Entertaining envelopes: Instant mood enhancement

[Alyson Kuhn] The three basic school subjects are reading, writing and ’rithmetic. On the subject of envelopes, I would say the three basic attributes are: to protect, to preview and to prettify. In my book of life, a witty, amusing or ironic envelope gets big bonus points.

The stamps on the above envelope come to life thanks to the sheet of stickers sold with them. These customizable stamps were issued in the United Kingdom, as part of a set of 10 fruits and vegetables … also including a brussels sprout and a potato. The stickers include facial features, hats and other decorative headgear (horns, antlers, bunny ears, halo, crown). My correspondent was Allan Haley, director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging.

I made this envelope from a typography poster on which a big black heart announced the dangerous liaison of Simple and Boring. When I took my handiwork to the post office, Andrea (my postal clerk par élégance) admired it, cancelled the postage, and then suggested adding some special handling directions. “How will you get them to show?” I asked. I wish you could have seen her face as she quickly positioned her handstamps inside the stems of three letters. Bam, bam, bam, big smile.

[Amusing specimen: inside the envelope I made from a poster I picked up at TypeCon 2010.]

The #10 envelope below proudly wears its size on its sleeve. Mick Hodgson of Ph.D recently addressed it to my former post office box — inadvertently demonstrating the importance of having a return address on your outgoing mail. I like the fact that this envelope was successfully returned to sender — after a slightly mysterious delay. I shudder to think that it could have wound up in the dead letter office, now referred to as a mail recovery center.

[Ph.D has #10 envelopes in kraft, shown above.]

I shall look forward to receiving my rogue #10 soon, inside a Ph.D 9 x 12 envelope, with the prettiest pale pink mailing label imaginable. And please kuhnsider yourself encouraged to make someone’s day — including mine! — by sending an envelope that entertains. Flappy trails!

Here is a fascinating 1992 article by James H. Bruns, former director of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, about the dead letter office and the extraordinary lengths employees went to in past decades to deliver inadequately addressed mail to intended recipients.

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Comments (1)

  1. Posted by Pam on 11.3.10 at 7:38 am

    Alyson, laughed out loud at what happened at the post office with your Simple & Boring envelope (what a great design, btw). Do not bend: Bam, bam, bam! I can hear the sound of it! She positioned the stamps perfectly.

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