG
Self-designed postcards add that special personal touch. STAEDTLER offers numerous tips on how to decorate cards for different occasions on its website.

Image rights: STAEDTLER Mars GmbH & Co. KG

Not only unique in terms of the text

The postcard as a medium with a cult factor – yet always open to further developments: Painted postcards, where not only the text but also the motif comes from the sender’s "feather", make the greeting even more personal. Trends such as handlettering, for example, are suitable for individualized postcards. Especially during the pandemic, they are an inspiration to get creative at home and sharing ideas with others. STAEDTLER provides creative tips on its website to create individual cards for different occasions.

Handwritten messages of love, congratulations or greetings from home – if it were up to STAEDTLER, people would be writing more postcards. That's why the writing and creative goods manufacturer is calling on people to reach for pen and postcard on Letter Writing Day on 1 September - for a few personal, surprising words and also pictures to loved ones.

STAEDTLER offers inspiration for individual postcard design for various occasions at:


Factsheet about postcards



Accompanying press images are available for download here: 

STAEDTLER press images

Apply the following copyright when using these images in your publication: ©STAEDTLER Mars GmbH & Co. KG
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